Choose a topic from Vol 5:

Awareness of God

Awareness of God

The Faith of Israel

The Faith of Israel

The Importance of Man

The Importance of Man

Origin of the Gospels

Origin of the Gospels

The Divine Redeemer

The Divine Redeemer

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

The Papacy

The Papacy

The Biblical Tradition

The Biblical Tradition

The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary

Liturgy and Sacraments

Liturgy and Sacraments

Moral Problems

Moral Problems

Final Realities

Final Realities

The Ecumenical Movement

The Problem of Disunity
Reactions Among Non-Catholics
Bewildered Catholics
Combined Unity Services
Mutual Bible Study
Prospects of Reunion

Moral Problems

512. What right has the Church to pronounce on matters involving ethics or morals?

Christianity involves both belief and behaviour, these being regulated by divinely-revealed teachings and precepts. Such teachings and precepts include, of course, all that we can know as naturally true and good, but they lift us to higher levels which Christ has made possible for us both as regards information and capability. The Church, accordingly, has the duty to proclaim and safeguard both sound Christian doctrine and principles of conduct in conformity with it.

513. Last year a visiting non-Catholic American professor of philosophy, Mortimer J. Adler, said government must be based on the natural law, not on positive laws only. What did he mean by that?

By positive laws only he meant legislation made by men merely because they happen to have political power to make laws, as if there were no higher laws than those they choose to make. Granted such an idea, men in power could impose any laws they pleased upon others. Might would be right. On the other hand, by natural law Dr. Adler meant the Will of the Creator who has not only endowed man with intellectual as well as physical gifts, but obliges him in conscience to live in accordance with his true nature and with natural moral principles. This means that there are certain rights and duties not originated by men themselves, which men cannot abolish, and which all men are obliged to observe. Might is not right. It must be subordinated to right and used only to maintain and defend it.

514. Does this natural moral law apply to non-Christians?

It applies to all human beings. Dr. Adler himself is a Jew, not a Christian. Even the Roman philosopher Cicero, who died 43 B.C., and knew nothing of the Christian religion, wrote in his book "De Republica," 3:22, "True law is right reason in agreement with nature. It is of universal application, unchanging, everlasting. We cannot be freed from it by Senate or people. This law is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens, but is eternal and immutable, valid for all nations and for all times. God is the Author of it, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient to it is abandoning his true self and denying his own nature." Observation shows us that every creature in the univverse has been given its own nature by the Creator, in accordance with which it is intended to act. Irrational animals obey the laws of their nature by instincts which the Creator has implanted in them. Whether or not, in God's providence, this came about by means of an evolutionary process is of no importance here. As contrasted with lower animals, human beings are endowed with reason and free will. Men are moral beings who, even if they are not Christians, are obliged to conform their lives voluntarily to the natural law of God as manifested by their own intelligence and dictated by their conscience. When they do anything which is wrong of its very nature, it is because they either have warped ideas or are acting against their natural conscience through sheer bad will.

515. What is the difference between natural and Christian ethics or morals?

Over three centuries before Christ the pagan Greek philosophers had listed the natural standards of moral conduct, reducing them to the four basic virtues of prudence, requiring reasonable rather than irresponsible behaviour; justice, which renders to others what is due to them; fortitude, or endurance in difficult circumstances; and temperance, or self discipline in one's personal life. These standards are valid for all men, Christian or not. But Christians have additional knowledge by divine revelation of which the pagans knew nothing, and they have to view all ethics in the light of its teachings and precepts. What are called the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity give a higher understanding of human life, provide new and other-worldly aspirations, and insist on charity or the love of God as the motive influencing all we do. Only the grace of God can lift us to, and enable us to remain on the higher levels required of us by faith, hope and charity.

516. What precisely is meant by Christian charity?

Not merely what most dictionaries give as a definition of charity, namely, thinking and speaking well of others and doing good to them as far as we can to meet their various needs. Such an attitude towards others might be dictated by a merely natural kindliness of which an agnostic, with no belief in God or in religion of any sort, could be quite capable. As an agnostic, he would not object to being called a philanthropist or a humanitarian; but he would object to being called a Christian. Many people are astonished by St. Paul's words: "If I give all my goods to feed the poor . . . and have not charity, it profits me nothing." I Cor., 13:3. Surely, they say, if one gives all his goods to feed the poor, that is charity! We have to reply: Not in the Christian sense of the word. Christian charity is not merely natural and human love of our fellow men. It is a supernatural and divinely-given love of God, which overflows for His sake and not for their own sakes to our fellow human beings. "The charity of God," writes St. Paul, "is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us." Rom., 5:5. In practice, Christian charity is dictated by our love of God and is meant to be an expression of it. This is very different from, and on an immensely higher level than merely natural philanthropy or humanitarianism.

517. We are told to love one's neighbour as oneself. Who qualifies as one's neighbour?

Any fellow human being who is in need of anything one can reasonably do for him because he, too, is created by and related to the God whom we profess to love both in Himself and in all upon whom His Infinite Love has thought fit to confer existence.

518. We all know we should be conscientious in what we do but just what is conscience?

It involves two basic things. Firstly, it is a sense of obligation in the sight of God to do what is morally right and avoid what is morally evil. Secondly, in particular cases confronting us, it requires a judgment on our part as to what is morally right as opposed to a morally evil choice. As a sense of obligation, conscience is authoritative; but as a judgment of the issues involved it is not infallible. To err is human and we may be mistaken in our decisions owing to faulty reasoning, or through selfdeception by persuading ourselves that an action is morally right and permissible because we want to do it. We are geniuses at throwing dust in our own eyes and need to be on our guard against tendencies to such wishful-thinking which means the substitution of self-will for the will of God to which we are obliged to conform our conduct.

519. Church-rulings on moral matters seem contrary to the Vatican Council's "Declaration on Religious Freedom."

The Council's document concerned the obligation of States to grant religious freedom to their citizens. Authoritative rulings on moral matters are precisely to set members of the Catholic Church free from confusion of mind and from their liability to subjective error. In that sense our Lord said: "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free." Jn., 8:32. The "Declaration" itself says, n.14: "In the formation of their consciences the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church. The Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth. It is her duty . . . to declare and confirm by her authority those principles of the moral order which have their origin in human nature itself."

520. By such rulings debate on the question is effectively stifled.

On vital and major problems affecting the welfare of souls such rulings are meant to end debate by authoritatively deciding the issue. As Pope Pius XII said in his Encyclical "Humani Generis" (1950): "When the Roman Pontiffs go out of their way to pronounce on some subject hitherto controverted, it must be clear to everybody that, in the mind and intention of the Pontiffs concerned, this subject can no longer be regarded as a matter of free debate." But while any denial as if the issue were still a debatable one is ruled out, continued discussion of the implications and applications of the officially proclaimed doctrine are quite permissible. We must, however, judge things in the light of our faith. As Fr. Sertillanges, O.P. points out, the same wind that fills the sails of the barque of Peter provides for the breathing of the passengers. The Holy Spirit who works in the Church also works in souls; so that what the Holy Spirit says to us through the Church, He also says in our own hearts. In obeying our conscience, we find ourselves obeying the Church. If not, we have manufactured for ourselves a false conscience.

