Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tom has a great post - updated with pictures!

It's entitled, "What does pro-life mean?" and it gives a great sense of how a Catholic views torture in the context of other life issues.

UPDATE: Tom has given me permission to reproduce his excellent graphic illustrating the Catholic understanding of the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. Click for the full image.
Back to our blog post, already in progress...

The money quote:
I propose, then, that for an organization, social program, political platform, etc., to be legitimately called "pro-life," it is necessary and sufficient that
  • it advocate a correct position on at least one of the above issues; and
  • it advocate an incorrect position on none of the above issues
(Individual Catholics, of course, are to hold correct positions on all the issues, and advocate for them as prudence dictates.)

26 comments:

  1. "Tom has a great post

    It's entitled, "What does pro-life mean?"

    It means one has to be against waterboarding to be pro-life. Never mind those anti-abortion, right-wing, pro-war hate mongerers, they all voted for Bush and Cheney (who should be in jail, just asked mark shea, he'll tell ya)

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  4. Now, Mark, Jasper signed his name. He's a good little Jaspy-waspy! Yes! Does Jaspy-waspy want a treat?

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  5. @love the girls -

    You'll note that both Tom and I are talking about how the term "pro-life" appears from a Catholic perspective.

    In his post, he's quite clear that the term has a much more specific sense (pro life-of-unborn-children) from a historical or journalistic point of view.

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  6. @Jasper -

    If Mr. Cheney had, say, solicited a prostitute, would he not have to go to jail?

    What if he had raped someone?

    What if he had planned a series of robberies and murders for an organized crime syndicate?

    In short, if he is a criminal (as approving and implementing torture policies is, under our own laws), does he not deserve punishment? Does society not deserve protection from his attacks? That's all Mark is saying.

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  7. The better term to use is right to life.

    I agree.

    As for using pro-life as a substitute for signifying Catholic teaching.

    I'm proposing using "pro-life" to signify "favoring life over death," and the Catechism as a framework of ways in which humans can choose one over the other.

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  9. I know what you're doing.

    Except that every other sentence in your comment is evidence that you don't.

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  10. Hm. I should probably add that I don't think it's particularly important to anyone that love the girls and I agree on what I'm doing; I'm just stating that I don't agree with his characterization of it.

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  12. Ah. By "called 'pro-life,'" I mean "referred to with the term 'pro-life.'" Using terms in the names of organizations gets us back to the realm of politics, in which realm I've granted first dibs to the right-to-life (a better term, as you pointed out, than "anti-abortion") groups.

    I'm proposing a moral classification of what it means to favor life over death, not a reclassification of a political term. (And the proposed moral classification says nothing about feeding the poor or living wages.)

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  13. Tom, I love your graphic! One question: would we put ESCR, IVF, and other immoral experimentation on human embryos under the "Abortion" heading, or should these evils be put under a heading of their own?

    One thing people (myself included) forget when calling the Republican party the "pro-life party" is that a great many Republicans who oppose abortion have been disappointingly anti-life on the issues of ESCR, IVF, the use of fetal cell lines in medicines, and the like.

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  14. I'm just someone looking at the Catechism, but I think "Respect for the person and scientific research" may be the proper category for ESCR, or possibly it straddles that and "Intentional homicide."

    Para. 2295, under "Respect for the person and scientific research," says:

    "Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. The subjects' potential consent does not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not morally legitimate if it exposes the subject's life or physical and psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Experimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the subject or those who legitimately speak for him."

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  15. Oh, and of course Dignitatis Personae situates ESCR and IVF in the context of the dignity of persons.

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  16. "In short, if he is a criminal (as approving and implementing torture policies is, under our own laws), does he not deserve punishment? "

    Yes, he would deserve punishment. Why isn't he in jail now then? What do you suggest we do? prosecute him? Investigations?

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  18. For what it's worth, the Catechism mentions feeding the poor, along with the other works of mercy, in the article on the Seventh Commandment, "You shall not steal."

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  19. @jasper - Let's just say I'm disappointed that President Obama has chosen not to prosecute the architects of the torture policy under Bush's administration.

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  21. "@jasper - Let's just say I'm disappointed that President Obama has chosen not to prosecute the architects of the torture policy under Bush's administration."

    Are you referring to Obama, who supported and advocated for legalized infanticide while in the IL state senate?
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/nurse_says_obama_supports_infanticide/

    you want him to prosecute Bush and Cheney?

    Robert,

    Well, Bush and Cheney had to approve it, so wouldn't you want them prosecuted too?

    also, are you disappointed that

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  22. Red,
    "calling the Republican party the "pro-life party" is that a great many Republicans who oppose abortion have been disappointingly anti-life on the issues of ESCR, IVF, the use of fetal cell lines in medicines, and the like"

    The Republican Party is the most pro life party available in our two party system. It is not even close. You have the pro death Nazi democrats with their holocaust of 50,000,000 dead and they are also worse on all the other issues you mention as well. As long as we have a two party system, as we have had forever, not voting for the republican party and thus allowing the democrats to have power kills innocent life. Yes, it is agravating to vote for some republicans, and yes pro life people need to keep pushing the party hard on life issues with our votes and our monitoring and voices, but we now see what happens when people waste their vote, do not vote, or somehow convince themselves they can be democrat and pro life. You get Barry and his love of killing babies along with the lost catholic democrats who personnaly oppose but want it legal in charge.

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  23. feeding the poor does not mean that the government should do it.

    The government does not do anything effectively or with a model that can be sustained. I have yet to have anyone point to a government program that is well run and effective and not driving our country to the poor house.

    The federal government has one main purpose and that is national defense and only whatever else the States by huge majority agree they have been given the power to do. They knew then what most foolish Americans today have yet to learn which is that a central government does nothing well and you do not give it power.

    You would be more able to feed the poor effectively if we kept 90% of what we pay in taxes.

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  24. The government does not do anything effectively or with a model that can be sustained.

    And yet we should completely trust that when the government rushes into a war that meets none of the criteria of Just War, they can be totally trusted to spend trillions on it wisely.

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  25. And yet we should completely trust that when the government rushes into a war that meets none of the criteria of Just War, they can be totally trusted to spend trillions on it wisely.

    Playwright David Mamet went from being a hippy who hated his government to being a conservative who, you guessed it, hated his government. As another blogger put it, "Who's doing donuts on the road to Damascus Dave?" The point being that liberals hate the Pentagon but love the Stated Department: Conservatives hate the State Department but love the Pentagon. If we ever got our heads screwed on right, we might actually be able to oppose the government.

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