I was reading the other day about those wack-jobs who kill abortionists. I, being a Christian, thought to myself, there is a grave moral injustice being done here, how can I as a mortal man bring greater attention to and aid in the destruction of this injustice without violence? Then it came to me. I remembered how Mahatma Gandhi used to fast in order to stop Hindu-Muslim violence in India. To stop the madness, he would place himself in harm’s way. Could we, as Catholics, enact the same methods in the war against sin and evil? Could we conduct a major fast unto death to combat abortion? It would probably raise much media attention, and the government would have to do something to try and stop us. The only question I have is whether or not fasting unto death would be suicide. If it is suicide, then we could not do it. What do you say?
Ultimately, though, you can’t do evil so good can come from it. I.e., ends do not justify means. Starving yourself would be suicide, plus I doubt that the pro-death crowd would readily work to overturn abortion laws because some Christians are in danger. So it would not even work.
I have this very dim perception though, that it could somehow tie in as martyrdom. I imagine many martyrs had the chance to run and escape from martyrdom, but they chose not to. They chose to publicly die for a cause, to raise awareness of the Christian message. Also, I think it would work. If you churn up the emotions of enough people, the government would have to respond. They either ignore you and your plea, you die, and they look like ruthless uncaring monsters, or, you win.
We are to protect and cherish ALL life. By putting your own life in harm to “prove a point” does not follow this Catholic teaching. So the answer is “No” we can NOT enact the same practises.
One should never take on severe spiritual disciplines or penances like that without some help and advice from a spiritual director.
It is suicide. There is difference between a martyr and a protester. The martyr chose Christ and for this others killed him. The fasting one chose to kill himself; no one tells him “hey, pro abortion or you will be killed.”
I vaguely recall reading a headline recently about a bishop who was on a hunger strike and I thought that the Vatican requested that he end it but I’m not sure…
Searching the Internet today, I found a news story about Bishop Dom Luiz Cappio of Brazil who was on a hunger strike (to death, if necessary,) last month in order to stop some sort of river project there and he apparently had the support of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops. So, it seems, that, in principle, it is not sinful to fast to death for a just cause. By the way, the bishop’s fast lasted more than twenty days and ended when the river project was stopped.
no it is never right to do evil for a good end and yes it would be suicide (and extremely ineffective as a political tactic).
Did the Bishop say he would go on strike until he died? His motivation might just be going on hunger strike but not until his death.
Right… it’s not like God would become man and deliberately place himself in harms way to suffer an excruciating death at the hands of ruthless men to save humanity or anything like that.
We should get fat and die happy because our mothers carried us to term…
I think that it is a great idea, Noah.
Well, I think that twenty days is close enough. If I went two weeks without food, I would expect death to firmly hold me in its grasp.
Hey, we have hunger strikers down in Guantanamo. We strap those dudes to a chair, put a tube down their throat via a nostril and pump in huge gobs of liquid diet stuff. They did it to me when I was in a twelve day induced coma. You can’t even taste, let alone enjoy the chocolate flavor, or the vanilla or strawberry for that matter. Doesn’t matter. When I am awake I hate those liquid diet products even when I can taste them.
Had a major heart attack. My wife said I had more than 14 different tubes entering my body including a ventilator down my throat. To prevent my disturbing them they put me in a drug induced coma. They started weaning me off the vent on the 11th day. My first concious memory was of this tube down my nostril and a nurse pumping a huge syringe of chocolate diet liquid into it. They had been feeding me that way for the ten days I was out.
On the third day they were going to surgically repair a valve that was failing with 75% of the blood going the wrong way. The evening before my daughter asked Father Solanus Casey to intercede for me so that I would not need the surgery. They wheeled me down fore surgery the next morning and ran an esophageal echogram before starting. The valve had repaired itself so that only 10% was going the wrong way. Surgeon said that amounted to only a minor heart murmur and there was no way he would operate on anyone for that. They put in a pacemaker after that. That was over four years ago now. I had to relearn how to walk, but I am still here and able to get around to go to Mass, instruct in RCIA, grocery shop, exercise at the Y etc.
It would not stop abortion. The pro-death crowd hate most christians and espesially catholics and they would laugh and mock at us if we tried to do such a thing…
Fasting to death would be suicide and a grave mortal sin
However I definatly suggest doing a regular fast for the unborn and the aborted. And much prayer…
I think one great way, would be to open an alternative clinic right next to every abortion clinic in the US… many abortion clinics have actually shut down because of things like this and it really is a great idea.
Why aren’t Catholics commanded to get out of harm’s way when enemies plan to kill them? They are permitted to lay down their lives by going to a dangerous place and beginning to preach, and they aren’t required to run away or fight back when someone comes at them with a sword. Jesus also laid down his life purposefully, which is like “godly suicide” for the sake of others.
Are you forgetting we are dealing with people who think its good to suck a babies brains out after its born?
These people are on a same level as the Amorites. There was a reason God told the Jews to slay them all and not spare one, because they were so evil and twisted that they were beyond the capability of recognizing right and wrong and there was no hope for them.
The Fathers clearly forbid ANY asceticism that damages one’s health or endangers one’s life.
Fasting to death would be suicide. Accidentally allowing oneself to die as a result of overzealous fasting wouldn’t necessarily be sinful, but here we aren’t talking about neglecting the concerns of one’s health while fasting. Here we’re talking about death as an intended part of the process. It’s not the same as even going where one knows they’ll shoot him. It’s simply engaging in some activities, performed on one’s body, which naturally lead to death. Can’t define else than suicide.
Yes we are required to run away or fight back, if doing so gives us a realistic chance of survival, when someone comes at us with a sword:
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.
Putting yourself in a dangerous situation for Christ is not the same thing as just letting someone kill you. We have a duty to defend our own life - it’s God’s to take and not anyone else’s. The martyrs didn’t just throw their lives away as if they had no value, they were martyrs because of the immense value they placed on life. They only gave up their lives when they were forced to choose between denying Christ or being murdered. The great majority of us, God willing, will not face this situation and we should never purposely put ourselves in such a situation.