Skip to comments.[Today's] Moral Issues
Posted on 04/12/2014 4:12:33 PM PDT by Salvation
Making moral choices in our modern world can be confusing and difficult. With so many temptations and influences pulling us in all directions, and the pressures of life driving us toward the seemingly “easy” path, it is comforting to know that Jesus Christ, through His Church, has blessed us with clear moral framework to guide us toward a happy, fulfilling life.
It makes perfect sense that our Creator, who made us and designed us to work in a certain way, would know what’s best for us. Fortunately, He gifted the Church with His advice on how to live our lives in such a way that we could be free and happy. By giving us a roadmap, Christ gave us the ability to be freed from the negative effects of immorality and unhappiness, because true freedom allows us to live fully.
The Church never forces anyone to believe what she teaches. Faith itself must be free (CCC 160). But to help guide us to choose what is best for ourselves, according to the way He made us, He gave us the Church and all her moral teachings.
In this section you will find many valuable resources explaining the Catholic Church’s teachings on matters of ethics and morality. Please consider the reasonable and beautiful truth found in the Catholic teachings regarding these important issues in our culture:
Ping list please!
Over the years, the Catholic Church has been unwavering in its protection of the sanctity of human life, from conception until natural death. The Church embraces and stands up for the lives of all the unborn, while offering hope and healing to parents who have chosen to abort their unborn children. As Catholics, we have the responsibility to spread Christ’s message about the dignity of all human life to our culture.
You may have questions about the Church’s teaching on abortion or about your own experiences with this important moral issue. We hope to guide your understanding with some of the information we have provided here. God bless you.
Many women, especially over the past few decades, have been wounded by abortion. In order to heal emotionally and spiritually from this poor decision to extinguish the life of her unborn child through abortion, a woman must be willing to come to terms with what abortion really is, why it is so wrong, and what she must do in the aftermath to mend her relationship with God.First, consider the fact that abortion (no matter what empty euphemisms are used by the modern media to soften the reality of what really happens) is nothing less than the intentional killing of an unborn child. Sadly, it is a form of legalized murder. Therefore, one cannot be simultaneously Catholic and in favor of abortion. The two are incompatible.
The Catholic Church teaches that murder is always wrong. God Himself declared: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). The Catechism explains: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (CCC 2270). To read more, visit the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Yes, you can be forgiven. The Lord is waiting for you with open arms. The Bible reminds that, no matter how large or small our sins may be, God’s grace is more powerful than our sins. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and He is always ready, willing and able to receive us back into His loving arms, when we are ready and willing to turn to Him with a contrite heart. Consider the beauty of God’s love and forgiveness, demonstrated in Scripture:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:8).
Videos at the source too.
Moral issues — the lack of morality/the rejection of morality is the key. Modern secular humanist/anti-Christian society denies the existence of good and evil. It flounts “if it feels good, do it” as its morality.
Msgr Pope’s meditation posted here
is a must read and why we and morality are under attack
What do Catholics believe about Euthanasia?
The Catholic Church has always remained a strong defender of the dignity of life, from conception to natural death.
The Catechism makes the Church’s position on euthanasia very clear (CCC 2324, CCC 2277), reminding us that putting an end to any person’s life, regardless of their stage of life, is morally unacceptable. But making critical end-of-life decisions can be very difficult. We have provided you with some resources to guide you in making important moral end-of-life choices, rooted in Christ’s love for each and every human soul.
Learn more about end-of-life decisions.
Thus we have the situations at two high schools where parents were poorly catechized and now they try to influence Catholic teachings in a most negative way.
The court-ordered starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo in 2005 raised a number of issues—moral, legal and constitutional, about the right to life and the so-called right to die. Most coverage of the case focused on the question of her guardian's right to decide according to her alleged wishes and the due process of the judicial proceedings. However, at base the question was a moral, not a legal, one: under what conditions, if any, may a patient, a guardian, medical personnel or civil authorities, withhold or withdraw nutrition and hydration?
Catholic Teaching on Extraordinary Means
The natural law and the Fifth Commandment1 requires that all ordinary means be used to preserve life, such as food, water, exercise, and medical care. Since the middle ages, however, Catholic theologians have recognized that human beings are not morally obligated to undergo every possible medical treatment to save their lives. Treatments that are unduly burdensome or sorrowful to a particular patient, such as amputation, or beyond the economic means of the person, or which only prolong the suffering of a dying person, are morally extraordinary, meaning they are not morally obligatory in a particular case. Medical means may be medically ordinary, but yet morally extraordinary.