521. What is the difference between the humanist and Christian moral codes?

A man who is merely a humanist begins with the assumption that human beings are supreme and independent, answerable to no one but themselves. Even if the humanist engages in self-striving for moral improvement, this has no religious significance for him. The Christian, on the other hand, has to base his life on the teachings, example and spirit of Christ. Fulfilling the demands of all the natural virtues, he has to combine these with the virtues of faith, hope and charity, so that his life becomes not "man-centred", but "Christ-centred." The coming of Christ into this world means that ethics cannot be the same for the Christian as for the humanist. The believer in Christ finds in His teaching and example many ethical principles from which are derived rules of conduct in one's own life and in relation to God and one's neighbour which must be observed if one wants to be pleasing in God's sight. For the Christian, the primacy of the spiritual is a first axiom. God can never be left out of his calculations, as God is left out by people who have lost the sense of what they are really for, of man's true nature and value, and of the eternal destiny God wills them to attain. Humanist ethics, as contrasted with Christian ethics, are bound to be as defective as humanist philosophy itself.

522. It astonishes me that our ecumenical dialogue with non-Catholic Christians always concerns creed rather than conduct, bypassing the even greater moral obstacles to reunion.

Eventually, of course, moral principles would have to come up for consideration. But, as Fr. Leeming, SJ. points out in his book "The Churches and the Church," these moral problems "involve a whole fundamental outlook towards the very springs of life and the nature of human beings." It would be beginning too far along the line to discuss problems agreement in which is unlikely until after agreement has been reached in basic doctrines which they presuppose. Also, these are thorny topics which tend to arouse deep feelings, which in turn could quench the smoking flax of the ecumenical movement from the very outset. A tacit agreement to avoid them until the more basic doctrinal issues are straightened out is possibly felt by all officially engaged in the ecumenical encounter between Catholics and non-Catholics to be the more promising course. Differences in the moral field, when they have to be faced, may well prove to be, as you and others have suggested, the greatest obstacle in the way of reunion.

523. From the viewpoint of social ethics, what is meant by the State?

The State is an organised community of people within a defined boundary, either existing as politically self-sufficient or as a constituent member of a federation of States. In the broad sense, it means all the citizens who belong to it, for human beings form the civic society known as the State. But in a more restricted sense the word is used simply to mean the government of a given country or area, namely, those entrusted with authority to legislate, making necessary laws and seeing to their observance. So we say that the "State" itself demands or forbids this or that, meaning the laws enacted by those having political authority for the general good of the community.

524. In these days of religious pluralism or even of complete indifferentism, what is the attitude of the State towards God's laws?

Secular States do not claim to be able to say what is or is not God's law. They are concerned only with what they think expedient on the civic level. Among politicians elected as legislators we could, of course, have not only those who personally believe in God, but also agnostics or atheists. As regards possibility, however, it would have to be said that all could know at least to some extent God's natural moral laws even if, having no religious faith, they do not acknowledge any divinely-revealed positive laws of God. But where the State, constitutionally is based on secular principles only, regarding relationships with God, if any, as an entirely individual matter for citizens themselves, the State cannot claim to know or declare authoritatively what is the law of God in any particular matter. It will be concerned in its Law Courts, therefore, only with crimes against the laws of the land, not with sins as violations of the Will of God. No magistrate would find a charged person guilty of having violated any law of God. He would declare that not to be within the State's competence, and that he was concerned only with administering civil laws. A violation of those might not be a sin against God's law; while, on the other hand, a sin against God's law might not be a crime in the eyes of the State. In that sense, a State which constitutionally restricts itself to civil legislation on a secular basis only makes it impossible for itself to claim to know or express any authoritative judgment as to what is or is not God's law on any particular matter.

525. Have States the right to make any laws at all, provided the proposed laws seem necessary or useful in the interests of the common good?

The governing body of any organised community must, of course, have the right to make any just laws which are indeed for the common good; and it must have the power to enforce those laws. But the two qualifications are important. The laws must be just, and they must indeed be for the common good. Those in power have not the right to make any laws they wish just because they happen to be in power. No Christian can admit the moral right of any government to enact laws opposed to the revealed law of God or to the natural moral law. If such laws are enacted, the Christian may not take advantage of any so-called privileges they might offer, nor obey them. He has to remain true to the dictates of his Christian conscience, whatever others may do. Also, the State has no right to over-ride the interests of minorities, ignoring their just demands. We may have a government elected by a majority vote, but it has to rule with equity. Otherwise we would be paying only lip-service to democracy and really be living under a form of despotism and tyranny.

526. If we grant a State's legislative right only with restrictions, would not those restrictions limit one's loyalty to the State?

The limits apply to the State's competence; not to one's loyalty. Laws going beyond the State's competence, even though the State tries to enforce them by tyranny and violence, are null and void in the sight of God and do not oblige citizens in conscience. No State has any right to make laws opposed to the positive laws of God, as embodied for example in the Ten Commandments. Also, since the State exists for the good of its subjects, its legislation must respect as far as possible the personal liberties of those subjects, making no more laws than are really ordained to the common good. The right to personal safety, property, liberty of movement, and freedom of worship according to each one's own conscience, within due limits required for the preservation of public order these things must be guaranteed. Political rulers, however they have attained to power, have not the right to make and enforce any laws they wish regardless of such restrictions.

527. What are the Catholic principles of "Social Justice"?

They declare the ideal to be the observance of the rights both of God and of man in social life according to Christian teachings. As man's social life covers the whole field of human relationships, the scope of social justice is immense. It has domestic, civic, national and international implications. It involves individuals and families. It affects the problem of education. It must regulate commercial, industrial, professional and political life, and extends even to difficult racial and world questions.

528. Did not Pope Pius XI speak of those who controlled money as controlling the life-blood of the people, and having such power that no one dared breathe against their will?

He did so in his Encyclical "Quadragesimo Anno," issued in 1931, over thirty years ago. Much that he had to say was conditioned by the world-scene around him, for the 1930s were the years of a world-wide economic depression. Pope Pius XI, commemorating the fortieth year since Pope Leo XIII had issued his great Encyclical "Rerum Novarum" in 1891 on the condition of the working classes, pointed out that changes for the worse had occurred in the meantime, above all by the growth and conflict between atheistic Communism and monopoly Capitalism, the latter exercising an economic dictatorship through commercial and international bankers. While condemning Communism, he insisted that the abuses of monopoly Capitalism, which provided grounds for the discontent of its victims, must be remedied. These abuses have been remedied to a far greater extent than many who still quote the 1931 Encyclical of Pope Pius XI realise. A careful reading of Pope John XXIII's 1961 Encyclical "Mater et Magistra" will show that he was well aware of a change for the better; but he still advocated continued and even increased government supervision of the money-market so that never again will there be even a threat of what Pope Pius XI called control by a powerful few of money and credit, the very lifeblood of the people.

