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Chapter 3

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Philosophy 4990A/B
Michael Fox

CHAPTER 3 – LET THE CROSS OF CHRIST BE EMPTIED OF ITS POWER  The relationship of man’s freedom to God’s law; it is ultimately the question of the relationship between freedom and truth  We not infrequently witness the fearful plunging of the human person into situations of gradual self destruction  Concrete situations are unfavorably contrasted with the precepts of the moral law  The Church seeks, with great love, to help all the faithful to form a moral conscience which will make judgments and leads to decisions in accordance with the truth  Rational reflection and daily experience demonstrate the weakness which marks man’s freedom. That freedom is real but limited: its absolute and unconditional origin is not in itself, but in the life within which it is situated and which represents for it, at one and the same time, both a limitation and a possibility  Reason and experience not only confirm the weakness of human freedom they also confirm its tragic aspects  Worship of God and a relationship with truth are revealed in Jesus Christ as the deepest foundation of freedom  In the house of the Lord, slavery is free. Charity should make you a servant, just as truth has made you free – you are at once both a servant and a free: a servant because you have become such; free, because you are loved by god your creator  In a widely dechristanized culture, the criteria employed by believers themselves in making judgments and decisions often appear extraneous or even contrary to those of the Gospel  It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of proportions to be accepted with intellectual assent  Faith is a decision involving one’s whole existence  Faith also possesses a moral content. It gives rise to and calls for a consistent life commitment; it entails and brings to perfection the acceptance and observance of god’s commandments  Christ’s witness s the source, model and means for the witness of his disciples, who are called to walk on the same road  The relationship between faith and morality shines forth with all its brilliance in the unconditional respect due to the insistent demands of the personal dinity of every man demands protected by those moral norms which prohibit without exception actions which are instrinsically evil  The church proposes the example of numerous Saints who bore witness to and defended moral truth even to the point of enduring martyrdom or who preferred death to a single mortal  Martyrdom, accepted as an affirmation of the inviolability of the moral order, bears splendid witness both to the holiness of God’s law and to the inviolability of the personal dignity of man, created in God’s image and likeness  Finally, martyrdom is an outstanding sign of the holiness of the Church  Christians are not alone: they are supported by the moral sense present in peoples and by the great religious and sapiential traditions of East and West, from which the interior and mysterious workings of god’s spirit are not absence  In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection  The church can never renounce the principle of truth and consistency whereby she does not agree to call good evil or evil good  The Church’s firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man’s true freedom  When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone  The origin, the subject and the purpose of all social institutions is and should be the human person  The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entails specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed  Certainly there is a long and difficult road ahead; bringing about such a renewal will required enormous effort, especially on account of the number and the gravity of the causes giving rise to an aggravating
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