Paragraph 1753 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the following warning about the moral theory of “consequentalism”:
A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).
It came to mind when I read an op-ed on Obama’s immigration executive order last Friday in the Cincinnati Enquirer from local attorney Kenneth Craycraft Jr. And it especially came to mind this morning when I listened to Mr. Craycraft, a self-identified member of St. Andrew’s parish in Milford, elaborate on the points in his piece on Catholic radio during a sympathetic interview.