529. Did not Pope John XXIII, in 1961, advocate socialisation?

Not in the sense usually associated with that term. He advocated concerted social efforts to promote the general welfare in a way not possible by isolated individual efforts. In other words, he urged the necessity of greater State activities at a Government level to secure a more equitable distribution of the national income as a remedy for the extremes of poverty and wealth.

530. How can Pope John's socialisation be reconciled with Pope Pius Xi's absolute condemnation of "Socialism", in his 1931 Encyclical "Quadragesimo Anno".

Pope Pius XI declared the type of socialism he condemned to have four main characteristics. It was based on the idea that man's life is limited to this world only, so that the "Welfare State" is the supreme objective at which men should aim. It held that everything belongs to the State, to the exclusion of any real rights to ownership of private property. It advocated the gradual elimination of free enterprise in favour of State-controlled production and distribution to cater for community needs. And, finally, it declared false the "principle of subsidiarity" which maintains that lesser bodies working efficiently and without exploitation of the public should not be absorbed by the State. Pope John XXIII expressly rejected those four characteristics of the type of socialism Pope Pius XI condemned; and he would equally have said with Pope Pius XI that no Catholic can be a socialist according to that type of Socialism.

531. Did Pope John modify the Church's attitude towards Marxist Communism because Marxism is more acceptable now?

Pope John in no way modified the attitude of the Catholic Church towards Marxism which, with its atheism, its assumption that this earth is enough for man with nothing beyond it, its denial of personal and religious liberty, and its reliance on violence to establish itself in supreme control, are all quite irreconcilable with Christianity. However, in his Encyclical "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth"), April 11, 1963, Pope John XXIII said that, despite their perverse ideological outlook, Communists intend the social welfare of men and have many practical measures for the common temporal good in which Catholics could co-operate on a basis of mutual citizenship. Additionally, competent Catholics should enter into dialogue with Communists to discuss the obstacles to peace on earth arising from State-imposed ideologies and the denial of personal and religious liberty. The necessity could also be discussed of establishing an international authority to outlaw all wars of military aggression. Even the atheist Jean Paul Sartre, while agreeing that Communism in theory means a freely co-operating brotherhood of men, says that in practice it actually involves violence, conflict and domination by an impersonal "Collective" which demands blind, unthinking fidelity. So he rejects it, preferring as he says the freedom and individuality of the human person.

532. Did not Jesus Himself teach Socialism by condemning ownership of property?

Jesus did not deny the right to earthly possessions; He taught the right use of them. He declared the observance of the commandments, including "Thou shalt not steal," to be necessary for salvation (Matt., 19:18). He bade the rich to make good use of their possessions so that their charity to the poor would assure them of eternal happiness in heaven (Lk., 16:9). He praised the wealthy Zaccheus who said that he gave half of his goods to the poor (Lk., 19:1-10). He did not tell Zaccheus that it was sinful for him to retain the other half!

533. According to my reading, the first Christians were socialists, owning all in common.

You are reading into the New Testament what is not there. It is true that, in the very beginning after the conversion of 3,000 in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and continuing conversions later, organisation of some kind became necessary. A voluntary provisional system was adopted, earthly possessions being pooled so that the poor among them were duly cared for. But this was a voluntary and temporary choice, the practice of which did not last long. In Acts, 5:4, St. Peter made it clear that Ananias retained his rights to private property and that his punishment was not for keeping back some of his goods, but for his lying declaration that he had handed them all in. Again, the apostle St. Paul worked at his trade as a tent-maker that he might have his own means of support and be independent of community aid (Acts, 20:34). Also, he advised rich Christians to make good use of their possessions in works of Christian charity, saying that if they gave sparingly God would reward them sparingly, but if generously they would be rewarded generously (2 Cor., 9:7; I Tim., 6:17-19). The Apostles, then, did not teach Socialism nor anything that could be called an economic social theory.

534. St. Ambrose, in the fourth century, said it was avarice that first gave rise to private property.

That cannot be. In one of his most famous sermons he vindicated Naboth's right to the vineyard unjustly confiscated by Ahab under pressure from his infamous wife Jezebel (I Kgs., c.21). True, St. Ambrose vehemently denounced the harsh inequalities between the rich and the poor. He used such strong expressions as "the superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor," and that "to have more than required for one's own needs is robbery of the poor." But he justified private ownership as such, saying: "Nature created common right; usage made private right." That is, the earth in general is intended by nature for mankind in general; divisions of property, with consequent private rights, are due to lawful human arrangements and customs. Echoing the teachings of earlier Fathers, such as St. Clement of Alexandria and St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose said that the danger was not so much in possessing wealth as in being possessed by it, over-attachment to it leading to many sins against justice and charity, and to a neglect of the generous almsgiving without which the wealthy had little hope of salvation.

535. As a humanist, I would like Christianity abolished in favour of another type of mission to the hungry non-Christian nations.

In that case, you would prefer a society swept clean of a Christian vision of existence a world without Christian faith, hope and charity or love of God; a world disenchanted, de-consecrated, purged of objective meaning and of all specifically Christian values and dedicated to secular humanism, the modern paganism. But you forget history. Lecky, rationalist though he was, wrote in his "History of European Morals," Bk. 2, p. 36: "No achievements of the Christian Church are more truly great than those which it has effected in the sphere of charity. For the first time in the history of mankind, it has inspired thousands of men and women, at the sacrifice of all worldly interests and often under circumstances of extreme discomfort and danger, to devote their entire lives to the single object of assuaging the sufferings of humanity. It has covered the globe with countless institutions of mercy absolutely unknown to the whole pagan world. It has indissolubly united in the minds of men the idea of supreme goodness with that of active and constant benevolence." Incidentally, you invite a question as to whether your interest in "the hungry non-Christian nations" is prompted by genuine sympathy for them rather than by the use you think you can make of them to discredit the Christian religion in favour of your secular humanism.

536. When and how did we Australians get a moral right to own our country?

By title of first occupancy when, in 1770, Captain Cook landed on its shores and proclaimed it a British possession. The original inhabitants were a nomadic people, with no development of this country's resources, with no towns or villages, no settled civilisation or political stability. They had the general right to live here, of course, since the Creator gave the earth in general to all its inhabitants. But they had not "tilled the earth," creating a particular title to a specific share in the great grant, and Australia as a whole was a neglected and unowned land which could lawfully be appropriated by those willing to make use of it in a fitting way. It is quite against reason to hold that the Creator intended immense areas of arable land to continue indefinitely as a wild waste. To our title of first occupancy, of course, there has since been added the title of prescription through our continued possession and development of Australia.

