This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

How Can, Under Catholic Laws, The Killing Of Another Human Being Be Morally Justified?

1470 words - 6 pages

St. Thomas Aquinas is regarded as one of the Doctors of the Catholic Church. This is because he established much of what the Church regards as Doctrine in reference to moral theology. One of these things was the question of a how a person can kill another in warfare, and be justified doing it. Thomas Aquinas based much of his theology on the earlier works of St. Augustine of Hippo, and also brought to light many theories, such as the principle of Double Effect and situational ethics. In this essay, I will be discussing the theory of Double Effect, and how it justifies killing another person in war or otherwise, the effect of situational ethics on the taking of human life and also the catholic churches' teachings on a 'Just War.'Saint Augustine of Hippo was the first person to write down a set of ideals in the fifth century on an ideal that was profoundly difficult: how to reconcile traditional Christian teaching against the use of violence with the need to defend the Roman Empire - who had been Christian for more than a century by this time - from the invading Vandals. The solution he reached - a justification of war under certain prescribed circumstances, yet with genuine limits on the harm that could be done even in a justified war - is regarded as the beginning of the just war doctrine in Christian teaching. Augustine came up with two terms; one to define what is just to do in wars, which is jus in bello and the other pertaining to circumstances that are just cause for a war is called jus ad bellum.Augustine first formulated the theory for killing another person that did not directly involve defence of the individual directly. This is because "Self-defence is given little attention by just war theorists for the further reason that the individual's right to defend himself from mortal threat was taken for granted." (Teichman, J, Pacifism and the Just War, 1986, p 69) Augustine treated defence by means of a 'paradigmatic' situation involving three persons: a criminal who is attacking a second person, the innocent victim, and a third person, an onlooker, on whose behalf Augustine offers his thoughts. The onlooker, as a Christian, must be motivated by love for both of the other people involved: the criminal and the victim. Yet the criminal, who is armed, is unjustly aggressing against the innocent weaponless victim. "The proper action for the Christian, reasoned Augustine, is to intervene between criminal and victim, defending the latter even at the risk of his own life against attack or threat of attack by the former." (Johnson, J.T, Can Modern War Be Just? 1984, p 3) This defence of the victim is mandated by the onlooker's love for him as someone for whom Christ died.In defending the victim, the onlooker must also remember that Christ also died for the criminal, and therefore the onlooker must limit what can be done in defence of the innocent victim. Augustine argued for a proportionate response to the criminals actions, only designed to thwart...

Find Another Essay On How can, under Catholic laws, the killing of another human being be morally justified?

Can the notion of Human Rights be justified and in what are such rights grounded?

2709 words - 11 pages Can the notion of Human Rights be justified and in what are such rights grounded?"Human rights are a set of universal claims to safeguard human dignity from illegitimate coercion, typically enacted by state agents" (Brysk, 2002 p. 3). The notion of human rights is an important ideal in society and a cause of great debate these days. Rights limit the extent to which other humans can intrude on other individuals and groups and are a necessary

Can Biodiversity loss be the downfall of an ecosystem and human well being?

800 words - 4 pages People often say "Why should I care if a species goes extinct? It’s not essential to my daily life”. But what use are humans, really? We waste a lot of resources and have managed to damage the ecosystem without a second thought. Eliminating species to extinction, destroying plants and trees a critical part of human well-being and organisms in an ecosystem leading to tremendous consequences. Organisms depend on each other for survival

Capital Punishment and Human Rights - Does the Death Penalty breach human rights? Can it ever be justified?

1180 words - 5 pages did not increase when it stopped using it.The death penalty has been abolished by 123 countries; this is a majority over the 73 that still have it. Fifty countries have eliminated capital punishment from their legal system since 1985 and none of those countries have reinstated it.6 This shows that many countries now understand the significance of everyone's human rights.In conclusion, there is no way that capital punishment can be justified in

Is euthanasia ever morally justified in your view? If so why and under what conditions? If not, why not?

3158 words - 13 pages wasting required medical resources doesn't have to occur and people with more hope can benefit. Although this seems a way of increasing a patients suffering, Passive Euthanasia can also be a way of minimizing pain of one whose condition is deemed terminal, if it is regulated and administered correctly, it expresses a respect for the human autonomy. Therefore, making it difficult to see how Passive Euthanasia could never be morally justified. Advocates

“Abortion is impermissible, because it deprives a being of a future like ours. Accordingly, it is morally similar to killing a healthy adult.” Critically discuss this argument, drawing upon at least...

