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Old 1st September 2009, 01:03 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,636

Originally Posted by TheGiftOfLife View Post
Ron, can you please comment on if there is a difference between how we are to act individually to one another vs how a nation should act?

I know you apply the 3 fonts, but want to know if there is any distinction made individually VS nationally.

An example would be that if a person attacks you, you should not seek revenge. However, we know that a nation cannot allow itself to be attacked without retaliation, otherwise the nation would not exists or be under opression.

I feel there is a distinction in how the 2 behave.

I feel you cannot just apply, across the board, Christian concepts like "turn the other cheek", "be compasionate" etc when it comes to how nations act.

Setting that terrorist free was in no way, in my opinion, a Christian act.

Ron, is there documentation on how the vatican views the 2?

If a person attacks you, you can morally defend yourself. This is not revenge. Similarly, if a nation is attacked, they can defend themselves. The only difference is that you have a group of persons each making decisions about how to act, and they might make different decisions morally. One person might have the intention of self-defense, but another person might have different intention. One person might sin, and another might not.

But there is really no difference in the basics of morality.

Whether or not it was moral to set him free (setting aside the allegation that it was done to obtain an oil exploration deal) depends on the three fonts.

intention - if it was to show mercy to him and his family, this would be a moral intention

the act itself - showing clemency to a convicted criminal and mercy to his family has a good moral object

the circumstances, especially the consequences - faithful and reasonable Catholics can disagree as to how to evaluate the consequences of an act which has many different good and bad consequences. For this act, these include:

that he had only served a short sentence so far
that he was convicted of killing many persons
that there was some doubt as to his role in the bombings
that the families of those who would killed would suffer emotionally if he was released
the effect on the world political situation
that he was terminally ill
and other circumstances

My opinion is that he should not have been released, because the bad consequences outweigh the good; but it is a matter of opinion.

Now if the release was actually done in order to obtain an oil exploration deal, then it was not moral.
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
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