wallowing in the decay

Noticeably absent these days from public discourse, social commentary, or didactic pedagogy is an awareness of and recognition for the essentiality of a strong moral code. Morality is a topic studiously avoided for the simple reason that any discussion of it necessarily raises uncomfortable questions and inconvenient challenges to many of our social norms, behavioral modalities, and perceptions of reality.

Good or Evil

Good or Evil

We are no longer guided by principles of right or wrong, good or evil but rather by our basest desires and our “feelings”: what feels good, or what we “deserve.” We have managed to remove “sin” and “immorality” from our lexicon; we have become amoralists, living only for ourselves and our own interests, nothing more.

Even those who most earnestly desire to live a “moral” life, a good life, have on too many occasions succumbed. The secular, relativist vacuum which has managed to suck every mote of morality from our consciousness is principally to blame for the high level of moral decay in which we find ourselves standing. But each of us also shares in the increasing rot in which we now wallow for all too quickly and easily we find ourselves closing the door on our consciences when we find it convenient.

The problem is largely one of coating ourselves with Vaseline so that we can slide past hard moral choices without suffering pangs of guilt or shame, without remorse. Instead of choosing what we know to be objectively and morally good, we rationalize the evil that we do by degree: it’s just a little white lie; it’s ok to steal food if you are really hungry; it’s not really a human being.

Intrinsic evil is by definition naturally evil because the act itself is absolutely contrary to reason, to nature, and to God. Such evil can never be considered good for it is not the opposite of good but rather the absence of good. Because good cannot be both good and the absence of good (or evil,) an evil act can never be considered a good act. For instance, a truth by its nature is true and thus is good while a lie is by its nature false with the intent to deceive or hide the truth and thus is intrinsically evil because it is intrinsically untrue and deceptive.

Popes have written numerous encyclicals concerning intrinsic evil:

But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good…No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil.”[1]

“…it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.”[2]

So remember, if you are up to no good then no matter how you slice it, spin it, or rationalize it, it’s evil you do, not good.


[1] Pope Pius XI, Casti Cannubii.
[2] Pope Paul VI, Humane Vitae, 14.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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