Proverbs 16:25 reads, There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death. (In Latin, est via quae videtur homini recta et novissimum eius ducit ad mortem.). This is where we get the English proverb, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” which has been around since 1855 (at the very latest, and possibly much earlier.)
I am shocked how many priests allegedly trained in moral theology are now holding that the end justifies the means on all the issues of 2020 and 2021 from election fraud to vaccines. No, the end does not justify the means in moral theology. Hiding behind trite 1970s phrases like “the common good” is essentially how many moral theologians are overturning very, very basic Catholic moral theology.
Here is basic Catholic moral theology: When facing a moral decision (not a neutral one like choosing vanilla or chocolate ice-cream) all three parts of your future act must be good: object (or the deed about to be done) intention and circumstances. If three or two or even one of these three is evil, then the entire act is evil. Again, if only one of those three is evil (for example, if you have a bad deed coming down the pike but with a good intention) then the entire act is considered evil. (Bonum ex causa integer; malum ex quocumque defectu.)
In other words, if you are going to do something just in God’s eyes, you must not only have a good intention but you must also have a good deed (object) that you are about to do. No amount of good intentions or hemming-and-hawing about the “common good” or “remote cooperation” can overturn classic moral theology that the object of an act must still be good. (Again, classic Catholic moral theology is that bonum ex causa integer; malum ex quocumque defectu.)
The truth is that you don’t need a degree in moral theology or Latin to know that “the road to hell was paved with good intentions.” Even non-Catholic Christians know that. The inspired Sacred Scriptures tell us just as much: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.—Proverbs 16:25.
Thus, good intentions won’t save you. You must do good, too.