[quote=Br. Rich SFO]The Scripture is not intended to be literal. It illustrates that we must remove or avoid all “things” that cause us to be tempted to sin.
I totally agree. Jesus was not making a case for revisionist moral theology.
You mistakenly frame the above passage from Mark 9 [43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, [/color]10 into the unquenchable fire…] as Jesus having a sinner choose between perpetuating in a pattern of sinful behavior [font=Arial]or choosing an action that is intrinsically evil (self-mutilation). Jesus is actually presenting the choice between the consequence of dying in unrepentant serious sin and taking the necessary measures to break with the occasion of sin. I believe that the point Jesus is making here is not to prescribe or condone or make a proportionalist rationale for choosing an intrinsic evil. Rather, pointing out the reality that given the choice between the consequence of dying in the state of serious sin (eternal damnation) versus decisively breaking with the mechanism/infrastructure that facilitates the occasion of sin; one should choose the latter. In the case that this would ultimately entail self-mutilation (last resort) to enable that person to break with the bondage of mortal sin, then, then I believe that Jesus is prescribing the choice between the lesser of two evils, which is morally permissible. Regardless, Jesus assuredly was not presenting the proportionalist principle of “proportionate good”; i.e., there is no proportionalist “loophole” for one to choose an evil (ex, contraception for “medical reasons”) that good may come of it. [/font]
[/font]I recall the hiker in some western USA state last summer whose arm became lodged in under a rock. He ultimately had to choose to amputate/sever his arm his to save his life. In this sense, this was not a case of self-mutilation, but self-amputation in service of saving his life – if you can see the analogy here.