537. Do not Australia's immigration laws offend against Christian justice and charity?

All nations have a right to their own immigration standards and policies which they believe required for their own welfare; and we cannot argue that thought for their own good necessarily implies antipathy and ill-will towards people of other nations. In Australia, the law leaves it entirely to the discretion of the Minister for Immigration as to whether or not an entry-permit should be granted to those who desire one. Thousands of Asians have been granted permits for temporary residence in Australia in order to attend our Universities, and have been made welcome by everybody during their stay in our midst. For permanent residence in Australia, however, permits are restricted to people of European origin rather than of non-European stock, at least as a general rule; but exceptions considered reasonably warranted are frequently made. In itself, Australia's policy cannot rightly be regarded as a violation of Christian justice or charity.

538. Can a Catholic with a good conscience support Australia's restrictive immigration laws?

Yes, provided he has good motives for doing so, excluding all un-Christian dispositions of contempt, hatred or malice towards non- European people. A state of affairs could arise, although it has not yet arisen, in which this would not be so. It would be un-Christian not to grant living-space in Australia to immigrants from a racially different country if that country were so over-populated that its people could not survive within its territorial limits and if no other, suitable area were available for their expansion; or, alternatively, if provision could not be made for them in their own territory by outside assistance in industrialisation, with necessary machinery and access to raw materials and to export markets for their products. In his Encyclical "Pacem in Terris," 1963, Pope John XXIII favoured this last kind of assistance, saying that this offered the possibility of a better future for such people without their having to leave their own environment for residence elsewhere, with difficulties of adjustment and social integration in an alien land and among an alien people. Pope John distinguished clearly, however, between admitting ordinary migrants and the acceptance of political refugees for whom life had been made impossible in their own countries and who appealed to any of the free countries for political asylum and a dwelling place in their midst. He declared it a duty to grant such applications.

539. Has the Church any official teaching on this matter of immigration?

I have quoted Pope John XXIII. Earlier, Pope Pius XII said, in his Encyclical "Summi Pontificatus," 1939: "If a nation chooses to enact precautionary laws for the safeguarding of its own genius and qualities, it has the Church's approval as long as all is done without prejudice to duties which the common origin and destiny of the whole human race impose upon us." In 1953, having this declaration in mind, the Catholic "Code of International Ethics." n.57, said: "The differences between the various branches of the human family are so great that the fusion of races is not in any way desirable; and one cannot condemn absolutely measures to prevent it. But justice and charity demand that people so affected should be allowed a proper field of expansion on those continents which nature itself seems to have provided for them."

540. Have Australian citizens themselves the right to urge a repeal or at least a modification of present restrictive immigration laws?

Undoubtedly. Australia, even granted the right, is not obliged to maintain present immigration laws if she does not want to do so. Her legislators until now, in view of the immense problems arising in already multi-racial countries, have thought it better to prevent such problems arising at all. Australians who disagree with present laws have every right to try to persuade as many of their fellow citizens as possible to adopt their viewpoint, forming associations for that purpose if they wish, in the hope of creating such a majority opinion that the elected parliamentarians will adjust legislation in accordance with it. In a democracy that is taken for granted.

541. Would it be wise to repeal or modify the present policy?

That is another matter. There are many who think not, and not only Australians. Mr. A. H. Richmond, in his Pelican book "The Colour Problem," speaking of conditions in his own country, England, said that racial differences cause difficulties mainly psychologically and sociologically. He writes that the sense of "not belonging" is frequently found among coloured immigrants and is even more serious for their children born in Britain. These tend to become bitter and cynical, not only against white people, but against Africans, West Indians and American negroes in Britain. "An increase in the coloured population," he says, "could only lead to a deterioration of racial relations in Great Britain." Significantly enough, on March 18, 1961, the Malayan Prime Mininster, Tengku Abdul Rahman, said in London that he agreed with Australia's policy as a wise protection against creating a racial problem there; and on the following April 26, Malaya's High Commissioner to Australia, Mr. Dato Sulaiman, said in Canberra that Malaya had no hard feelings about Australia's immigration laws. "We fully understand them," he said, "and believe you are just trying to prevent the same racial problems that have occurred in South Africa and other nations." He added that Malaya had its own internal racial tensions between Malayans, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians. One could refer here to the almost insoluble troubles arising from race-conflicts in America. Sociologically, from a moral or ethical point of view, Australia, so far free from such problems on any appreciable scale, certainly has the right to enact restrictive immigration laws on the ground that prevention is better than cure. Whether and in what degree she chooses to exercise that right, it is for the Australian people themselves to decide, implementing the desire of the majority by the election to parliament of representatives who will put it into effect.

542. If Catholic social teaching, while acknowledging the fact of racial differences, denies that these imply inequality of status as human beings, what is the position of women in regard to men?

Here, again, while acknowledging the obvious differences of sex and functions, Catholic teaching insists that women as human persons have full equality with men both as regards dignity and the rights due to all members of the human race. Men and women have different qualities and characteristics which are meant to balance each other, contributing together towards the general good of humanity.

543. Bertrand Russell, in his book "Why I Am Not a Christian", says that it is "one of the greatest perversions of history" to talk about Christianity having "improved the status of women".

He wrote like that because he was not a Christian and was looking round afterwards for excuses to justify his not being one; and this warped his judgment. William E. Lecky, also a rationalist, although not a belligerent one and with a better-balanced outlook, wrote in his "History of European Morals," that the vast change in the status of women must be manifest to all after Christianity had superseded the unlimited license of the pagan Empire. He says that Christianity's absolute prohibition of sexual indulgence outside marriage, the security of wives by the prohibition of divorce, the legal rights of guardianship of children hitherto reserved to men, and the inheritance of widows these things enhanced women's dignity and status. Lecky even writes, in a way foreign to his own beliefs: "Whatever may be thought of its theological propriety, there can be little doubt that reverence for the Virgin Mary has done much to elevate and purify the ideal of woman and soften the manners of men." He adds that this gave rise to the "redeeming and ennobling features of the age of chivalry which no succeeding change of habit or belief has wholly destroyed."

544. Russell complains that the Church has always taught that virginity is best, and that marriage is an inferior state tolerable in those not capable of celibacy.

With St. Paul, in Ephesians 5, the Catholic Church glorifies marriage as a Sacrament instituted by Christ. The Church admits a true vocation to the state of marriage and does not underestimate it. On the other hand, the Church does not unduly exalt celibacy. She declares that it is the lower choice if it be for selfish motives in order merely to avoid tying oneself down and shouldering the burdens and responsibilities of providing for a family. But with Christ and St. Paul, she declares celibacy to be the higher choice if it be for higher spiritual motives, not under-rating the dignity of marriage as such, but in order to belong wholly to God without division of interest in a life of prayer and of service to mankind.

545. Russell adds that monks, who had violated nature by choosing celibacy, have always regarded women primarily as temptresses to evil.

