As I contemplate the spectacle of the comments…

As I contemplate the spectacle of the comments… July 26, 2012

to this thread, particularly the conversation between Zippy and Mr. Lutas here in which Mr. Lutas advocates the “Brutal Advocacy of Mortal Sin Posing as Realism” position and attempts to sneer Zippy out of the “Catholic Moral Teaching for Time Immemorial” position by calling him a “fake Catholic” and generally questioning his integrity and testicular fortitude for saying, as the Church has always said, that you cannot deliberately killing innocent human beings. It is, as I note there, like watching moral theology being done with a meat cleaver and relies in a number of fallacies, strategies of intimidation and rhetorical strategies that, while not at all persuasive, are demonstrative of the parlous state of a lot of American conservative Catholic moral thinking under the toxic sway of consequentialism. Zippy holds his own, so I won’t gild that lily. But I will add a couple of links of my own simply because I am interested in the curious psychology that seems to consistently inform advocacy of grave intrinsic evil: namely, the tendency to call such advocacy “courage”, and the strange love such “realism” has for clinging to fantasy scenarios (such as, in this case, the fantasy scenario of “knowing” what would have happened had we not chosen to murder tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children).

In contrast, reader Secret Agent Man actually attempts to answer the question of What Else Might We have Done in good faith and acknowledges that there were, in fact, alternatives to deliberately murdering children in their beds. Eisenhower agreed:

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude.. “

Bottom line: I believe it is extremely dangerous (and may even be gravely sinful) to advocate the position that God makes gravely sinful acts “necessary”. I see no difference between that and saying God is evil and the author of sin.  That may satisfy a Calvinist or a Manichaean. But it is blasphemous for a Catholic. I think Zippy is simply right to say:

If I may, I suggest that folks pray a novena to St. Stephen specifically over the question of how unequivocally we are to call good good and evil evil. Folks really need to get their heads on straight about what the example of the martyrs represents.

And I’ll remind everyone that the Catechism explicitly requires “unequivocal condemnation” in this case. It isn’t enough to merely concede that the Hiroshima bombing was immoral: faithful Catholics are required to unequivocally condemn such actions. This is similar to the discomfort many Catholics on the political Left may feel upon reading Evangelium Vitae: it isn’t enough to concede that abortion is immoral: it must also be made illegal, and it is also immoral to participate in any propaganda against making abortion illegal.

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