GDC 23: Moral Factors

The second section under the heading “Religious and moral factors”:

23. The moral situation of today is on a par with its religious situation. There is an evident obscuring of the ontological truth of the human person—as though the denial of God meant an interior breakdown of the aspirations of the human being.(39) In many places this contributes to the rise of an “ethical relativism which would remove any sure moral reference point from political and social life”.(40) Evangelization encounters a privileged field of activity in the religious and moral sphere. Indeed the primordial mission of the Church is to proclaim God and to be his witness before the world. This involves making known the true face of God and his loving plan of salvation for man, as it has been revealed in Jesus Christ. To prepare such witnesses, it is necessary for the Church to develop a profoundly religious catechesis, nourished on the Gospel, which will deepen man’s encounter with God and forge a bond of permanent communion with Him.

I’m not sure that many non-religious people lack “any sure moral reference point.” The human mind and the human tendency for self-justification being what it is, a recipient of “religious catechesis,” a participant in a Christian context, can certainly lose moral grounding. History has revealed it in the highest levels of the institutional church. Saints struggle with it. Non-Christians–atheists even–have lived lives acknowledged to be moral on the seemingly highest level.

Nevertheless, the focus on a Christ-centered, Gospel-based catechesis is well-taken. Everything we teach and mentor, and even our efforts amongst more mature believers, should be grounded in this.

(39) Cf. Gaudium et Spes 36. John Paul II, in the encyclical letter Dominum et vivificantem (18 may 1986), n. 38: AAS 78 (1986), pp. 851-852, also establishes this connection: “The ideology of the ‘death of God’ easily demonstrates in its effects that on the ‘theoretical and practical’ levels it is the ideology of the ‘death of man’”.

(40) Veritatis Splendor 101; cf. Evangelium Vitae 19, 20.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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