Thursday, April 19, 2007

When is it permissible?

"Cafeteria" Catholics are defined as thos catholics who pick and choose which aspects of their religion they will adhere too. Often the "Cafeteria" is specifically applied to the liberal or progressive branch of the church typified by people like Alec Baldwin and John Kerry (etc...). Yet lately, Sean Hannity, a noted conservative has been accused as being a Cafeteria Catholic because he seems to support artificial contraception as a means of preventing the spread of diseases and a method of preventing abortions and for his support of Guiliani who is less than an ideal pro-life candidate.

In political matters the church has often sided with "progressive" policies such as loosening imigration laws and socializing the healthcare system. Ecclesiastical authority within the Catholic Church has sometimes leaned very far left politically, though the beat back of liberation theology has quelled a Marxist-Catholic movement.

The political wisdom of the church is not something which I feel is binding upon individual consciences. Certainly we have a duty to listen to and respect the opinion of church leaders, the true separation of church from state permits more dissent here than elsewhere.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the subject of Nuclear Weapons, the church, in the Catechism, has issued strong statements on the Morality of these weapons. I.e. a gun may or may not be evil depending on its use, but a nuclear weapon which can only kill indiscriminately is an evil weapon and its use is an evil act.

Is this a morally binding position?

2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

1 comment:

Xavier Martel said...

I've just picked up the compendium of the social doctrine of the church. I'm curious to see how agressively its tenets are stated. From Jesuits with a "preferential option for the poor" to the historic Fransican mission, there is a strong thrust of social action. While there can be some extent of disagreement, I think we have gotten far too cozy with the "conservative" American agenda. There is certainly a lot to be said for the free market and Scottish/Jewish/Presbyterian Capitalism as a political system, but as a moral system it's pretty crappy. Just a quick and undeveloped thought in response to your post...