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Moral Teaching I (General) — Study Aids

Truths of the Faith #5
Moral Teaching I
covers general principles of Morality, including Freewill, Human and Divine Law, Conscience, Moral Good and Evil, Capital Sins, Cardinal Virtues.

Information Pages

These pages summarize much of the material needed to study for Moral Teaching (Part I) review questions. They are based on "General Moral", the first section of Catholic Morality by John Laux.

Basis of Morality — God's Will and Free will
Conditions of Morality — Law and Conscience
Moral Good - Virtue and Perfection
Moral Evil - Sin in General
Beatitudes - Moral Perfection
Theological Virtues

Printable Homework Questions

Recommended Reading

The primary book used as a reference for the Moral Teaching units is Chief Truths of the Faith by Fr. John Laux (1932). Most questions for Part I are based on the first section 'General Moral'. Reading assignments are given below.


Catholic Morality     by Rev. Fr. John Laux
A brief but complete book on traditional Catholic morality. Covers every basic aspect—the purpose of life, free will, the Natural Law, positive divine law, human positive laws, elements of a moral act, virtues, Christian perfections, Evangelical Counsels, nature of sin, kinds of sin, duties toward God, ourselves, our neighbor, the family, state, Church, etc.

Reading Assignment:     Section I—General Moral, Chapters 1 to 3, pp 1-49
Introduction: God's Will, (1) Conditions of Morality: Freewill, Law, Conscience (2) Moral Good: Virtue, Christian perfection, (3) Moral Evil: Sin, Temptation, Punishment

The Catechisms listed below are in the public domain and are available in electronic form online or as an ebook. The Baltimore Catechmism No. 3 is intended for high school students and includes more questions and substantially longer explanations than Numbers 1 and 2.

CLICK ON COVER IMAGE to download EPUB to your tablet or smart phone.
CLICK ON TITLE to read online (internet required).

Baltimore Catechism - Volume 3   by T. Kinkead
The Baltimore Catechism is an official national catechism for children in the United States and Volume 3 is suitable for high schoolers and those who have received their confirmation. It reviews material from volume 2, but includes additional questions, definitions, examples, and applications.

Reading Assignment: Chapters 7, 30-36
(7) Sin and its Kinds, (11) On the Effects of Redemption, (18) On the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit (36) Precepts of the Church

Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church     by USCCB (2005)
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a summary of the 1992 version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It was developed under the direction of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), then head of the CD. The Compendium is organized into the same divisions as the Catechism, but the simplified Question and Answer format is more appropriate for high school level study and review.

Reading Assignment:     Part III, Life in Christ: Section I
(3-I) Man's Vocation — Life in the Spirit (3-I-1) Dignity of the Human Person (Freedom, Morality, Passions, Conscience, Virtues, Sin) (3-I-2) The Human Community (The Person and Society, Social Justice) (3-I-3) Law and Grace (Moral Law, Grace and Justification, The Church)

Explanation of Catholic Morals  by J. Stapleton
This book is a collection of 100 short, popular essays on Catholic Morality were that were originally published in a magazine form. The essays assume a basic knowledge of Catholic moral teachings, and seek to explain the purpose and reasoning behind the moral principles adhered to by the Church.

Online Videos of Interest

The most important videos for the Moral Teaching division are from Thomas Wood's Catholic Church - Builder of Civilization series.

  • Catholic Church — Builder of Civilization: Western Morality (30 minutes)
    This discusses Catholic morality, not in terms of natural law, but rather in the positive effects it has had in civilizing Western Culture. It shows how concepts of natural rights, lifetime marriage, the sanctity of life, the inherent dignity of all human life, Christian charity and the commandments transformed pagan culture.
  • Catholic Church — Builder of Civilization: Charity (30 minutes)
    This video is from the same series, but focuses on the manner in which Christian Charity trasformed Western Civilization. It covers many topics other than monks, but it does emphasize the role that monasteries played in offering services such as inns, schools, hospitals, libararies, alms, and spiritual care for people of the middle ages.

There are also several short videos that explain particular points of Catholic morality clearly and succinctly. A few good, short Catholic Morality videos are as follows:

  • Ethical Understanding: Morality of Human Acts (2 minutes)
    This brief video reviews the three conditions for a moral act: The act itself (object), the intention, the circumstances.
  • Human Acts (3 minutes)
    Covers concepts of Free angency including Knowledge, Freedom, Voluntariness, (Intellect, Will, Freedom)
  • The Moral Argument (5 minutes)
    Discusses the difference between subjective and objective morality and the necessity of truth and God for Good to exist. Without God there cannot be moral obligations.
  • Horus Reads the Internet (6 minutes)
    Discusses the difference between the Moral law and the Mosaic law, and the manner in which some Biblical prohibitions are misunderstood.