Moral Theology Question - Osama Bin Laden and Abortion Doctors


Just so no one gets a wrong judgment on me, I am no extremist when it comes to seeking to do evil, only when seeking to love God and neighbor. Therefore, I post this sensitive question in hopes of getting a better understanding of moral theology, particularly civil law. I posted a similar question in the past and cannot find it as it might have been removed from the forum.

I am starting from the premise that the Church thought it just to kill Osama Bin Laden or others like him who were unable to be captured in order to prevent a greater evil. Please correct me if I am wrong for starting from the premise. This is just a guess.

**Since it may have been morally just to kill Osama Bin Laden why wouldn’t it be morally just to forcefully remove doctors from their practices and if they don’t comply, kill them? ** Obviously this is an extreme measure, but so was that of Osama Bin Laden, and this seems even more serious since more lives have and are being lost due to abortion doctors every single day. The abortion doctors actively murder children inside the womb and Osama Bin Laden seemed to actively seek to murder people outside the womb. I think I’ve heard it may be based on how the Church defines civil law. Noting the USA used civil law to protect many from being killed by Osama Bin Laden by killing him. The same cannot be said for the protection of the unborn children, but the polar opposite allowing for the murder of the unborn children.

It is interesting how the Presidents quote below seems to fit with my question.

“Justice has been done,” the president told the nation. He identified bin Laden as the leader of a global terrorist network “which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies.”

Read more:

I look forward to hearing how the Church teaches on such a situation. Thank you for your thoughts in advance!

God Bless You,

If you want to spend the rest of your life in prison then you can take the law into your own hands. That is the choice you face.

I have heard in the past people chaining themselves to cars and such to perhaps disrupt the abortion clinic and maybe saving one life that day. Prayer and sidewalk ministry seems one of the best ways to evangelize and help people, but my question is concerning moral theology.

Your guess is incorrect.

Hello, Do you have any idea where to find the answer to my question? I saw this from the link I posted earlier:

Msgr. Stuart Swetland, a professor of ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said he also opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arguing that “pre-emptive war did not meet the criteria of last resort” — exhaust every means possible to avoid war.

But he believes that the killing of bin Laden was morally justified, though he admitted that the scenes of mostly youthful jubilation at Ground Zero and the White House gave him pause.

“It’s important not to take delight in the death of another. In Ezekiel 33:11, we’re told to ‘take no pleasure in the death of the wicked,’” noted Msgr. Swetland, who was preparing for a class discussion on the killing of bin Laden.

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The Catechism.

1750 The morality of human acts depends on:

  • the object chosen;
  • the end in view or the intention;
  • the circumstances of the action.
    The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the “sources,” or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.

1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”). The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.

1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

It is important to note two things:

  1. A single moral theologian giving his opinion is not Church teaching.

  2. OBL was not killed because he could not be captured, i.e. assassinated. He was killed in self defense during an attempt to apprehend him. There is a moral difference, especially when fighting an enemy combatant in a military or civilian police capacity.

But, you asked about the general principle of simply assassinating people to prevent other evils. No, the Church would not deem that moral.

Ahhh thank you for helping me to understand. So it is about OBL being killed out of self defense of the Navy Seals (or whoever was trying to capture him)?

What about stopping genocide in foreign countries simply to prevent genocide, mass murder? Not sure if that is ever truly the case, being there is such a thing as politics. But if that was the case, is the USA or United Nations acting in defense when they kill others, to minimize the loss of life during a genocide?

If so, are they then doing an evil to bring about good?

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