Foreseen but unintended


Have you considered a possibility that there is something wrong with your beliefs and not with Catholicism? :slight_smile:

So, you claim (without an argument, but with great conviction) that everything depends on results.

In that case, what are the results of your approach here?

For that matter, if I remember correctly, mostly the same approach has been tried by other accounts: “Hee_Zen”, “Pallas_Athene”, “Vera_Ljuba”… You can look for results of that approach there as well.

I’m afraid that it mostly brings frustration to the one using this approach…

And sure, it makes atheism look bad - but I doubt you are going to claim that as a great result. :slight_smile:

So, I guess you never tried to do any significant work with a serious legal document where terms have to be defined precisely…

Oh, I am sure that you think so. It’s just that all available evidence indicates otherwise.

Anyway, once again - thinking you do have a lot to learn is far more fun. Accept that and don’t be so frustrated. :slight_smile:


Almost exactly my opinion. One minor difference: whether he would gladly give the bread is irrelevant.

Darklight’s answer is the same as mine would have been.

Hilarious! Let’s introduce some other word, like “acquiring”, or “five finger discount”. This is exactly the kind of “redefinition” I was talking about. Theft is taking someone else’s property without permission. And I DO understand the definition presented in the CCC, I simply disagree with it. Especially since it neglects to define what “unjust” taking might be. As with any physical act, “taking” is intrinsically neutral. Only the “surroundings” make it moral or not.

Sorry, can’t agree that it is just semantics. It tries (or attempts, or desires) to muddy the waters. Regarding the example you used, it is the fact that caring for your father is much more important than a soccer game justifies your choice. There is no need for bringing up the “double effect” or “foreseen but unintended”.

Secrecy is not the point. You forget the principle: “all else being equal”. These generic principles are supposed to be “generic” : faceless participants.

But let’s suppose that by killing one person you can save two or more. The higher the number of that “more”, the easier it is choose the “killing one” scenario. Just like in the other thread where the question was to kill the one person infected by the deadly virus who would unknowingly and unwittingly infect millions of others.

Don’t exaggerate. I merely disagree with some of the church’s positions.


What is it you actually want of a Catholic forum?
We finally get it you simply dont agree with the Church’s definition of stealing.
For some reason you expect us to start debating with you according to your definition which clearly isnt going to happen on a Catholic forum.

And you say we are hilarious?
You further say the Catholic Church has changed the meaning of stealing…rather than reflect whether colloquial modern usage and your own assimilation of that is actually responsible.

You can agree with Darklight, but as he understands the Church’s use/definition of the word stealing as erroneously as you do I really do not know what your defence actually is.

You are to date stabbing but paper tigers.

When you are prepared to use our definition and more clearly state your objections to it maybe there will be something more meaty to discuss here.


I agree that using precise definitions that are clear is a good thing. I think, however, that when we use specialized definitions that run counter to the language, we communicate badly. The Church is infallible in its teachings, not in its definitions of terms. That said, we must have terms capable of describing the truth, and the Church’s terms are so capable.

To say that it is not stealing to take the nuclear weapon from an evil dictator is simply stretching the language beyond its capacity. I don’t think it’s helpful for communicating the truth.


Okay, Scowler, you don’t agree with the Church. Not much point in discussing it.


That is not the question I asked. The question I asked is about proportionality. Do you consistently follow the rule of proportionality, or not? Would you kill someone in order to create a marginal benefit – NOT another person’s survival? If not, what do YOU use to create exceptions? What is your approach to ethics?


This is actually part of pretty much every secular ethical system as well. There’s a couple of major differences with the book:

(1) The big one is that there’s a major difference between things that are punished by the state, and things that are morally bad. There are and will always be things that are not morally good but are not punished. This is how it should be.

(2) 1984 thoughtcrime is based solely on loyalty to the party. It seeks no good to anyone (the party is not really an “anyone”). The goal of such is mere power, as opposed to true goods such as knowledge and love.

Think about it this way - would you prefer to be with someone who did everything they could for your welfare, but secretly despised you? Or would you prefer someone who made some mistakes but genuinely loved you?


Punishing someone for his thoughts is part of every secular ethical system? What do you have in mind?

The thought crime in religion is based upon the loyalty (obedience) to God.

Since the only way to find out if someone loves me is to observe his actions, my conclusion is that the one who does “everything” for my welfare, is the one who loves me. His thoughts are hidden and inaccessible - and as such they are irrelevant. “Matthew 7:16 - By their fruits you shall know them”.