1158 words - 5 pages that abortion is prima facie seriously morally wrong proceeds independently of the notion of person or potential person- the concept of person is being used to state the conclusion, rather than to generate an argument of the analysis.However, this theory shows only that abortion is prima facie wrong- not that it's wrong in any circumstances. Abortion, like ordinary killing could be justified, but only by the most compelling reasons. Also, one

can abortion be justified

823 words - 3 pages this ground, would be like legalizing drugs trafficking, war or nuclear weapons throughout the world!Many sociologists claim that abortion can be justified to some extent in many under-developed countries such as Madagascar where poverty and overpopulation are perennial problems. Abortion helps prevent bringing children into a cruel world where they will suffer and face deprivation in all spheres of their life. However, it makes no more sense to

Can terrorism be justified?

685 words - 3 pages Can terrorism be justified?The devastation and destruction that terrorism causes has impacted greatly on the USA and the world. The 1983 Beirut barracks bombings have shown how terrorism is not justified, and how it has caused a worldwide issue, involving not only America but France, England and Italy. The bombings were not justified by the group/individuals responsible, and their reasons for the attacks were not supported, and not accepted by

How can the corporations law in australia be changed to prevent another HIH collapse?

3375 words - 14 pages IntroductionIn order to critically discuss ways which the corporations law could be changed to prevent another HIH collapse, one must first identify the reasons for the collapse. Once these reasons are identified it will provide the information as to how the corporations law could be changed and whether the US approach to regulation of corporate governance after the Enron collapse is a more appropriate approach to reform of corporate governance

Can capital punishment be justified?

773 words - 3 pages Can Capital Punishment be justified?In this day and age it is quite common for young men to carry knives and other weapons. In spite of police campaigns to educate people against carrying weapons there has been a significant increase in the deaths of young British males. Often an argument may become heated, weapons are pulled put with tragic consequences.As well as carrying knives it has become increasingly common, particularly in the English

Can Crime Control be Justified?

1341 words - 5 pages the rest of the industrialized world. Since the 1970s, the nation has gone crazy, with our rate of imprisonment rising at a steady pace of 6.5% annually. With just around 7,000,000 people either in prison, in jail, or under judicial system and the nation's population being right around 294,000,000 , that means that just about 2.4% of our population is somehow involved in the judicial system. This shows how far our nations leaders will go to fight

The Death Penalty: Can It Ever Be Justified?

1500 words - 6 pages “The Death Penalty: Can It Ever Be Justified?” Edward I. Koch uses his essay “The Death Penalty: Can It Ever Be Justified?” to defend capital punishment. He believes that justice for murderous crimes is essential for the success of the nation. The possibility of error is of no concern to Koch and if would-be murderers can be deterred from committing these heinous crimes, he feels the value of human life will be boosted and murder rates

Similar Essays

Can Euthanasia Be Justified Morally? Essay

1152 words - 5 pages – therefore one will follow the truth in one's mind (categorical imperative) (Macintyre 1996: 193). Is there such a universal order to justify the actions of both doctors? The doctors will argue that their actions were morally right insofar as a universal law can be applicable. Their rationale is to treat others just as others will treat them; hence their actions are justified because they will expect similar treatment if the roles of the patients and

Being Morally Justified In Disobeying Laws We Consider To Be Immoral

880 words - 4 pages Being Morally Justified in Disobeying Laws We Consider to be Immoral The answer to this question depends very much on our understanding and opinion on the status of the law. On this issue it is likely that everyone falls into one of two broad categories. People falling into the first of these categories would be those who consider that through social contract we are obliged to obey the law, whatever the law states and regardless of our

Can Terrorism Be Morally Justified? How And When? Or Why Not?

2434 words - 10 pages Can Terrorism be morally justified? How and when? Or Why not?On September 11th 2001, two aeroplanes crashed into the world trade centre in New York, this was the horrifying beginning of what would come to be known 'the age of terror.' Although terrorist acts date back decades, it was this attack on the world's most powerful nation, America, that struck fear into the hearts of the Western people and the potential severity of these attacks was

Abortion, The Killing Of A Human Being

927 words - 4 pages it is accomplished. However it is done, may be by suction or half-births, it is wrong and a disgraceful thing to do. Women should not have an abortion because it's killing a human being, it has adverse effects upon the mother, and there are alternatives. One of the main statements an people justify an abortion with is that the baby is not a real person, its just a mass of cells. A fetus, small baby in Latin, is a living creature created by God