Celibacy is not a violation of nature; nor is marriage in itself necessary for all men and women. There are many who, for one reason or another, have had no opportunity of marriage and have perforce remained single, living quite virtuous lives. There are many who could have married, but have chosen not to do so for purely natural and professional reasons having no relation to religion. Explorers, scientists, musicians, philosophers, artists, and specialists of all kinds have been so absorbed by their pursuits that they have simply lacked interest in a state the average man and woman normally desires. There are others who have chosen celibacy for religious and spiritual reasons. These last have been inspired, probably in the majority of cases, to make such a choice by the spiritual ideals of a good mother. Lecky speaks of the influence of the mothers of men like St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory and others. Such sons of good mothers do not think of women as primarily temptresses to evil.

546. Is there any absolute standard of womanly modesty in dress, or does it vary from age to age and country to country?

Fashions in dress vary, of course, from country to country; and even in a given country from age to age. One could not expect the dress of Eskimoes, living in arctic regions and needing greater protection from the cold, to be the same as that of Papuans living in the tropics. The demands of modesty as a moral virtue in regard to dress are, however, absolute in any given society according to accepted customs in that society. People take for granted what is customary in their own environment. But any notable departure from what is customary by a bodily exposure which one foresees will be the occasion of lascivious thoughts or desires to others, and still worse, if one actually intends that, would be a sin against the virtue of modesty. Some years ago a Hollywood film depicting a bedroom scene with the actress undressing was shown in a Papuan village. Many of the Papuan women walked out. Afterwards, when asked why they had left, seeing that they wore only grass skirts and the actress had not undressed to that stage, they replied that she was being immodest according to a white woman's standards, that what was all right for them was not all right for her, and that they did not like suggestive pictures. This illustrates that, however relative external standards of dress may be, there are absolute standards of the natural, not to speak of the Christian virtue of modesty.

547. If standards are variable, does this mean that conscientious Catholic girls could never lead fashions of more bodily exposure, but could follow them once society has become accustomed to them?

Not necessarily; for Catholics are a minority living in what has been called a secularised and post-Christian society. What is acceptable to others, no matter how customary among them it may have become, is not by the very fact acceptable to conscientious Catholics. Good Catholics must reject what is objectionable from a Catholic, not a secularist point of view; and many are rightly distressed by a modern laxity with which others claim to see nothing wrong. St. Paul writes, in I Tim., 2:9, as the Revised Standard Version translates it: "Women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel . . . as befits women who profess religion." In the early Church Christian women, instead of yielding to the pagan atmosphere of pagan depravity, took their stand against it and remained true to their own standards of modesty. They felt that a woman's own sense of dignity and modesty ought to be intensified in a Christian as a religious and spirituallyminded person; and with their different standards they could not bring themselves to do what others could do so shamelessly. In our own times there are things also which a conscientious Catholic girl would feel obliged to avoid, however popular and customary they may have become among others who share neither her faith nor her ideals.

548. The native African Anglican Bishop Odutoia, at a Congress in Toronto, Canada, accused Western Christians of hypocrisy in condemning polygamy among Africans while permitting successive polygamy among themselves by repeated divorces and re-marriages.

When we read of prominent people marrying "he for the fourth time, she for the third" the case concerns people who have abandoned Christian standards and who would probably not condemn polygamy, the man in the case refraining from having several wives simultaneously only because civil law forbids it. He would probably explain the civil law as a hang-over from a Christianity which he repudiates in practice, even though he continues to pay lip-service to it by still professing to be a Christian. Bishop Odutoia would probably reply and rightly that the African natives could scarcely be expected to understand that.

549. By what right does the State, in a divorce case, ignore the claim of an innocent Catholic party that it has no jurisdiction over marriage in the sight of God?

Firstly, each State in Australia, which grants freedom to all religions while officially professing none, is bound in civil law by the Federal "Matrimonial Causes Act." Secondly, apart from all else, it cannot be said that civil law and its courts of administration have no jurisdiction over marriage. Since marriage has social as well as religious significance, State registration is rightly demanded for purposes of legal recognition. Thirdly, Catholics hold that the State has no real power to dissolve the bond of a valid marriage in the sight of God. But the State does not claim the power to do that. It is concerned only with administering its own secular laws which include civil legislation for the granting of a divorce in the case of a marriage previously recognised in civil law as valid. Fourthly, in one case, paragraph (m) of Section 28, civil law grants the right of a guilty partner to obtain a civil divorce from an innocent partner after five years of separation, even against the will of that innocent partner; but sub-section I of Section 37 of the Act leaves it to the discretion of the Court to refuse a divorce if for any reason such a decree would be harsh and oppressive to the innocent respondent. In 1961, Mr. Justice Nield was reported in the "Sydney Morning Herald" as refusing to a Mr. P. C. Taylor a divorce from his wife, applied for on the grounds of paragraph (m) of Section 28 of the Act, the Judge giving as a reason for refusal that if the marriage was dissolved against her wishes and religious convictions the situation would unquestionably be harsh and oppressive for her, since she would be compelled to describe herself as a "divorced person", with all the opprobrium of the community that would involve. But even that refusal of a decree, because of the religious convictions of the wife, concerned only the administration of State law on the civic level, and implied no claim of the State to jurisdiction over the marriage as it existed in the sight of God and according to the law of God. The State admits that aspect of marriage to be quite outside the sphere of its own competency.

550. How does the Catholic Church view State divorce laws?

In a democratic country like ours, with people professing many different kinds of religion or even none at all, the Catholic Church accepts the necessity of the State's constitutional neutrality where religious claims are concerned, and of government by parliamentary representatives of an electoral majority. That carries with it the risk that marriage laws will be enacted permitting things contrary to Christian standards. Where this occurs, she can but instruct her own members that, whatever the State may say or do, they are obliged in conscience to be true to the laws of their religion.

551. If a Catholic obtains a civil divorce for the purpose of marrying again, is the State to blame for granting it, or only the Catholic for seeking it?

The full responsibility rests upon the Catholic who defies the laws of his religion and seeks a civil divorce in order to contract a further marriage, which he knows will render applicable to him our Lord's words: "If a man puts away his wife and marries another, he commits adultery" (Mk., 10:11). He cannot argue that the full responsibility was not his because the civil law was there, making this possible. Civil law in no way imposes on him any necessity or obligation to seek a divorce; nor does it tell him that its decree will dissolve the bond of marriage in the sight of God. It leaves that matter to the consciences and religious convictions of individuals; and the Catholic who acts in bad faith, violating his conscience in this matter, must bear the full responsibility for doing so.

552. Protestant Churches say that Matthew 19:9 justifies re-marriage after divorce for adultery by one of the partners.

Many Protestant Churches remarry divorced persons who have obtained a civil divorce, no matter what the reason put to the civil courts in order to obtain it. But actually the New Testament does not permit divorce and remarriage even for adultery (As regards Matt., 19:9, see nn. 488-490 above).

