It is a necessary corollary from all that has been said already. If man be not free, he cannot be expected to keep laws, and should not be punished for breaking them. There can be no obligation to observe a law when it is not possible to keep it. This is the judgment of every normal mind. The judicial and punitive application of human legislation is outrageous if men are not responsible for their conduct. The theorists who talk of determinism never dream of applying their doctrine in practice. Again consciousness affords sufficient proof for every normal man. We are not only conscious before acting that there are various courses open to us, but we are conscious that we may desist from a course of action already adopted, and after acting, are conscious of self-approbation or self-reproach, realizing that we were not compelled to act that way. Finally, the possession of reason or intelligence cannot be without freedom of will. Granted a reasoning faculty which can apprehend finite things under different aspects, freewill follows. For example, the acquiring of another man’s money may be considered as involving the moral evil of obtaining it by theft, or as yielding one’s own goods in exchange for the sake of possessing cash. The object itself allows a man to concentrate upon one aspect or the other, proposing motives to himself for a good or an evil choice.
God’s existence known by reason, Question 50 from Radio Replies Volume I Copyright © 1938 (by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble, M.S.C. and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty).