End Justifying the Means and Lesser of Two Evils


#1

Is it always the case that the end does not justify the means (morally)? Is there ever a lesser of two evils option?

I ask this because I was talking with a (Christian) person who believes killing is always, always wrong. I think Biblically that position makes no sense. But what does the Catholic have in place to determine what is and isn't okay?

I've hear a thing that the end does not justify the means unless you have no option but to allow the lesser of two evils. But then, going by that, in the case of an abortion when you're only options are to save the child or let the child die would you be obliged to kill the abortion doctor (something which is obviously wrong)?

I know you shouldn't kill the doctor (at least, I never would), but I'm just thinking about what system there is to determine what is right in different situations...

Thanks!
ClemtheCatholic


#2

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
Is it always the case that the end does not justify the means (morally)?

[/quote]

No - so long as the means are moral and the desired end is moral then there is no problem.
However - immoral means are to be avoided - even if the intended end is some moral good.

Is there ever a lesser of two evils option?

Yes there are always such options...But there is also generally a "good" option available...Much depends on how one wishes to look at things.

For example...If one can only save a (corporeal) life by choosing some evil one can still choose a good even if corporeal death is the consequence...This can be done if one has faith in the mercy and justice of God and a firm belief in the afterlife...

I ask this because I was talking with a (Christian) person who believes killing is always, always wrong. I think Biblically that position makes no sense. But what does the Catholic have in place to determine what is and isn't okay?

I don't have time to look it up now but the Catechism has some things on this...I'm sure others will provide the links...

I've heard a thing that the end does not justify the means unless you have no option but to allow the lesser of two evils. But then, going by that, in the case of an abortion when you're only options are to save the child or let the child die would you be obliged to kill the abortion doctor (something which is obviously wrong)?

There is never a case where it is necessary to "let the child die". Every effort can and should be made to save both the mother and the child. If one or the other dies in spite of such efforts...then no abortion has occurred...It is the intent that makes the difference.

I know you shouldn't kill the doctor (at least, I never would), but I'm just thinking about what system there is to determine what is right in different situations...

Whatever "rules" there are governing various situations...the foundation will always be to choose the most loving option possible in a given situation.

Thanks!
ClemtheCatholic

You are welcome

Peace
James


#3

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
. But then, going by that, in the case of an abortion when you're only options are to save the child or let the child die would you be obliged to kill the abortion doctor (something which is obviously wrong)?

[/quote]

In that particular case, it is a no brainer, just don't go to the abortion clinic. However, if the abortion doctor (and I use the word doctor lightly because no real doctor would perform an abortion but that is another post) goes after the pregnant woman to trap her and force an abortion on her, it is OK to use force to refrain the abortionist. If things get heated to the point that in the split second, one isn't thinking straight and kills the abortionist, it is not pre-meditated and therefore, not a moral sin

Angie


#4

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
Is it always the case that the end does not justify the means (morally)?

[/quote]

Yes, this is always the case.

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
Is there ever a lesser of two evils option?

[/quote]

Only if by "evils" you are really referring to choices between two morally good or morally neutral items where prudential judgment can determine the best course. If either or both options are intrinsically evil, they may not be chosen.

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
I ask this because I was talking with a (Christian) person who believes killing is always, always wrong. I think Biblically that position makes no sense. But what does the Catholic have in place to determine what is and isn't okay?

[/quote]

Catholics have the teachings of the Church, particularly as summarized in the Catechism.

Your friend would have to explain their position, and you would have to explain yours too, in order for me to comment further on the above.

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]
I've hear a thing that the end does not justify the means unless you have no option but to allow the lesser of two evils.

[/quote]

that is not correct

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:335211"]

But then, going by that, in the case of an abortion when you're only options are to save the child or let the child die would you be obliged to kill the abortion doctor (something which is obviously wrong)?

[/quote]

I know you shouldn't kill the doctor (at least, I never would), but I'm just thinking about what system there is to determine what is right in different situations...

Thanks!
ClemtheCatholic

Well fortunately you have the Church's teaching through the bishops.


#5

To clarify my position: I, as a faithful Catholic, am 100% with the Church's teachings on this. :)

Thanks for all the replies so far!


#6

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