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Old May 1, '12, 1:29 pm
TruthseekerGR TruthseekerGR is offline
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Join Date: May 1, 2012
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Religion: Catholic
Default Prudence and Sharing Truth

My question relates to a very important virtue that I often struggle with: prudence, or "right reason in the realm of action". Oftentimes, especially when it comes to controversial matters, I am unsure how far I need to go in "sharing the Truth". I will give two recent examples of situations I was in and would appreciate any thoughts on what the moral thing for me to do would be.

1. I just finished taking a college religion class on the New Testament and on the last day of class, which was almost two weeks ago (we had the final last week), we discussed New Testament ethics. Our professor divided us up into groups of about four people to discuss some controversial ethical matter. I was with two close friends and one person who I know but am definitely not close with, although he seems like a nice person. We discussed the morality of donating embryos left-over from IVF to medical research. I said I was against both IVF and experiments that destroy embryos, but the person who I know but not super well said he thought it would be ok to use the embryos for research. He proceeded to use the twinning argument to deny the personhood of the early embryo. I have to admit that I was unprepared to debate the issue and did not do a good job making the case that embryos have rights, though I tried. At best, I made a fair case that the twinning objection was not an absolute defeater to my position. This person I was conversing with is two years older than myself and a biology major (unlike myself), and so it is a little difficult for me to discuss these issues with him. But I am worried because he is planning on becoming a doctor and could thus have influence on these matters of life and death. I am also not likely to see him again anytime soon, however, in the age of the internet, I feel like new moral questions are raised. I will certainly be praying for him, but do I have an obligation to try to send him information defending the rights of the embryo? Perhaps through facebook? That would be rather awkward, but I have considered temporarily adding him to our school's pro-life email list and sending out an email about articles defending embryos like from this site:
That way he wouldn't feel like I was specifically targeting him since I don't know him that well, but he might also be less likely to read an email than a facebook message, especially since he has graduated now and will not use his same email much longer. Any thoughts?

2. I also recently completed a humanities course taught by a very nice but also protestant professor. She made some erroneous claims in class that could misrepresent Catholic doctrine to the many nonCatholics in the class. For example, she said infant Baptism started in the eleventh century. After class that day, I went up to her and had a very respectful and pleasant conversation with her about how one could reconcile such a claim with the writings of St. Augustine, although I feel the conversation may have been unfruitful. A few classes later, she may have said some things that while not necessarily erroneous could misrepresent the Church's Marianism to her protestant students and confirm them in their beliefs against Catholicism. I decided not to go up and talk with her about it after class, since she did not make any blatant errors like with the infant Baptism claim. But this course is taken at some point by almost all the students in the school, and so I am worried that lack of clarity on such an important matter could have widespread bad effects. Did I have an obligation to talk with her and suggest that she be careful in how she presents these things?, very respectfully of course.

I would appreciate any suggestions on the nature of my (or any person's) moral obligations in these situations. If I have left out any morally relevant information, please let me know as well. Thank you so much and may God bless!
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