Monday, July 09, 2007

"Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator".
--John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, #80

I live in a sensory-deprivation tank, and so my awareness of the news and television programs is old; I apologize ahead of time if this post is passe...

No country is perfect, and so in noting that the citizens and even the government of the U.S. do not always live up to this standard, I do not mean to single our country out, whose human rights record in many ways is better than most. What prompts me to quote our late, Great Holy Father is the recent airing of opinions from conservatives openly supporting the use of torture and arbitrary imprisonment in the supposed defense of Western Civilization. Isn't part of what is great about the West the tradition of respect for human dignity? How are we preserving culture by negating it? Well, it works on TV, they say--even Justice Scalia apparently likes Jack Bauer's methods. Apparently, some evils are so bad that they justify doing evil.

In other contexts, this consequentialist thinking is rightly condemned by conservatives as 'situation ethics'. It should be condemned in this context as well.

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
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Origen of Alexandria
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