To what extent does reason in the Catholic religion influence our moral beliefs and the laws that rule society?

We are driven by ethical norms, laws and reason, in order to provide a sense of what is considered to be right or wrong. We are often encouraged to help those in need and report any event considered a crime. Nonetheless, although it is portrayed in a simplistic way, there are situations that prevent us to confidently differentiate what is considered as wrong or right, as a result, our reason can be conflicted as well.

A real life situation can be found in the Catholic church debating on whether or not expose those who have committed any sexual abuse. “Pontifical secret” is a law within the Catholic Church, which prevents bishops from sharing the confessions made regarding sexual abuse. As a result, this is where many are unable to know what to do.



On the side of religion, the confessions made are meant to be kept a secret. That is one of the main rules followed by Catholicism and perhaps other religions. If the privacy and secrecy of the confessions were to be violated, followers would fear to confess.

Within the article, it is said that the religious teachings teach that the civil laws should be followed. However, are the bishops meant to follow laws regarding the secrecy or the laws regarding reporting the abuse?



From the ethical side, it shouldn’t matter that the confessions are meant to be kept a secret. The Catholic church has the moral obligation of reporting any crime, specially if it can save an individual’s life. If the Catholic church were to be keeping very sensitive information, then they would be considered as accomplices of the crime by not reporting the facts.

We have the moral obligation of helping those who aren’t able to protect themselves. If we focus on protecting the Catholic church, who will help the victim? Delicate events such as sexual abuse can be an extremely traumatizing experience. Furthermore, putting a stop to the victim’s suffering is considered to be the right thing to do.



Depending from what point of view it is seen from, it is where reason appears. From the Catholic church side, it is reasonable to not report any incongruous confession due to it being against the religious laws imposed in Catholicism. Whereas from the ethical side and the human sciences, it would be reasonable to expose those events, due to them going against humans and our moral values.

In conclusion, reason is able to influence the way we see a certain situation. It can be within religion, a human science or ethics. Depending on our points of view and the circumstances, it is how we can be conflicted as in what to do and how should we respond.


Word count: 450


Bibliography – information:


Bibliography – images:

[1] GIPHY. 2017. Secret GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 2017].

[2] GIPHY. 2017. GIPHY Originals GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 2017].

[3] GIPHY. 2017. Reaction GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 2017].

Video: 2017. Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong | TED Talk | [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 2017].

Main image: {}: On Being Called An American. 2017. {}: On Being Called An American. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 2017].


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