Moral obligation is not man’s prison, from which he must liberate himself in order finally be able to do what he wants. It is moral obligation that constitutes his dignity, and he does not become more free if he discards it: on the contrary, he takes a step backward, to the level of a machine, of a mere thing.
A Turning Point for Europe?, 36
The other article Mark links is by Mike Flynn on hypocrisy. It is another way to run from morality and replace it with moral outrage.The trick here is to assume everyone who says they are trying to do good is a hypocrite. Then you can do evil and claim to be better than everyone else because you admit you are doing evil. Now this works better if there is some doubt whether the act in question is actually gravely evil. You can trade on that. We know hypocrisy is wrong so you can trade moral certainty for moral gravity.
Is it better to admit you indulge in porn rather than do it secretly? It depends what you mean. If you mean is it better to confess your failings, they it is true. But if you mean it is better to act like indulging in porn is not morally wrong, then it is false. It is better to try and stay pure and fail than it is to fail without even making an effort. So you have people self-righteously claiming, "My porn might be wrong but at least I am honest about it." That is not better. They say hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue. To feel contrition enough to want to keep your actions secret is better than to proudly and publicly act. The best is to be honest and contrite but we should not be fooled into thinking honesty with no contrition is a step in the right direction.
Again, the reason this works is people see pornography as a minor sin. They see the lying as a bigger issue. It isn't. Pornography is gravely immoral. It is also a choice. Modern society sees it as inevitable. The idea that nobody is pure. Everyone does it. It is just a matter of who admits it. Nonsense. People can be holy. That is the goal. If we switch the goal for just being honest about our vices then we have lowered ourselves.
The really honest sinners not only admit they sin but admit they are powerless over sin. Like step 1 of the 12-step program. Saying you need help rather than saying you commit this sin and everyone should just accept that.That is real honesty. The happy drunk or the happy fornicator or whatever is really not that honest. At some level they know they are doing evil and they are not at peace with themselves.
This is why many of Mike Flynn's examples come from fiction. Fictional characters can flaunt moral standards without the slightest crisis of conscience. Real people have trouble with that. Fiction also allows all the moral characters to be confirmed hypocrites. We imagine a world devoid of saints so our hero becomes the one-eyed man in the world of blind men. But in the real world it is possible, with God's grace, to be good. When you encounter someone who shows you virtue then you just can't be happy with your vice.