553. The Roman Church stands alone in its rigid attitude.

Even were that true, it would not follow that the Catholic stand is wrong. But not all non-Catholics disagree with the Catholic doctrine. For example, commenting on Matt., 5:32, the Protestant "New Commentary on Holy Scripture," edited by Anglican scholars, says: "The will of God is that marriage should be a life-long union between a man and a woman which can be dissolved neither by the lust nor the caprice of the husband, nor by any legal enactment; and which remains unbroken, even after a separation has taken place, as long as both are alive. Divorce is not so much undesirable as impossible." Christ Himself said that, according to the law of God, man and wife "are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." Matt., 19:6. No merely human power, whether of the parties themselves or of the State, can really terminate a valid marriage, even though they mistakenly think they can. If the parties separate and while both are still living go through forms of marriage with other persons, they remain still husband and wife, and are not related in such a way to their new partners as far as the nature of marriage as intended by God is concerned, however legally valid the State may declare the further marriages to be.

554. It was reported that, during the Vatican Council, Archbishop Zoghby, of one of the Eastern Uniate Churches, suggested accepting the practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church which permits divorce and remarriage according to the teachings of the early Fathers.

Cardinal Journet answered that suggestion by pointing out that the Eastern Orthodox Churches based their practice, not on the Gospels and the early Church Fathers, but on the sixth century Civil Laws enacted by the Emperor Justinian. Father G. H. Joyce, S.J., in his book "Christian Marriage," pp. 305-327, discusses each of the Fathers who are supposed to have held such views and shows their writings to have been misinterpreted. The Anglican Canon T. A. Lacey's revised edition of "Marriage in Church and State," (1947) p. 108, quotes the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Germanos, of London, as admitting that Eastern Orthodox practice is based on Justinian's Code of Civil Law.

555. According to the American Catholic magazine "Marriage", published by the Benedictines, Indiana, U.S.A., it is not heretical to say the Church has from Christ an "unlimited power of the keys", with "authority to grant total divorce in all marriage cases."

If the article is rightly quoted, the author of it must have been in a coma when he wrote it. The Council of Trent, 1563, defined it as heretical to declare the Catholic Church in error by teaching that, according to the Gospels and the Apostles, the bond of marriage cannot be broken and that remarriage after divorce is not possible while both partners still live. As for "unlimited power of the keys," Vatican Council I, in 1870, defined the duty of the Church to be that of faithfully preserving and teaching the divine revelation entrusted to her care. The Church has no choice but to proclaim and uphold the clear teaching of Christ. St. Paul, who certainly understood that teaching, wrote in Romans 7:3 that "a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free."

556. What is to be gained by making the law stricter than others believe it to be?

Nothing, except fidelity to the teachings of Christ. The Catholic Church has had to refuse to receive as converts literally hundreds of divorced and remarried people who have wanted to join the Church but who have been unwilling to regard their second marriages as null and void. In foreign missions also, among polygamous peoples, she has had to turn away those otherwise willing to become Catholics but who cannot bring themselves to abandon the system of several wives, restricting themselves to one only. Certainly no considerations of expediency at the expense of principle have influenced the Catholic Church in her stand for the Christian doctrine of "one man, one wife, until death dissolves the bond of marriage."

557. Does the law of the Roman Catholic Church still forbid Catholics to marry non-Catholics?

That is still a disciplinary law of the Church, from which she can dispense her members for proportionately serious reasons. Everyone admits, of course, that the ideal in marriage is for a husband and wife to be one in all things, including religion. In a mixed marriage there is an element of disunity between husband and wife, a kind of religious isolation from one another which, to say the least, does not make for complete happiness. However, in countries where many different religions prevail, it is inevitable that young people, differing in their religious beliefs, will become attached to each other and want to marry. A Catholic involved in such a way may obtain under due conditions, through his or her parish priest, a dispensation granted by the Bishop from the law forbidding mixed marriages.

558. Under what conditions are permissions granted to Catholics for mixed marriages?

Before a dispensation is granted, the Church requires that the non-Catholic party will have had the Catholic religion explained to him or to her by the priest in a number of interviews to be determined by each Bishop in his own diocese. The non-Catholic party may not have the slightest desire to become a Catholic, but it is all to the good that he or she should know something of the religious beliefs and practices of the prospective Catholic partner, and of the religious duties one can find such a partner fulfilling during the years of their married life. Besides being assured that these preliminary explanations have been given, the Bishop could not in conscience give the dispensation unless it is agreed that the wedding ceremony will take place in a form of which he can approve; that the Catholic party will in no way be hindered in the practice of the Catholic religion; and that the Catholic will fulfil the duty of every Catholic parent to see that all children of the marriage are baptised and brought up as Catholics. A logical consequence of a conviction of the truth of the Catholic religion is that no Catholic parent can say: "I'll have the true religion, but my children won't." It is only when the Bishop has reasonable grounds for believing that these conditions will be observed that he himself will feel free in conscience to grant the necessary dispensation for a mixed marriage.

559. Is it not wrong and unjust to the non-Catholic party that the Catholic must bring up all the children as Catholics?

Here it must be remembered that the Catholic ruling is directly concerned only with the conscientious obligations of the Catholic party to the marriage. The Catholic Church does not legislate for non-Catholics. If both parties to a marriage are Catholics, no difficulty arises as to the religion of the children; nor, if two non-Catholics marry, has the Catholic Church anything to say as to how they will bring up their children. It is only indirectly that a non-Catholic is affected by any Catholic laws directly relating to the Catholic partner, and he puts himself within the sphere of those laws by deciding to marry a Catholic. Recently a Lutheran Synod in Germany considered this whole problem. It agreed that if a Catholic is absolutely convinced of the truth of the Catholic position, that Catholic must have a conscientious obligation to see that none of the children are deprived of the Catholic faith. It said that no Lutherans could reasonably complain of that. What Lutherans should do was to insist that Lutherans are just as convinced of the truth of their Lutheranism as Catholics are of their Catholicism, and adopt the same attitude as that of the Catholic Church by forbidding Lutherans to marry Catholics except on the understanding that all the children will be brought up as Lutherans. The logic of that conclusion cannot be faulted; and if Lutherans brought in that law, and all Lutherans were faithful to it, then neither party in a proposed Lutheran-Catholic marriage would be free in conscience to marry the other. Each would have to look elsewhere for a marriage-partner; which the Lutheran Synod declared to be the best solution of the dilemma.

560. Lecturing in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1963, the noted Catholic theologian Dr. Hans Kung said the Catholic Church should abolish the law that all children of mixed marriages must be brought up as Catholics.

Dr. Hans Kung is not noted for his fidelity to Catholic principles, and cannot be regarded as a representative Catholic theologian. On many matters he neither thinks nor speaks as if he were a Catholic at all. The Anglican Dr. H. M. Carson, in his book "Roman Catholicism Today" (1964) pp. 8, 9, says of him: "The one who has undoubtedly caught the Protestant ear is Dr. Hans Kung," but "we must look more closely. He has been permitted a great degree of latitude, but the question is still very much an open one as to the final reaction of Rome." Dr. Hans Kung, in his Chicago statement, was advocating the impossible. On October 25, 1930, Princess Giovanna of Italy married the non- Catholic King Boris of Bulgaria. Pope Pius XI refused to grant the mixed-marriage dispensation except on the condition that all children of the marriage would be brought up as Catholics. On the following December 24, in a Consistorial address to the Cardinals, he said that the divine law itself rendered "any permission or concession impossible" which would deprive such children of the faith. On December 31, he issued his Encyclical "On Christian Marriage," in which he stressed that the matter was not one of merely ecclesiastical law, but of divine law which the Church simply had not the power to ignore or abrogate.

