Lecture Twelve: Chapter Two, Section 4: The Moral Act


Study Questions

1. Why is it never morally permissible to intend what is evil, either as a means or as an end?  How does the principle of double effect deal with the problem of evil that is in no way intended?

2. What is the difference between “the intention of the agent” and “the object of the action”?  Why is this difference so important in moral analysis

3. What are the two senses of “teleology” that Pope John Paul II proposes?  Why does he recommend a thorough-going appreciation for teleology in the sense of the end-directedness inherent in the human person?  Why does he insist so much on the distinction between (1) including a consideration of the consequences of our actions and (2) reducing moral analysis to merely a consideration of the consequences of our actions?


Suggestions for further reading:

Bernard Hoose, “Circumstances, Intentions, and Intrinsically Evil Acts” in The Splendor of Accuracy: An Examination of the Assertions Made by Veritatis splendor, edited by Joseph A. Selling and Jan Jans.  Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1995, pp. 136-52.  This article is representative of the thinking of the position that Pope John Paul II criticizes.

Martin Rhonheimer, “Intentional Actions and the Meaning of Object: A Reply to Richard McCormick” in Veritatis splendor and the Renewal of Moral Thology, edited by J. A. DiNoia, O.P. and Romanus Cessario, O.P.   Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor Press, 1999, pp. 241-68.

Andrew McLean Cummings. The Servant and the Ladder: Implicitly Formal Cooperation in Evil in Light of Veritatis Splendor.