Going back for one last time to the comments made about me in respect of that post about abortion, it seems to me, on reflection, that I was in effect being accused of being more interested in the book of rules than in the well-being – and ultimately the eternal well-being – of the women who are involved in seeking abortions : and I hope that my subsequent remarks have gone at least some way to showing that this isn’t the case.
Why not ? Well, I think it’s because I seem – on consideration – to have grasped (albeit probably implicitly, rather than explicitly) at quite an early age a premise put forward by a certain Master of the Order of Preachers* : that Seeking the good is not primarily about rules and commandments.
I’m not suggesting, of course, that this means that the rules and commandments are unimportant, or that they are of no significance in determining how someone has behaved . . . after all, God would hardly have provided them if He had not decided that they were fundamental.
However, what I think I grasped early in my study of Moral Theology is that whilst on one level one can determine the effect of someone’s conduct, or decisions, on another level one has to accept that only God can truly know how good or evil they are : and that this applies to us, too . . . which is why developing a genuine sense of contrition is a fundamental necessity for each and every one of us !
That way, as we try to seek the good in our love of God, and try to remember and shape our lives by His rules and commandments, we may hope that ultimately we may succeed in achieving what He wants for us, and thus gaining what He holds out to us.
* fr Timothy Radcliffe, in case you hadn’t guessed !