Sunday, April 30, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 273

273.  In proposing values, we have to proceed slowly, taking into consideration the child's age and abilities, without presuming to apply rigid and inflexible methods.  The valuable contributions of psychology and the educational sciences have shown that changing a child's behaviour involves a gradual process but also that freedom needs to be channeled and stimulated, since by itself it does not ensure growth in maturity.  Situated freedom, real freedom, is limited and conditioned.  It is not simply to ability to choose what is good with complete spontaneity.  A distinction is not always adequately drawn between "voluntary" and "free" acts.  A person may clearly and willingly desire something evil, but do so as the result of an irresistible passion or a poor upbringing.  In such cases, while the decision is voluntary, inasmuch as it does not run counter to the inclination of their desire, it is not free, since it is practically impossible for them not to choose that evil.  We see this in the case of compulsive drug addicts.  When they want a fix, they want it completely, yet they are so conditioned that at that moment no other decision is possible.  Their decision is voluntary but not free.  It makes no sense to "let them freely choose", since in fact they cannot choose, and exposing them to drugs only increases their addiction.  They need the help of others and a process of rehabilitation.