“It is perfectly clear and evident, Venerable Brothers, that the very notion of a civilization is a fiction of the brain if it rest not on the abiding principles of truth and the unchanging laws of virtue and justice, and if unfeigned love knit not together the wills of men, and gently control the interchange and the character of their mutual service.”

Catholics often hear that we intend to “impose our morality” upon our neighbors, and that this can’t be done in a truly free, that is to say thoroughly secular society.  Set aside the plain fact that all law imposes a moral vision, though it is seldom consistent or adequate, and it is sometimes perverse.

The fact is, morality admits no peculiar possessives.  If a morality is only mine, it isn’t morality but meaningless predilection.  Either a moral law exists, applying to everyone at all times, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, there is no moral reason to prefer civilization to savagery; the latter can be a lot more fun.  But we won’t have that choice anyway, because we will lose civilization itself.  What we now call “civilization” and “culture,” Pope Leo calls “a fiction of the brain,” a vain idea, when the reality is gone.

That loss of morality understood as what we receive, not what we create; not what shackles us, but what sets us free to realize our human potential, implies already the loss of “unfeigned love” which should knit together “the wills of men, and gently control the interchange and the character of their mutual service.”  We must insist upon this connection.  I cannot give amoral love.  But human beings need love; they need the love that brings them deeper into the truth.

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We’re all expected to make prudential judgments about the morality of our actions and those of others.

For if we could not judge the actions of others, that would be tantamount to denying that moral principles can be applied in practice, even though they must be accepted in theory. The final consequence is that morality would be rendered meaningless as a standard to guide human actions. That leads to the most complete subjectivism — a free for all in which everyone does what he fancies.

That also causes people to completely lose their moral sense; and it is perhaps one of the causes of the amorality of our present age.

Since religious people become insecure facing the “judge not” argument of the Gospel, let us examine more closely what it actually means.

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Submitted by AndyP/Doria2