CatholicPlanet.Net discussion group  

Go Back   CatholicPlanet.Net discussion group > Catholicism > News and Politics
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 21st August 2009, 12:01 PM
Paul Bellett Paul Bellett is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 534
Default Compassion shown to those perceived as enemies

Barack Obama attacks decision to free Lockerbie bomber

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/au...se-libya-obama

Personally I feel that releasing the jailed Libyan was certainly the right thing to do, notwithstanding his appeal that he has always claimed his innocence in not committing this horrendous crime.
The fact he has terminally ill cancer, and has only a few months left to live was why he was released on compassionate grounds. This demonstates to me that the Scottish justice system has shown signs of christian charity i.e. forgiveness to the Libyan which the 'US president' has a difficulty in trying to grasp with.
For some it is a very hard lesson to learn from Our Lord Jesus regarding "Loving your Enemies".
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 21st August 2009, 01:36 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,592
Default

It is not intrinsically evil to show clemency to someone convicted of a serious crime, so the second font is good.

The first font of intention, of the one man who made the decision, seems to be the good intention of showing mercy to this man and his family.

However, the third font of morality must also be good for an act to be moral. If the bad consequences outweigh the good, then the act is immoral.

It can be difficult in complex cases to determine the moral weight of the consequences. In this case, there is the good consequence to this man's family. But there is the bad consequence to the families of the many victims.

Also, it would not be intrinsically evil to keep the man in prison despite a terminal illness, since his sentence was life imprisonment, i.e. to be in prison until death. So the sentence included dying in prison.
__________________
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 21st August 2009, 10:15 PM
Paul Bellett Paul Bellett is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 534
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
Also, it would not be intrinsically evil to keep the man in prison despite a terminal illness, since his sentence was life imprisonment, i.e. to be in prison until death. So the sentence included dying in prison.

At Mass it is said, "Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, you bless them and make them holy.

If one ignored the plight of this prisoner then dying in prison was what he truly deserved! In other words God does not have to answer our pleas.
Lets say, if we were in the position of the prisoner then, we have to rely on the discretion of God to whatever His will is for us.
I suppose virtues of love and humility, coupled with sincere repentance makes it easier for us to conform to His will.
As you say, by definition of the morality font then it would not be intrinsically evil to allow this prisoner to die in prison.
However I believe we must also take into account God's mercy and love, in certain situations because we are truly sinners, otherwise it would be pointless with what was being said at Mass.
This is where it becomes a bit more complex, and not all circumstances can be seen as either black or white. The teaching on the fonts of morality certainly helps in the majority of cases, but there could be many shades of gray in between, for tricky situations.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21st August 2009, 11:05 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,592
Default

No. The three fonts of morality govern the morality of all knowingly chosen acts. There is no Church teaching that allows for gray areas or exceptions to the moral law.

Faithful Catholics might disagree as to the evaluation of the good and bad consequences of a good act (an act that is not intrinsically evil) done with good intent. But there is no exception to the moral law.
__________________
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 30th August 2009, 12:18 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,592
Default

In some circumstances, it may be moral to show compassion for a convicted criminal and grant him leniency. It depends on the intention and the good and bad consequences of the act.

But if this claim is true, the release was gravely immoral:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,...est=latestnews

They are saying that he was released as part of a deal between the British gov. and Libya in order to secure a multi-million dollar oil exploration deal.
__________________
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 31st August 2009, 04:32 AM
Lazarus Lazarus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 180
Question I do agree but ...

Yes, I do feel compassionate about giving pardon for those terminally ill criminals. But I had a change of opinion when I heard the arguments presented by those against such pardon: A convict may be physically incapacitated but he can still pull a trigger ... or that he may still be able to give a command to act on his behalf!

Uh oh, what about that? (I'm talking about in general and not particularly about this airline bombing incident ... just my 2cents opinion.)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 31st August 2009, 12:39 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,592
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
Yes, I do feel compassionate about giving pardon for those terminally ill criminals. But I had a change of opinion when I heard the arguments presented by those against such pardon: A convict may be physically incapacitated but he can still pull a trigger ... or that he may still be able to give a command to act on his behalf!

Uh oh, what about that? (I'm talking about in general and not particularly about this airline bombing incident ... just my 2cents opinion.)
speaking in general:
This type of moral decision is based on the consequences (third font of morality). The intention to show compassion for the terminally ill is good. Giving leniency to a convicted criminal is also good. But the good consequences must outweigh the bad consequences. If there a reasonable chance that the criminal might kill someone, then that bad consequence would morally outweigh the good consequence of showing mercy to him and his family.
__________________
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 1st September 2009, 05:05 AM
TheGiftOfLife
 
Posts: n/a
Default

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?

Last edited by TheGiftOfLife : 1st September 2009 at 05:08 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 1st September 2009, 11:25 AM
Paul Bellett Paul Bellett is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 534
Default

[quote=TheGiftOfLife;27633].

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

QUOTE]

In effect he is really getting a greater punishment, 'the death penalty', from a Higher Authority!, than from those who were merely locking him up for life.
God is now effectively in control, as far as his life is concerned, regarding his terminal cancer, which I believe will be allowed by God to run its natural course.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 1st September 2009, 11:27 AM
Paul Bellett Paul Bellett is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 534
Default

[quote=Paul Bellett;27634]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiftOfLife View Post
.

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

In effect he is really getting a greater punishment, 'the death penalty', from a Higher Authority!, than from those who were merely locking him up for life.
God is now effectively in control, as far as his life is concerned, regarding his terminal cancer, which I believe will be allowed by God to run its natural course.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.