Choices: God is free and humans created in God's image are free. God freely chose to create the universe from nothing. Therefore, God is essentially free, and so human beings made in God's image are likewise gifted with the capacity to make free choices. A Catholic perspective promotes human flourishing in all its dimensions, and the making of moral choices in ways that contribute to, rather than threaten or undermine this flourishing of the whole human person. The concept of identity expresses the human desire to form a coherent sense of self through making free choices about who we want to be and what we want to do in the context of relationships. How we respond to the objective dimensions of our identity arises from our relationships with God and the world; with others, institutions, and history. How we form our own sense of self in the world, and how we shape the way other people see us depend on these factors. Human beings choose between living life to the full or rejecting God's love and God's promise. God gives human beings this choice precisely because God loves them, because God respects their inviolable dignity, and their absolute worth as moral agents, as people who can make moral decisions. In other words, though Christian faith affirms the worth and dignity of all human beings, and the boundless love of God, it is up to individual human beings, situated as they are in particular historical circumstances, to make choices and to act in ways that realise their dignity and the dignity of others; ways that show the presence of God in the world. Because people are free, rational and relational, human beings can choose to tear down and destroy the beauty and goodness that God has given to them, or they can choose to hear God's call when God asks them to care for the world and deeply love all that is in it. A fundamental choice that all human beings face is the choice to pursue self-aggrandizement at the expense of others, and ultimately at the expense of their relationship with God, or to stand up for love and live life wholeheartedly. (John 10:10)Emotions helps us to identify situations about which we may have to make moral choices about what to do, and in which what we choose to do (or not to do) can be called morally right or morally wrong. Put another way, all emotions help us work out how best to bring about true human flourishing; that is, to participate in the happiness or beatitude that God promises all human beings. (Matthew 5:1-5) By creating us as free beings, God has given us the power to choose the kind of beings we want to be, the causes we want to stand for, the values we want to hold dear. The choices we make in answering these questions will have implications forever, because our spiritual selves will live forever. Fundamentally, we are asked whether we want to stand up for love and live forever in eternal happiness with God (what is traditionally referred to as Heaven), or whether we want to reject love, to reject goodness, to reject community, to reject all that is good and true and beautiful.Sin is not simply about choosing to do something bad or evil. It is always about faulty judgments and subsequent choices about what is good and right. This can happen in two ways. Sometimes it is about choosing to achieve something that we think is good, though in reality, when all is considered, it is actually bad. Sometimes it is about choosing to achieve something that is good, but doing so at the expense of what could be better and therefore should take precedence. Conscience, loosely translated, means 'with knowledge'. In other words, when we make moral choices, we make them based on what we know about the goals we want to achieve, the ways or means to achieve them, the circumstances in which we need to achieve them, and the consequences of both the means we choose and the outcomes we achieve. When we have weighed all these things, we make a judgment based on our knowledge of what is the morally right thing to do. We are then obliged to follow our conscience and do the morally right thing, taking responsibility for our decision.
The arts not only attract attention but also instruct viewers with their powerful and incisive moral and social comments. Miles (1985) notes that during the time of the martyrs, visual images portrayed peaceful alternatives to the violence experienced by many people. On the other hand, social comment is not always appreciated. For example, when Rembrandt first depicted old people as elderly, his contemporaries were shocked. Rembrandt showed the viewers a more realistic truth than they wanted to see. Sometimes a new style or a new work of art appears more offensive when it challenges the boundaries of convention thereby appearing to threaten the psychological order and the status quo of society, and expressing a level of reality different from that of the accepted social consciousness (Laeuchli, 1980).