561. Dr. Kung said that, in mixed marriages, what the religion of the children is to be "would be better left to the conscience of the parents."

Since, in a mixed marriage, the parents are of different religions, the question at once presents itself: To the conscience of which parent? As a professing Catholic, Dr. Kung should have known the Catholic answer to that, and clearly stated it. If he knew the Catholic answer but did not believe in it, preferring a doctrine of indifferentism in matters of religion, a doctrine condemned by the Catholic Church, then he was not speaking as a Catholic at all and would have deceived those of his listeners who imagined that he was.

562. At the World Council of Churches' Assembly at Uppsala, Sweden, July, 1966, Archbishop Ramsey of Canterbury said he was particularly opposed to the Roman Catholic ruling that the offspring of mixed marriages must be brought up as Catholics. Such a ruling, he said, "is wrong and must be altered."

The Anglican Archbishop's strong protest with which, apparently, Father Hans Kung would have agreed drew an excellent letter from a member of the Anglican laity to the Anglican "Church Times," London, July 29, 1966. This correspondent said: "We protest; but there we stop. We wish, of course, that both parents should share in the upbringing of their children; but it is obvious that the children must be brought up in one communion only they cannot be Roman Catholic and Anglican both!" After pointing out that if the matter is to be left to the parents themselves and an Anglican marries, say, a Methodist or a Mormon, the Anglican Church should not mind if the parents bring the children up as Methodists or Mormons, not as Anglicans. "If that is so," the writer continues, "we should say so. If, on the contrary, we wish specific rules to be followed in all cases, we should say what the rules are. But Anglicans have never positively stated in what way the matter could be dealt with. It is surely high time that our protests were accompanied by concrete proposals." One can only ask how Archbishop Ramsey would solve the dilemma confronting him. The Lutheran Synod in Germany would provide him with the only logical answer to it, if all compromising of principles is to be avoided.

563. When and why did it become a serious obligation in Australia for Catholic parents to send their children to a Catholic school wherever such a school is available?

Basically, the reason is found in the obligation of parents in the sight of God to provide not only for the bodily welfare of their children, but for their spiritual welfare also, having them taught their religion and trained in the practice of it, in order that they may save their souls. Parents give life to their children, and should give it properly both in this world and the next. As regards the school question in Australia, at first, from its founding as a British colony in 1788, the only schools available were religious schools conducted by the Protestant clergy, with financial help from the Government. Catholic children had to attend those, to the great detriment of their faith. When Father Therry arrived in 1820, he set about establishing Catholic schools for Catholic children. He obtained Government financial support for them, and for the next forty yeai[s there was a twofold church-school system, Protestant and Catholic. In 1866 the Government began to establish a State school system also; but while the State schools were independent of the Churches, an anti-Catholic atmosphere prevailed in them. Also, the State-paid teachers in the Catholic schools were subjected to a lot of interference by the Public School Board. To solve these difficulties, a Catholic Association was formed to bring to Australia Religious Orders from abroad to staff the Catholic schools. With the arrival of different Orders of Brothers and Nuns, the Catholic Bishops issued a joint Pastoral Letter in 1868 declaring that Catholic parents could not, without serious sin, expose their children to the danger of losing their faith by sending them either to Protestant religious schools or to the State secular schools, but were gravely obliged to send them to Catholic schools wherever these became available. Where these were not available, parents and priests alike were obliged to make sure that Catholic children were well-instructed and trained in their religion both in the home and in the parish church. That has remained the Catholic position since the joint Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops in 1868.

564. Does the duty under pain of sin apply to Catholics in other countries?

Long before Australia had been colonised at all, different Popes at various times had been anxious about the religious welfare of Catholic children in non-Catholic countries; and, with England, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and the United States of America in mind, had decreed that so serious is the moral obligation before God in the matter of education that Catholic parents cannot be admitted to the Sacraments if they send their children to non-Catholic schools where Catholic schools are available unless there are sufficient reasons for doing so which have been approved by the local Bishop, and even then, unless alternative provision is made for the children's thorough instruction in their religion. The Code of Canon Law, which embodies the substance of many previously existent decisions and documents of the Church, and which is applicable to Catholics in all countries today, insists that in the education of Catholic children religious and moral training must take the first place; and that in places where Catholic schools do not yet exist there is an obligation in conscience, binding priests and people alike, to establish them as soon as it is practicable to do so.

565. Are not Catholic parents obliged to have as many children as their marriage makes possible?

It would be an exaggeration to think that. The Catholic Church certainly regards parenthood as the glory of marriage and children as a great blessing. But in solving your problem, a basic principle has to be kept in mind. As the begetting of children is lawful only within the married state, by marrying the parties take upon themselves the Godgiven duty of maintaining the human race. A couple who have only two children do no more than replace themselves, and this would not preserve the human race if allowance is made for those who for one reason or another do not marry; or, if they do, are childless through no fault of their own. For the maintenance and propagation of the human race in general, therefore, the normal duty of those who marry and are able to do so is to have, not two, but four or five children, unless in particular cases abnormal circumstances should excuse individual couples from that obligation. Here it must be said that the Church certainly holds that to have a larger family than is strictly required is praiseworthy. But ideals and obligations are not the same thing. There are limits to what is strictly of obligation.

566. Which is better to have two children parents can adequately support and educate, or to have four or five children for whom they cannot adequately provide?

The Church does not say married people should have four or five children they are not able adequately to support. Parenthood includes not only the begetting but also the proper upbringing of children. There is no obligation to have more children than can be properly provided for. But in limiting the number of their children parents must be conscientious. They would be violating a serious duty if they neglected to have a sufficient number of children through an exaggerated love of their own comfort and pleasure, or a social ambition beyond reasonable standards.

567. Would not fewer and better educated children make better citizens?

Not many married people think beyond their own domestic interests and are concerned only with providing better citizens for the State. Even so, fewer and better educated children would not necessarily make better citizens. The sociological argument makes much of the contrast between quantity and quality. Yet it could well be that a couple who have four or five children brought up in frugal circumstances, children who are correspondingly more self-reliant and able to cope with difficulties, would prove in the end to have been greater assets as citizens than a couple with one or two children who had everything provided for them without effort on their part and who were strangers to all ideas of sacrifice and self-giving in their later lives.

568. Is it not the right of parents to regulate the size of their own families?

The Church admits the right of parents to decide for themselves on the spacing of their children at more convenient intervals than that of immediate succession to one another, and not to have a larger family than the four or five children it is their normal duty to have. If, however, they wish for good reasons thus to regulate child-birth, the Catholic Church teaches that according to the law of God it is not merely a church-law there are only two ways of doing that. By mutual consent the parties may either agree to abstain from marital relations altogether until another child is welcome; or at least to abstain from such relations during the few days of the fertile period each month, restricting themselves to the sterile period when, not they, but nature itself makes conception unlikely.

