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The Catholic approach to ethical behaviour is based on claiming the objective truth of the following ten claims - that these claims are true, whether or not people choose to accept them.

1. God Exists: God is good. God is the Creator of all that exists. God loves all creation and God's plan for human beings is for happiness now and beyond death.

2. Human beings have been created in the image of God:Human beings are like God. They reflect the goodness of God.. They are persons, a unity of body and soul.

3. People naturally know what is right through the use of their intelligence: Being like God, human beings are able to think about their experience, and arrive at knowledge of good and evil, by discerning the 'law written on their hearts' (Gaudium et Spes, #16).

4. Human beings are capable of sin: Because human beings have free will, they can choose their actions. However, while they are naturally able to know what is good, they often choose what they know is wrong.

The word sin, refers to those actions a person chooses that damage their relationship with themselves, with others and with God.

5. In Christ, God has restored the fullness of life to all people. (Redemption): Jesus Christ gained for us the forgiveness of God, reconciliation with God and eternal life with God. All people are called to a life of being like God, of striving for goodness.

6. Jesus Christ showed people what is is to be fully human. (Revelation): In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God showed people what it is like to be fully human. We are free to become most fully ourselves, fully alive, the person God calls us to be.

7. Christ gave an example of how to live: Christians believe that the life of Christ is the model for all human choices and decisions.

8. The Christian life is one of faith, hope and love: 'I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.' (John 10:10)

In Christ, Catholics see a life in faith, hope and love - a model of how to conduct their own lives in ways that incorporate these three virtues.

9. Christ taught the law of love: 'I give you a new commandment that you love on another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love on another.' (John 13:34)

On the basis of this law of love, Catholics claim that love, generosity, self-sacrifice and compassion are always objectively good; and that selfishness, hatred, abuse, discrimination, and oppression are always objectively evil.

10. The Church teaches about moral and ethical issues:Catholic teaching on many ethical issues has been developed through reflection on the life and teaching of Christ. Faithful to him, the Church teaches in his name and with his authority.

(K. Engebreston ET.AL, Catholic Ethical Thinking for Senior Secondary Students, James Goold House Publications, Melbourne, 2004, pp.11-12)

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Q: What are the ten principles of Catholic ethical behavior?
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