Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cardinal Martini (Pal of Rembert) Seeks Friends in MSM

UPDATED: This from LifeSite News:

In the largest and most obvious break with Church teaching, the Cardinal refers to legal abortion as "positive" so far as it has "contributed to reducing and eliminating illegal abortions".

This makes the discussion below almost frivolous.

Cdl. Martini, S.J., who got up to (what, 10?? 15??) votes in the last Papal conclave, definitely misses the spotlight after retirement from his post at Milan. So he emulates X42, mutatis mutandis, and mis-characterizes moral theology. If nothing else, he'll have press lapdogs following him around when Rembert Weakland, OSB, is not visiting.

The key to understanding the Cardinal's mis-understanding is near the end of the story:

However, he acknowledged that in abortion, there were cases when the life of the mother was at risk where abortion might be considered the "lesser evil."

"In such cases, it seems that moral theology has always supported the principle of the legitimate defense and the lesser evil, even if it concerns a reality that shows the dramatic and fragility of the human condition," he said.

Assuming that the quotations are accurate and complete, Martini clearly avoided the Thomistic language of "double effect," and instead chose language which utilizes "proportionalism," condemned by John Paul II.

The Church's teaching on "life-of-the-mother" abortions (utilized for tubal pregnancies, e.g.) has always been phrased using the principle of double effect--where the action and the intention of acting has the effect of defending the mother's life; and a secondary, but un-intended effect is the loss of the life of the unborn child.

This formulation places the moral onus exactly where it belongs: on the actor.

In contrast, utilizing "lesser evil" language moves the emphasis away from the actor and instead places the emphasis on the act, allowing for a "proportional" assessment of the act, which can easily become subjective, rather than objective judgment.

It should also be mentioned that the Cardinal (or the reporter) has deliberately chosen a "hard case:"

"There's also the unique situation of a married couple, one of whom is afflicted with AIDS. That one is obliged to protect the other, and the other must be able to protect him or herself," the cardinal said.

...and has avoided discussion of the clinical reality; it is clear from the evidence that chastity DOES work in those African countries where it has been tried.

Martini went on:

In the wide-ranging interview, Martini also suggested that even single women could be implanted with frozen embryos if the alternative is letting the embryos die. Church teaching holds that all procreation must take place within marriage; the Vatican also opposes many assisted fertility procedures.

Perhaps it is just co-incidence that this followed Benedict XVI's condemnation of the West's increasingly clear desire to destroy the family (delivered at the Stations of the Cross a week ago Friday,) but we doubt it.

What Martini suggests here is that one can remedy an immoral act (the creation of a human being outside of marriage) by another act which is morally questionable and which is inherently opposed to right order: single parenthood. His solution "feels good." But it's not right.

The Cardinal has chosen his friends.

1 comment:

harry said...

Well said. Another point. My understnmading is that condoms cannot prevent the spread of AIDs or HIV. Am I correct?