No one is permitted to ask
Eric has an excellent post on Catholic casuistry, compassion, and authority today. It’s a bit like Google Earth, examining this subject – we get closer and closer and closer. The closer we get, the more ridiculous Karen Armstrong’s claim that compassion is central becomes. Compassion is not only not central, it’s nowhere. Compassion is beside the point altogether.
Ronald Conte, as I pointed out yesterday, simply says what the rules are, over and over again, and quotes popes also saying what the rules are. He quotes JP2 saying what they are:
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral…
The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law…
Authority and obedience are the issue here, not compassion, not the needs and sorrows of the pregnant woman and her four young children, but the authority of an imaginary god and that imaginary god’s putative representatives.
In the same passage, the pope said something perhaps even more chilling:
Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly…
No matter what the torture, no matter how certain the end, no one is permitted to request escape. We’re not even allowed to ask. This is the demand for absolute authority run totally amok.
I saw the start of some adventure or espionage movie on tv not long ago – I didn’t watch the rest and don’t know what it was, but the opening was striking: a father and his daughter and son were mountain climbing, the father lowest down on the rope; he fell and pulled the other two off with him, and then the pitons started to pull out of the rock. The drop was huge, survival impossible – but the younger two could almost reach a hold – but not quite. The father cut the rope above his head while the daughter and son screamed at him “No no no no don’t!”
Was that “immoral”? Please.