Friday, April 17, 2009

Catholic Basics--Moral Issues of Life and Death 3

As promised, I am following up my answers about pro-life issues with excerpts from Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft. This is the book I read that cleared up many of my objections to Catholic teachings. The excerpts for this series began here.

I must stress that this book does not substitute for the Catechism and is best read as an accompaniment to it. Also, I must stress that this book is best read from the beginning as Kreeft, in following the Catechism, provides a logical construct for the reason the Church's teachings exist. That is just precisely the Catechism does, but this book is somewhat easier to understand, especially in its application to specific examples of modern life and the faith. Although this section necessarily addresses other issues such as capital punishment, euthanasia, suicide and more, I will be focusing primarily on abortion and the right to life.
4. The basic principle of Catholic ethics of human life
Persons are not things, objects of manipulation and control and design, to be judged by some other, higher standard than persons. There is no higher standard – God himself is personal (“I AM”). Persons are subjects, I’s. They are subjects of rights.They are not to be judged as worth more or less on some abstract, impersonal scale of health, intelligence,physical power, or length of life. Each life, each individual, each human being is unique, and each is equally and infinitely precious. That is the root of Catholic morality on all issues of human life.

5. Christ and the fifth Commandment

Instead of shrinking the fifth Commandment, as the modern “quality of life” ethic does, Christ expanded it. “In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment ‘You shall not kill,’ (Mt 5:21.) and adds to it the proscription against anger, hatred, and vengeance [Mt 5:21-22]. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies. (Cf. Mt 5:22-39; 5:44) He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath” (Cf. Mt 26:52.).
Coming next, sins against the fifth commandment.

(Note: you can also find the book as a series of pdfs or podcasts here. My series of excerpts would be found in Lesson 27.)

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