Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When did Catholic apologists become Kantian absolutists?

Catholic ethics puts a great deal of emphasis on the concept of whether something is properly ordered to a proper end.

Lying in the circumstances that have unmasked the lies and crimes of Planned Parenthood may be an evil, or it may not be an evil, but it is certainly trivial compared to the material aid being given to Murder, Inc. by certain Catholic apologists, not to mention the calumny against people who - for all we can tell - are acting altruistically.

//What’s the last thing you’d expect right now? That putative pro-lifers would start condemning all this evidence of moral advancement, claiming that the Center for Medical Progress used evil means to uncover the truth about Planned Parenthood — so evil that Christians should denounce the CMP for employing them, so sinister that these videos themselves will backfire and discredit the pro-life movement. Because, you see, the CMP’s investigators told Planned Parenthood employees things that weren’t true. And that is evil. By this logic, the Planned Parenthood videos are the fruit of a poison tree, and should not even be made public or shared. Like Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s experimental results, or sins we overheard in someone else’s confession, we should shun them and keep them secret.

Catholic writer Mark Shea is leading the charge against Planned Parenthood’s critics. On July 21, Shea condemned the Center for Medical Progress in an online Catholic radio broadcast, where he also said that families sheltering Jews during the Holocaust would have sinned by deceiving the Nazis who hunted those Jews. At 35:30 he quipped, “The issue is not and never has been figuring out how to lie well; the issue is figuring out how to hide your Jews well.” Then he chortled heartily.

Curiously, Shea has no previous track record of condemning the use of deception by police trapping pedophiles, CIA operatives fighting terrorism, or animal rights activists infiltrating factory farms. But over several years, Shea has spilled tens of thousands of words denouncing pro-life investigative reporters who infiltrated Planned Parenthood, even alleging that these pro-lifers had endangered their immortal souls by “tempting” professional abortionists into sin. You see, the prolife investigators of Live Action, including Lila Rose, showed up at abortion clinics and made fake appointments, trying to see if the clinics were willing to violate relevant laws. According to Shea, Rose was playing the evil temptress by doing that, urging someone to sin … because they intended to give her an abortion, so they sinned as gravely as a murderer who shoots but misses. She “tempted” them to do that, so she is just as guilty. Really?

Clearly Shea doesn’t understand the difference between entrapment and legitimate undercover work. If someone is already in the business of habitual acts of evil, presenting him an opportunity to express that fixed intention in order to stop him is not considered entrapment under law. Nor is it a sin. By Shea’s logic, if a sniper were picking off pedestrians, police who shoved out a mannequin to draw away his fire would be “tempting” him to murder, since he intended to shoot a real person. To say that such policemen were guilty of “incitement to murder” would not just be false; it would be slander.//

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