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Chapter 3 Sexual Morality

I. Intro to a Moral Theology (ONeall)


A. The Human Act
a. The distinction between the human act and the act of the human person
i. Human act: an act that is posited with freedom and knowledge
ii. Act of the human person: when the freedom or knowledge is vitiated or impaired; the more impaired
freedom and knowledge are, the less the human act
b. Human knowledge
i. It means that person is aware of the rightness or wrongness of what he is about to do and brings this
knowledge to bear on his act
ii. The example of the woman dates a married man who conceals that he is married. The man was clearly
at fault; the woman was doing something wrong but no knowledge to judge that it was wrong
iii. Thus the rightness or wrongness of an act hinge on the question of knowledge
iv. Sometimes we know things intellectually but they do not effectively determine our acts. ONeall and
Black describe the difference as a difference between head knowledgethe information that a person
possesses and heart knowledge focuses on what is valued. A young man does not go to man and
opposes the death penalty; his parents go to mass and support the death penalty
v. A human act presupposes a degree of head knowledge and heart knowledge. The former usually
precedes
c. The Human Freedom
i. While other creatures develop according to their genetic structure, subject to the circumstances of the
environment, human beings develop due to the responsible exercise of their freedom. Our moral lives
are marked chiefly by human freedom, our ability to shape our lives and to choose our course of action
for good and for bad
1. Some popular conceptions of freedom: a. Freedom as the ability to do as one chooses within the
confines of the law; freedom from restraint [thus the less the law, the better; no prayer in class] b.
Freedom as the ability to choose one thing over another
2. Freedom is not an end in itself but an instrumental gift or ability to direct our lives in accord with our
meaning and purpose. Freedom must be seen in the context of Christian anthropology. We also said
something about this when we were talking about commitment and freedom
3. John Paul II: acting is morally good when the choices of freedom are in conformity with mans true
good, thus expresses the voluntary considering of the person towards the ultimate end [good]
4. Human freedom, seen in moral choices: affects us on two levels. [e.g. the choice to take up medicine]
5. The immediate effect (categorical freedom/ what I do) is the tremendous demands of the course.
The long-term and more profound effect (transcendental freedom/ what I become) she will be in
medicine and caring for others
6. Thus: freedom is not primarily freedom from restraint but it is the pursuit of excellence or MAGIS
7. It is not simply about doing rights and avoiding evil (categorical freedom) but becoming virtuous
persons intent upon the good, being confirmed to the image of Christ, realizing the image of God in
whom we were created (transcendental freedom)
B. The VIRTUOUS LIFE
Freedom has, as its ultimate goal the voluntary ordering of the person to become the person to become the
person he was meant to be by God
Virtue is described as a habitual and firm disposition to do the good (CCC 1800)
VIRTUE AND VICE
The virtuous person is one who longs for the good in all aspects of his life and acts so as to achieve it
the whole of human existence is not unlike the dynamic of hunger and satisfaction of this need. Sometimes
we get it right; sometimes we get it wrong
a.
b.
c. TENDING TOWARD THE GOOD
i. Virtues are stable and internal dispositions toward the good. These virtues are expressed in concrete
actions. Let us take a look at the components of the moral act to understand how tending toward the
good is evident in individual persons
ii. The moral act has the three components: the object, the intention, the circumstances
1. The object of the act is the good which the act intends to accomplish. For the object of the act to be
good, it must foster in some way the authentic human good of the other. Giving food to a beggar is
good.
2. Some acts are always wrong
C. CONCLUSION
a. The uniqueness of the human response lies in the freedom and awareness to shape our own senses and our
own lives according to the image of God in whom we are created
b. The human or moral virtues make our tending toward the good easier and shape us as ho
c. We examined the components of the moral act (the object of the act,)
D. FOOTNOTES
a. In general
i. These human goods/values perfect and complete human nature
ii. By realizing these values persons more closer to the image of God in whom we are created. These values
or virtues are the context of human flourishing, characteristics of people who more and more fulfil
Gods hopes (normative Christian anthropology) in calling us into being.
b.
i. This is the ought experiences in CI
ii. This ought is both objective and subjective
1. Object because it is experienced as an imposition from the outside. One cannot change or modify or
ignore it even if one wanted to
II.
III. Premarital Sexual Relations
A. 2 Main Questions
a. When is sexual intercourse an exclusive Christian concern?
i. Is this a question only for Christians?
1. Sexual activity is an innerworldly experience
2. Chastity is the virtue of exercising our sexuality well in our thoughts, desires and deeds. It is honesty
in sexual relations. Every person has a vision of how to use his sexuality well or poorly, with rules
that guide how one lives out that vision well. No sex outside marriage is a rule that non Christians
also come up with. It can be found in other religious traditions, even in contemporary culture.
3. There could be disagreements as regards particular moral laws on sexual behavior: differences in
big-picture beliefs that shape how the innerworldly activity of sex is understood, and different
understandings of what innerworldly activities like sex and marriage mean.
ii. The tenor of this discourse (judgemental and loving judgement)
There is some judgement that should be done in the sense of making distinctions about good and bad
behaviour
iii. Why is sex virtuous only in marriage?
1. The basic argument
The traditional norm against sex outside marriage is not arbitrary
A) Marriage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for virtuous sex. Marriage has been
regarded as necessary even if not sufficient condition for virtuous sex, it has because both
activities
2.