Is it sin for an undercover officer to murder as part of job?

This is a purely hypothetical question, as I have been watching “Donnie Brasco,” a movie about an FBI agent who went undercover in the mafia. Suppose an undercover agent is Catholic. His mafia superior gives him an order to kill a person. To maintain his cover, the agent kills said person. Has the agent sinned? I understand the concept of not doing evil so that good may come of it, but is it different since this agent’s act is sanctioned by the government in his capacity as law enforcement?

I am interested in your thoughts! Friday night entertainment …

No law enforcement organisation would ever sanction the commission of murder by an agent. They would terminate the operation before it came to that. The mere fact of the order being given would be enough for any law enforcement purposes, and law enforcement are there to prevent murder, not commit or tolerate the commission of it.

So it’s like asking if a circle can ever be a square.

Having said that - it is not OK to do something that is immoral (and murder - the killing of innocents - is always immoral) merely because an employer or the law orders you to. We are to resist laws that require us to sin, and likewise we must resist orders from employers that require us to sin.

In the real-life Donnie Brasco operation, the FBI terminated the operation when Agent Piscone was ordered to do the hit. That makes good sense (which is seldom for the government!).

Well, I don’t think it takes an enormous amount of sense to figure out that for the FBI to allow an agent to commit murder for any reason is just a really really bad idea. Bad PR for the FBI, bad for the mental health of the agent, doesn’t achieve anything useful from a law enforcement perspective.

Both the person who takes innocent life and the ones who sanction it sin. No doubt about it.

At any rate,…it’s a great movie :wink: def not fugazi :thumbsup:

So, what about Osama Bin Laden? I know he wasn’t innocent but I don’t think the intention was to bring him in alive, just wondering.

He was far from innocent and it wasn’t a law enforcement operation, rather a covert military thing undertaken by SEALS from memory, not FBI.

And I do have some moral reservations about it regardless - al Qaeda haven’t exactly shrivelled away and died with his death, after all. Did anyone realistically think it would?

First of all, I like to say, “First of all”.

Secondly, I don’t have a bunker in my yard nor do I think the entire government is evil. However, I find the statement that, “No law enforcement organisation would ever sanction the commission of murder by an agent.”, to be incredibly naive. I’m fairly sure the government has wrongly participated in their fair share of evil. The lesson of “the ends don’t justify the means” is one often forgotten.

By ‘sanction’ I mean do so by means of a direct and unequivocal formal order, and by ‘government’ you clearly cannot just mean ‘law enforcement’. I certainly don’t. Military personnel or spies, for example, are not law enforcement or interchangeable with the FBI.

Sure, spies and soldiers (and yes, even FBI agents) will get up to morally dubious and even repugnant activities, but I am highly sceptical that any FBI agent would be given a direct formal order from a superior to kill an innocent. That would be beyond dumb.

First of all, I still like saying, “First of all”.

Secondly, define innocent. While there might not be a direct formal order, what about an implied order? If they had undertaken this morally reprehensible act, what makes you think you would know about it? You would never have a clue about the things Nixon did if the Watergate burglars had not been caught. You wouldn’t know about Iran-Contra if it hadn’t been for a plane crash. Do you really think every wrong plot has been foiled by ineptitude?

I respectfully agree to disagree.

I never said anything about an indirect or implied order. Such orders are given precisely because they do not constitute sanctioning - official approval - of the act so ordered. The reason an indirect or implied order would be given would be if the action the government or whoever wanted done but could NOT officially approve of.

This is getting way off topic anyway - the point is, direct or indirect or implied, we cannot obey any sort of order or directive, whether work related or legally required or not, that requires sinful behaviour. Killing an innocent is always sinful and no type of order to the contrary would make it I sinful or would enable us in good conscience to obey.

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