The many advances in medicine during recent decades has greatly complicated the decision whether to undergo or forego medical treatment, since medicine can now save many people who would simply have been allowed to die in the past. Further, having saved them, many people continue to live for long periods in comatose or semi-conscious states, unable to live without technological assistance of one kind or another. The following Questions and Answers will address some of the complexities of this issue.
Q. When may medical therapies, procedures, equipment and the like be withheld or withdrawn from a patient.
A. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,
2278. Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
The key principle in this statement is that one does not will to cause death. When a person has an underlying terminal disease, or their heart, or some other organ, cannot work without mechanical assistance, or a therapy being proposed is dangerous, or has little chance of success, then not using that machine or that therapy results in the person dying from the disease or organ failure they already have. The omission allows nature to takes its course. It does not directly kill the person, even though it may contribute to the person dying earlier than if aggressive treatment had been done.
Q. Does this also apply to artificially provided nutrition and hydration?
A. Yes, when the moral conditions noted above are met. We must, therefore, ask the question "will the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration allow the person to die, or kill the person?" When it will allow a person to die from an underlying condition, rather than unnecessarily prolonging their suffering, it may be removed. So, for example, in the last hours, even days, of a cancer patient's life, or if a sick person's body is no longer able to process food and water, there is no moral obligation to provide nutrition and hydration. The patient will die of their disease or their organ failure before starvation or dehydration could kill them.
However, when the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration is intended to kill the person, or will be the immediate and direct cause of doing so, quite apart from any disease or failure of their bodies, then to withdraw food and water would be an act of euthanasia, a grave sin against the natural law and the law of God.
Q. What about the case of Terri Schiavo?
A. In Terri's case, while there was some disagreement as to her exact medical condition, she was not dying. Indeed, when the other artificial means were withdrawn she continued to live, so that the withdrawal of her food and water directly caused her death. This was a violation of the natural law and the law of God.
Q. You mention the natural law, what is it?
A. The natural law is morality which reason can determine from the nature of man, without the assistance of God's revelation. An example is the right to life. Almost all human societies throughout history, both religious and non-religious, have recognized that it is wrong to kill an innocent person. This is a conclusion which reason can easily come to, since all human beings have an inborn desire to live. From this natural law principle we can easily see that any action that directly and intentionally kills an innocent person is an unjust taking of a human life. Therefore, withdrawing food and and water from anyone who is not about to die and who can still tolerate it, has no other reasonable name than murder.
Q. What does the Church say about this?
A. The Pope addressed this issue in an address to a group of physicians who were in Rome in March 2004 precisely to discuss it.
I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.
The obligation to provide the "normal care due to the sick in such cases" (1) includes, in fact, the use of nutrition and hydration (2). The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.
In this regard, I recall what I wrote in the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae making it clear that "by euthanasia in the true and proper sense must be understood an action or omission which by its very nature and intention brings about death, with the purpose of eliminating all pain"; such an act is always "a serious violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person" (n. 65). [Pope John Paul II, To the Congress on Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State, 20 March 2004)
(1) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Iura et Bona, p. IV
(2) cf. Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Dans le Cadre, 2, 4, 4; Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Charter of Health Care Workers, n. 120
In this address the Holy Father draws the following significant conclusions:
1. Food and water are natural means of sustaining life, not medical acts, even if delivered artificially.
2. Nutrition and hydration are ordinary and proportionate means of care.
3. Food and water are morally obligatory unless or until they cannot achieve their finality, which is providing nutrition and hydrating and alleviating suffering.
4. The length of time they are, or will be, used is not grounds for withholding or withdrawing artificially delivered nutrition and hydration.
5. If the result of withholding or withdrawing nutrition and hydration is death by starvation and dehydration, as opposed to an undying disease or dysfunction, it is gravely immorally.
In summary, nutrition and hydration, like bathing and changing the patient's position to avoid bedsores, is ordinary care that is owed to the patient. This is true even if it is delivered artificially, as when a baby is bottle-fed or a sick person is tube-fed. Nutrition and hydration may only be discontinued when they cannot achieve their natural purposes, such as when the body can no longer process them, or, when during the death process they would only prolong the person's suffering. If such a case the patient dies of the underlying disease. On the other hand, if starvation and dehydration is the foreseeable cause of death, to withhold or withdrawn nutrition and hydration is gravely immoral.
Q. What can a person do to ensure that their wishes and their religious beliefs are respected by their family, medical personnel and the courts?
