Thursday, 11 October 2012

Co-operation with evil - CVeebie style...

I'm Gobsmacked!!!

A certain Catholic Voice has recently participated in multiple conversations on various blogs regarding the Incrementalist vs Solidaritist positions [the Finnis vs Harte issue] regarding the meaning of article 73 of the Papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae

Now these arguments involve Blessed John Paul II's inability to be technically precise when dealing with moral theological precepts and his existentialist habit of appealing to a moral dialectic where he would make two apparently contradictory statements from which a synthesised conclusion must be deduced or discerned; and a practical application deliberated.

Evangelium Vitae 73.2
 In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".98

...forbids us from engaging in collaboration with legislation endorsing, advocating, promoting or furthering the culture of death - as these actions are intrinsically unjust.

BUT EV 73:3
A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects. 

...permits the use of every available moral means to diminish the negative affect of that legislation - even if it doesn't result in an absolute ban.

Now here's the crux : What is a moral means?

Is voting for an abortion-limit reduction which intrinsically allows early-term abortions - or exceptions or compromises [e.g. rape,incest, disability,health of mother] an acceptable [73.3] or an unacceptable [73.2] form of co-operation?

John Finnis argues by 73.3 a defence of the action saying voting is permissible as the situation is merely unjust - therefore restrictive voting is merely remote material co-operation - one is only responsible for the actual reduction involved in the legislation - and not responsible for anything else immoral within it.

Colin Harte argues by 73.2 that such a scenario is intrinsically unjust and therefore co-operation is either formal or at least [forbidden] proximate material. One IS responsible for what one puts one's name to - collaboration in the passing of a bill which reneges on the principle of solidarity [i.e. one where lives of differing worths/dignities are traded/negotiated] is always gravely immoral...

Who is right?
Well that's the fight!

Incrementalists say Finnis with his half loaf - any life which can be saved must be saved - paradigm - MUST be right.
Solidaritists [and I'm one of them] argue that the only way forward is the truly moral principle of no exception: no compromise]

Who is right?
Solidaritists are.

Who says so?
Surely this is an issue upon which the Vatican has not spoken and is therefore open to [as the CVeebies love to appeal to] Prudential Judgment? it isn't!

Because His Holiness Benedict XVI while Cardinal at the CDF has filled this loophole and given a direct answer on the issue,

10....When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician,

[here it comes - a direct precedential appeal]

...recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18)...[citing EV 73.3]

This DOES NOT MEAN that a MORE RESTRICTIVE LAW in this area could be considered JUST OR EVEN ACCEPTABLE; [alluding to EV73.2]

[This is the most crucial point - Moral Means  DO NOT INCLUDE Restrictive Legislation.
Restrictive legislation is here being prohibited - any other means to diminish the gravity of the unjust situation is permissible - i.e. partial repeals - but not restrictive legislation [i.e. that which intrinsically endorses an aspect of it within its legislation]
Partial repeals are of course acceptable - but they must not be within a legislative bill which continues to endorse an action. Irrespective of the ostensible benefits...]

 ...rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt [i.e. USING MORAL MEANS - P.] to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

So Finnis is wrong regarding restrictive legislation [which is not acceptable]
Who says so?
The Pope!!!

The Incrementalist position of negotiating/compromising/allowing exceptions via restrictive legislation is hereby being forbidden as Unjust & Unacceptable.

Now here's the Crunch:
A Catholic Voice blogger has today blogged [together with commenting on two more blogs]
citing Evangelium Vitae 73.3...


...Using this edited [and therefore completely misrepresentative] version to justify their Incrementalist position that it is perfectly acceptable and justifiable to co-operate with Restrictive legislation - i.e. it's OK to endorse abortion at a reduced limit!!!

This is on an ethical par with citing the Bible as "Thou Shalt [cough!] Bear False Witness"!!!

With 'friends' like these? Satan can buy Suntan lotion, a surfboard and a giant book of Sudoku....

1 comment:

Sitsio said...

Whilst I tend to agree with your absolutist position Paul, I don't see it as clear cut, especially not from your explanation here!