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Fundamental Option vs. Traditional View of Mortal Sin
This paper explores the fundamental option of mortal sin compared to the traditional view. The traditional view of mortal sin has always looked at certain sins as leading to death. They separate the individual from God. Among these include sins like lust, pride, gluttony, greed and the like. These sins may be absolved through reconciliation to God. In modern times however, the fundamental option is introduced, which presents the idea that such sins are not mortal sins, unless the individual committing the sin rejects God entirely. There are many that accept this option, some under the premise of the New Covenant, stating love removes all sin, or that human beings are not responsible for certain individual choices they make. Pope John Paul II claims however, that such an option is heretical in nature and that only by fully choosing to do what is good and right can one fully embrace the grace offered by the Lord.
The fundamental option essentially presents a concept of morals suggesting human beings develop their morals and virtues related to the culture or orientation of his or her life, which is either pro-or against God. The "fundamental" direction or orientation of one's life is pro-God if a person is directed toward serving others and toward agape or love, and antagonistic or against God if they are self-serving in nature. Thus a person can live a worldly life, which some refer to as a City of Man, committed to the self alone and self-serving principles, or a Godly life, living in a City of God, or a heaven-centered or God-centered life. The Holy See issued "Persona Humana" to expand on this idea condemning certain actions of the fundamental option, stating that a person commits themselves to antagonism of God if they allow mortal sins of a certain nature to exist, thereby separating themselves from God. The Holy See stated that while there is a fundamental option, and that a person can belong to the City of God or the City of Man, individual human actions do have the ability to change one's nature. Meaning performing certain actions including murder for example, without repentance, can be serious sins that are gravely wrong. But these are not mortal in nature unless the person committing the sin rejects God; meaning a person cannot be without God unless they state that they reject and therefore permanently remove themselves from the grace of God.
Freedom and Purpose
Many argue they have freedom in Christ, and can express their love of God any way they want. Mortal sin is covered therefore by the grace of God, and not committed unless outward rejection of God occurs. Mortal sin by nature is any action that is a serious transaction that one has committed willfully; it is an action that violates the laws of God, which therefore deprives the soul of grace, a free gift of God. Man sins, but the actions taken by man are not always defined as mortal sin. Man suffers many "internal divisions" according to the Holy See, flowing in part from the many "discords in society." There are many things in the world that cause distractions, including materialism which blind man's insight and separate man from God. Conscious however is the choice of love, the choice that begs man not to move in ignorance, to do what is best for his neighbor and his self.
Truth and goodness are what causes man to live with God, and not against him. It is basic freedom that causes man to move in a dignified manner. However there are still those that would do whatever pleases them, even if such things are not good, or evil in nature. God is graceful enough to "will that man remain under the control of his own decisions" as stated by the Holy See, in such a way that he has free choice to move with the promptings within, which can sometimes result in man choosing to become captive to certain passions. Fagan (1987) poses the question of whether morality changes over the course of time. The See would answer, "Yes" it can, depending on what individual choices a man makes. Gula (1989) aruges that the foundations of morality stem from choices made in faith-based decisions. Crucial to man is knowledge of the truth, which stems from conscious-laden decisions, which can only be made when one makes conscious choice to do what is right, rather than making decisions that are self-righteous.
Key to morality is community. As the See states man is a social creature not created to make decisions alone (Connors & McCormick (1998). Man was made to make decisions-based partly on character, culture, and the nature of community. This is essential to wellness. Many have heard the statement, "Not everyone that cries Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Surely there are many self-righteous that believe they do what is asked of them, and espect to enter Heaven. But the Kingdom of Heaven is not a self-righteous place. It is a place for those that Love the Lord and loathe the self, though the Lord loves His creation. Love for others and for God is essential to salvation. After all, the Lord sent His only Son, breath of His life for the salvation of all others. He endured self-sacrifice even at the hands of His enemies. The world today is one of mutual dependence (Vatican II, 84). Considering the idea of fundamental option, if a City of Man were mutually dependent, then the entire world would be working toward self-rightness rather than working for God, This would suggest that the evil powers present were all working to worship each other, rather than worship the creator.
To what extent does this promote love and justice? Rather, even in times of "peace" war is waged on God. It is as the Vatican states, "absolutely necessary for countries to cooperate more advantageously and more closely together and work tirelessly for the creation of organizations" for true peace to be realized. The same is true of love; for "efficacious attainment of the common good" nations must respect their responsibility toward one another to honor their commitment to mutual love for the common good of one another.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The traditional understanding of mortal sin suggests that mortal sins are those than put into danger the soul; they include sins that may seem minor in danger including pride, lies, lust, murderous hearts and deceit. Pope John Paul II states in his "Veratatis Splendor" or in the Splendor of Truth that the concept of the Persona Humana is nothing more than heretical, simply because is claims that only by rejecting God can one commit mortal sin. This is essentially, in opposition to biblical teaching which states that it is a fundamental choice of all human beings to engage in life that entails a self-commitment to the Lord God through faith. The New Covenant calls all men through love to choose to follow God. The call of the disciple is as some suggest a radical call. Matthew states "If you wish to be perfect then come, follow me." (19:21). In Galatians 5(1) there is a warning that in freedom in Christ while human beings are set free to choose what to do with their freedom, they are also warned to stand fast, and "do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." This is a warning to disassociate acts of the flesh from spiritual activity, which is activity exercised through specific choices and actions, claiming that immoral practices are willing acceptance of incorrect actions preventing believers from sharing in the good grace God prepared for them.
The fundamental option is weak in that it provides an excuse for human beings to behave immorally; some may argue that it is a blatant excuse to engage in sin. Many religious institutions have used it as a way to excuse all irreverence, releasing all people from the dogmatic practices of church life. Does morality change? This is a question presented by Fagan (1987) and many others that address the direction of moral theology. Being a human poses many challenges (Kelly 1992). While the traditional view of mortal sin does make dogmatic practice problematic in some instances, opening the door for abuse of spiritual authority in some churches, it also allows for order and obedience in a society where chaos reigns supreme. When one considers the New Covenant, the Covenant of Love, one cannot resist the fact that if one loves, one will automatically accept the notion that when one loves, one immediately accepts the moral obligation to do what is right. What is right includes not lying, stealing, engaging in deceit or murder. The sinful body becomes stronger under the influence of Christ. When one takes on the body of Christ, then sin is not as tempting as before. As the scriptures point out, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens…[continue]
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