A. The best way is by means of an Advance Directive which states the patients wishes with respect to aggressive medical treatment. There are two basic kinds, a Living Will by itself or an Advance Directive with a Durable Power of Attorney (or Proxy) for Health Care Decisions. The merits of each are as follows:
1. Living Will. By this document a person decides completely in advance whether they want to be kept alive by technology. It is a "yes" or "no" statement, which then places the matter in the hands of the medical community. Many Catholic bishops and moralists consider this an unsatisfactory approach, as it does not provide for unforeseen circumstances. Despite the enthusiasm of the media, many medical professionals, and sadly even some Catholic institutions, Living Wills are NOT the way to go!
2. Advance Directive with a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy. These documents give to a friend or family member the authority to make health care decisions according to one's mind as expressed in an Advance Directive. By appointing an agent, or giving someone durable power of attorney, the patient allows for unforeseen circumstances. By stating in an Advance Directive that one wants Catholic teaching adhered to, one can ensure that neither the agent or the medical institution will disregard that teaching. Together they ensure that a trusted person, rather than strangers, will make circumstantially appropriate decisions, in keeping with the Faith.
The following sample forms are provided through the courtesy of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
I’m reading the Catechism to my family every day, along with the daily lectionary and our other Bible reading. We’re in the 700’s of the CCC paragraphs.
Sounds as though you are doing great. There’s a lot there, huh?
When we reach the end, along about 2017, we’ll start again. You can’t make your children (or your spouse) live by what they’ve been taught, but you can make sure they’ve been taught.
That's the stupidest statement I've ever heard
Now sticking by the choice you've made may be tough.
I was just thinking of this the other morning. Morality hasn't changed much but we do have ISSUES now that we didn't have back then.
1. and 2.: There was always abortion and euthanasia. Killing isn't new but they depended on available plant life way back when and the people who could manipulate them. It's the same today as those with money can afford and those without can't.
3. Contraception and infertility were also part of our human problems. They weren't new either. Every society had its specialists to find, refine and distribute products for these problems. Even the poorest has their brews, spells and incantations. I suppose they were as successful as they are today.
4. Homosexuality always existed too and most every society on the planet condemned it. I can even imagine that there were potions and brews that tried to counteract it.
5. Stem Cell Research and Cloning: THESE are brand new. These are the brainchildren of our wonderful technology. They give hope to so many people who need it.
Side note: we are now keeping alive people who would not have survived centuries ago...and thus we are weakening our gene pool. My opinion only.
6. Pornography; When we went to Italy we visited Pompeii. The guide showed us some of the ancient Roman pornography--small clay figurines "doing it." It was just as disgusting then to me as it is now.
I used to condemn men for being such pigs until I grew up (finally) and realized that women were just as much an integral part of the industry as men. Women were just as much to blame for porn and were willing partners in this very sad industry.
TRUE STORY: I was in Hamburg, Germany, on one of the double deck buses touring beautiful Hamburg. Our guide was pointing out all the sites.
She pointed out some brothels. I could not keep my big fat mouth shut and chimed in with my devastatingly carrying voice...not loud, just carrying.
I was ALWAYS in trouble up to and including the second grade...the nuns always heard me. By the third grade I had figured it out.
Anyway in a very clear voice I said: "YES, it's it WONderful? It's such a NICE thing what the Germans are saying to their daughters, sisters and mothers!! Wouldn't we ALL love to see our female relatives doing this?!?!"
NO ONE said a word, not even the guide. There were several minutes of stunned silence. Lol. I sure know how to poop a party.
Worshipping a church instead of HIM is a sin
Catholics only adore God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
How do you get worshipping out of this topic?
Worshipping the sin? And choosing it over God? Is that what you mean?
Good post. Thanks.
**we are now keeping alive people who would not have survived centuries ago...and thus we are weakening our gene pool. **
The stem cells that are helping cure diseases are adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. In using embryonic stem cells, a potential life is destroyed.
Why is the Catholic Church opposed to contraception?
What does the Church teach about infertility drugs and treatments?
Contrary to what some Catholics may have told you, these issues are a big deal. The Catholic Church teaches that deliberately practicing contraception is a sin. But that’s not the end of the story. The first thing you should do before avoiding this important teaching that is meant to protect life and to protect you is find out why the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is wrong.
Finally, take time to review some of the other resources we have provided here. Understanding and embracing the Church’s teaching on contraception can drastically and positively change your life, as it has many others.