To follow the Church’s moral teaching is to be pharisaical?


In this earthly life, everything is subject to time and passes away. All created things of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdom, inevitably come to an end. However, when man – whose material dimension also passes, to later be restored – crosses the threshold of the end of time, he will not cease to exist; he will either live eternal bliss or eternal perdition. In the Gospel we see Jesus affirm that, to receive the reward of everlasting happiness, it is not enough to call him ‘Lord’; one must also do the will of the Father:Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven’ (Mt 7:21). And to do the will of God it is necessary to put Jesus’ perennial teachings into practice: ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ (Mt 24:35). Now, every one of Jesus’ teachings is based on doing good, never evil; that is, in fulfillment of the commandments, as He himself replied to the rich young man: ‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments’ (Mt. 19:17).

Therefore, his teaching may be taken as a code of Christian ethics, founded on eternal morality. This morality is engraved in men’s hearts, as the Apostle said to the Romans: They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts’ (Rom 2:15), and it may not change with time or with changing circumstances. Seeking adaptation is the exact hypocrisy Jesus recriminated in the Pharisees’ behavior: they did not fulfill the law of Moses, but rather adapted its letter to their own interests and situations, creating a false personal morality. Christ made it very clear that the law of God has not changed at all: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill’ (Mt 5:17). Therefore, whoever does not fulfill the true law is the pharisee, not the one who fulfills it. This is Church teaching across centuries: whatever breaks the law of God is a sin, independent of the times! Consequently, human societies are just or unjust depending on the just or unjust conduct of their human members. We cannot speak of a ‘social injustice’ in disregard to personal sins, for the latter are a consequence of the former, and not a mere casuistry. Morality is permanent and there is no such thing as “situation ethics”, as we will examine in this study.

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To follow the Church’s moral teaching is to be pharisaical?

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