Order of Malta's minute with the catechism: the ends do not justify the means

There was an odd “minute” with the Catechism this weekend, Apr 29-30,2017.

To make a point, that the ends do not justify the means, the speaker used the example that fornication was not justified as a means of preventing the intentional death of someone.

Anybody else catch that one on EWTN radio?

I understand the principle of the end not justifying the means. But, intentional fornication versus intentional murder is not a comparison that Sister discussed when I was in the fifth grade in Catholic school.

This situation does not seem to be a good example of “ends” and “means” as much as it is a case of “door #1 evil” versus “door #2 evil” – and you must choose.

Or, do you agree with the Order of Malta on this one? i.e. no fornication, even if it means someone will be intentionally killed.

A good end does not justify an evil means. It applies in the situation you describe as much as in any other.

If, as I presume, the situation is that a third party is threatening to kill someone if you do not fornicate, the situation is even more clear-cut than usual, since the murder is entirely under the killer’s control rather than a direct result of your refusing to do evil.

That said, in the actual situation emotional duress would undoubtedly reduce or eliminate the culpability of someone faced with that choice,

What in the world are you referring to?

please re-read the first post. (I kid you not.)

“You cannot commit fornication” (the “means”)

to prevent an intentional murder (the “ends”)

Now, committing fornication has all kinds of problems with it, to be sure. But, the Order of Malta is saying that you cannot commit this forced fornication, even to prevent someone else from being murdered.

Unfortunately, avemariaradio.net does not have this “minute with the catechism” in their audio archive.

Usually, there are more straightforward examples of “means” and “ends”, such as this:

you can’t rob a bank to get money to feed the poor.

But, this past weekend the “means” was “committing fornication” to achieve the end, preventing some other person from being murdered.

yes, it is odd. That’s why I wanted to confirm this, with anyone who might have heard that broadcast.

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