My ethical system is not “simple”. It takes proportionality into consideration, along with utilitarianism. Actually I consider ALL the aspects of a deed, not just one. I sympathize with your effort to force me into a corner - but as soon you start to talk about specific scenarios, they need to be “fleshed out”.

I am curious if your system can have a secular (rational) foundation to it. I don’t disagree just for the fun of it, if you can substantiate it on rational grounds, too, that would fine. Sometimes we might arrive at the same conclusion coming from different points of view.


You’re failing to separate “what is punished by an outside source” versus “what is moral.” That’s a huge presupposition. In fact what would or would not be moral would be exactly the same even if there were no punishment at all for anything.

It…really isn’t. I’m not even sure to start with this one except to say that you must be talking about a different system than the Catholic one.


In my ethical system it would always be horrendously immoral to punish anyone for their thoughts.


Do you accept or not accept that something can be immoral even if there is no punishment whatsoever for it?


What else does it take into account, besides utilitarianism? I am familiar with nothing that you CAN take into account, aside from internal factors like intent and the like. Generally, ethical theories either focus on consequences or on internal states. There are tons of different forms of utilitarianism, but I don’t know of any non-utilitarian theories that do not focus on internal states like virtues or intentions.


Of course I do. Legality and morality have nothing to do with each other.

In the Catholic moral system fornication is immoral, and yet there is no punishment for it. Of course there is nothing immoral about it in MY ethical system. On the other hand in MY ethical system it is immoral to brainwash children and teach them that masturbation is “immoral”. You see nothing problematic about it, even though it results in many physical and psychological problems for the children.


Then I really don’t get the whole “thoughtcrime” thing you’ve got going. No one is suggestion that you ought to be legally punished for your thoughts. We’re saying acting from certain motivations can be immoral. But like you said, legality and morality have nothing to do with each other.


Some people apply the principle of double effect to places where it doesn’t apply.

Stealing is not a principle of double effect. That’s a different moral issue.

A good example of double effect is saving the life of a pregnant mother.
– Let’s say a mother is 3 months pregnant and is having complications. The only way to save the mother’s life is to remove the uterus. If the uterus and child are not removed, both the mother and child will die. So the doctor carefully removes the child and the uterus to save the mother. Even though the baby will not be able to live on his/her own outside the mother’s womb, the doctor carefully removes the child without killing the baby. After birth, the child dies because he/she is no longer inside the mother. This scenario is not an abortion because the doctor did not directly kill the baby. The baby died from being removed from the mother (who was the life support system for the baby).

– Another example: mother is 6 months pregnant and is having complications – the doctor does everything possible to save both, but the baby dies from unintended complications due to the doctor’s choice.

– Example 3: mother is 9 months pregnant and is having complications – the doctor does everything possible to save both, but the mother dies from unintended complications due to the doctor’s choice.

– in all of the situations, the doctor was not purposefully trying to terminate a life. The doctor’s intent was to do everything possible to save one or both and to do no harm.

The Catholic principle of double effect come from the Natural Law, from philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. And obviously Plato and Aristotle were not Christians, but their philosophies are a foundation of the Catholic understanding of Natural Law.


“Whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” And adultery is a mortal sin, which is punished by eternal damnation… Need I say any more?

Actions are not the same as thoughts.


In all of these examples the saving of the mother’s life is sufficient justification for the death of the fetus / embryo. There is no need for bringing up any “double effect”.

This “natural law” is not accepted.


No. But it does matter why one is doing the action.

Step back from all this. Much of catholic moral thought is based on virtue ethics, which is a significantly older system and not specifically religious. The main idea behind virtue ethics is to be the best person you can by developing virtues such as kindness, courage, honesty, and the like. The reason here is that someone who has the will and desire to do an immoral act, but doesn’t actually have the opportunity to commit that act, is no better morally than the person who does that act. If I would steal a diamond ring, but no one leaves any where I can get to, I’m not any better morally than a thief. Also, someone who is genuinely kind and honest and brave is going to act in morally appropriate ways in many more circumstances proportional to how hard those circumstances are.


But that is what the Catholic understanding of double effect is. And the Natural Law comes from Classical Philosophy, not Theology.


Well put.
I think the context here, especially dealing with non or ex-Catholics on, afterall, a Catholic moral theology forum, we need to get beyond colloquial approximations - especially when interlocuters are nay-saying Church Teaching simply on the basis they don’t really understand the terminology.

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