Looking for Church guidance on making modern moral decisions


Where can a Catholic turn for Church guidance on issues like Civil Disobedience, taking a moral stance, refusing to comply with things which violate the Catholic conscience, knowing when to submit, when to resist, etc…
I’m looking for anything by a trusted Catholic writer, preferably by a religious and relating to our present day culture. I would prefer it to be a narrowed down and refined source rather than broad and general, by that I mean for example, I prefer “read this Papal encyclical” or “read this book by” answer to a general “read the Catechism” answer.

Hope that’s clear enough and many thanks for your answers.


A good confessor…ones Pastor…as you noted The Catechism …the National Catholic Bioethics Center…solid works of Moral Theology…the Compendium of Social Doctine… :slight_smile:

Various questions can have various good sources :slight_smile:



Have not read them but perhaps these too:




There is a book called Catholicism & Ethics by Hayes, Hayes, Kelly, and Drummey that addresses many of these issues. Part I is the Basic Principles of Ethics and Morality, which address topics such as Law and Conscience, Double Effect, and Cooperation; part II is Medical-Moral Principles Applied which deals with specific questions such as contraception, cloning, artificial insemination, etc. The book has both an Impramatur and Nihil Obstat which “are official declarations that a book or pamphlet are free of doctrinal or moral error.”

ISBN 0-9649087-7-8


Here are the basics:


"These five current issues concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law. Intrinsically evil actions are those that fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be deliberately performed under any circumstances. It is a serious sin to deliberately endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any action contrary to the non-negotiable principles involved in these issues.

"1. Abortion

"The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is “never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it” (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.

"The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins.

"2. Euthanasia

"Often disguised by the name “mercy killing,” euthanasia is also a form of homicide. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.

"In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person (cf. EV 73).

"3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research

"Human embryos are human beings. “Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo” (CRF 4b).

"Recent scientific advances show that often medical treatments that researchers hope to develop from experimentation on embryonic stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there is no valid medical argument in favor of using embryonic stem cells. And even if there were benefits to be had from such experiments, they would not justify destroying innocent embryonic humans.

"4. Human Cloning

“Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union” (RHL I:6).

"Human cloning also involves abortion because the “rejected” or “unsuccessful” embryonic clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.

"5. Homosexual “Marriage”

"True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other union as “marriage” undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.

“When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral” (UHP 10)."

Catholics aren’t encouraged to get involved in civil disobedience. Yet, when we are faced with a situation that may involve us participating in some immoral activity, we should not participate.



Wonderful answers. Thanks, you folks are the best.


“Five Non-negotiables” is not a Catholic doctrine. It was made up by Catholic Answers and is not a teaching of the Church.

Try and find a healthcare facility that doesn’t do abortion or a grocery store or pharmacy that doesn’t sell contraception. How can one guarantee that the university they send their child to doesn’t do stem cell research or that their doctor doesn’t support abortion? Show me a truly pro-life and anti-death penalty candidate?

We do the best we can so that we can stand in front of Jesus with a clear conscience, but we will never be able to completely distance ourselves from such things unless we want to move to a cave in the desert or become a monk in the monastery.

All sin is non-negotiable. Gluttony is non-negotiable. Stealing a penny and looking at a woman with lust is non-negotiable. Drinking a latte when we know that someone down the street is starving is non-negotiable. The only thing “Five Non-Negotiables” does is cause people to stay away from the voting booth.



I won’t recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church in general but part three only.

The Catechism is divided into four parts. The third part is “Life in Christ”, how we are to apply our faith in the real world, moral living in light of our Christian faith. The size of this part when taken alone is quite manageable.

I hope it helps.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.