569. Catholics speak of a natural moral law as if it were God's law, obliging us to conform to natural processes.

Natural laws are naturally discoverable by human reason from a study of ourselves and the universe around us. They may be merely physical laws noted and classified by scientists. Even these can be called God's laws in so far as He is the Creator of the sort of universe this is. So the astronomer, reflecting on his discoveries, could rightly say: "I am but thinking God's thoughts after Him." As distinct from natural physical laws, the natural moral law is a judgment of reason about the way we, as human beings, ought to behave in accordance with a true estimate of the nature God has given us. Since He is our Maker, such a true estimate necessarily reflects His will for us, or He would not have made us the reasonable and responsible beings we know ourselves to be.

570. Family-planning by artificial methods of birth-control is said to be wrong because such methods "frustrate the course of nature".

The problem of contraception concerns the natural moral law rather than merely natural physical laws. Interference with the course of physical nature is not always morally wrong. Man has been given dominion over lesser things in creation. He may divert the natural course of a river for irrigation purposes, destroy noxious vegetation, and kill animals for food. But man has not been given dominion over his own life. That belongs to God and man is not morally free to take the law into his own hands as, for example, by committing suicide or murder. Equally subject to God are the processes ordained to the production of human life, in the sense that when human beings fulfil conditions setting these processes in operation, they may not do anything positively to prevent them from resulting in conception where, if left to themselves, they would do so. This natural moral law, as distinct from the merely physical laws of nature, concerns the essential relationships reason perceives between a vital function and the end to which it is ordained by God, the very Author of life; and the moral evil of contraception consists in usurping God's rights and frustrating purposes intended by Him.

571. Doctors interfere with natural bodily processes when they remove a diseased appendix or vaccinate us against some epidemic.

Diseases are attacks on man's life, and it is not in order to prevent or destroy human life but precisely to protect and save it that measures are taken to frustrate the diseases in their destructive work. There is no parallel between such cases and contraceptive practices.

572. Has not the unitive aspect of marriage a meaning and validity of its own, quite independently of the procreative aspect?

The unitive aspect of marriage exists in its own right and it is morally lawful to seek it as nature ordains even apart from the procreative aspect of marriage; as, for example, at times when nature itself is unproductive, either periodically or permanently. But the unitive aspect is not so independent of the procreative aspect that this latter, when it would be naturally operative, may be positively and deliberately prevented from having its effect. The moral obligation always remains not to do anything positively to frustrate God's purpose when nature itself, if allowed to take its course, would with its life-giving powers result in the fulfilment of that purpose. What is often forgotten is that there is no state in life which has not its irksome duties and responsibilities as well as its privileges. And love is not dispensed with, but exercised, in making necessary sacrifices for the sake of higher laws than those of physical attraction. Dr. De Guchteneere, a medical man, has some wise words on that in his book "Judgment on Birth Control." "Real love," he writes, "must be distinguished from a purely sexual attraction (for one can exist without the other, though generally tending to combine owing to the composite nature of man). This real love is built up essentially of the desire of the presence of the beloved, of a mutual sympathy and delight, but above all of a great need for devotion, for generosity, and a great thirst for the permanent and absolute. It finds its 'raison d'etre' in the person of the beloved." On the other hand, he says that a purely physical love is directed to one's own transitory and personal satisfaction in the experience of it. This kind of love is not its own law, so that anything is permissible which we may choose to call by the name of love without qualification. The natural moral law imposes on both parties the duty of not positively frustrating nature's vital processes. God is the Author of life and of the means adapted to the production of life; and man is not free here to take the law into his own hands.

573. Civilisation now has acceptable contraceptives to deal with the world's population explosion.

f contraceptive practices are of their very nature immoral, the adoption and refinement of them by what you term civilisation would not make them moral. Again, the overpopulation argument is an appeal "to expediency, which is valid only where the expediency is not at the expense of morality. The end does not justify the use of morally evil means; and contraceptive birth control is immoral, whether in an underpopulated or in an overpopulated country. Problems of overpopulation must be met, if we are to keep within the natural moral law, by a noncontraceptive means of family-planning; and, from a sociological point of view, by increased production and better distribution of the necessities of life. Despite the warnings of pessimists, the world's resources are such that there is no danger of global overpopulation in the foreseeable future, whether as regards living-space or food supplies. It is for man to exercise his ingenuity, within the limits of sound moral principles, in this regard. Also, God is not dead, nor is His providence inoperative.

574. Science, by the invention of the oral contraceptives, has done away with crude methods.

We are dealing with a question of moral conduct. Science doesn't come into it. If a man robs a bank in a crude, amateurish kind of way, and another man robs another bank with such scientific precautions and methods that even the police have to admire his skill, the fact remains that both are equally guilty of theft. Where birth prevention is concerned, the Church teaches that God Himself forbids the use of any methods at all, whether scientific or non-scientific, by which people deliberately try to stop conception from occurring where it would otherwise occur.

575. Where in the Bible is specific mention made of oral contraception?

Nowhere; any more than of committing suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.

576. May a Catholic marry a person who believes in birth control and insists that both must practise it for the first few years of marriage?

A Catholic would not be free in conscience to marry another person on condition of participating in that other person's declared intention of indulging in sinful conduct by contraceptive birth prevention. If, after having heard an explanation of the moral principles on this matter, as taught by the Catholic Church, one party declared an express intention of neither accepting nor practising them, a conscientious Catholic could only say no to the marriage, both parties then having to look elsewhere for a partner.

577. The Roman Catholic Church permits the "Rhythm" method for the avoiding of conception.

Not unconditionally. On October 29, 1951, Pope Pius XII said that within marriage restriction of marital relations to sterile periods is morally permissible provided there are sufficiently serious medical, eugenic, economic or social reasons for not having further children, at least for the time being.

578. Why is not the "Rhythm" method immoral?

During child-bearing years there are alternating periods of fertility and sterility which are quite natural in themselves. In itself, to exercise marital rights during natural periods of sterility is as lawful during childbearing years as it is after these have ceased altogether. But the use of marital rights during periods of fertility with a deliberate and positive frustration of its effects is an abuse of nature and directly opposed to the dictates of the natural moral law. There is a difference between the non-use of marital rights during fertile periods, and the use of them together with an abuse of them at such times.

579. In each case the intention is the same, to limit the family by avoiding further conceptions.

Granted in each case reasonable grounds for limiting the family, no difficulty arises concerning the intention being the same from that point of view. There is a vast difference, however, in regard to the means intended for that purpose. In the one case, there is the intention of using morally objectionable contraceptive means; in the other there is no intention of doing that, but the intention of practising self-restraint, restricting marital relations to times when nature itself is inoperative. Such an exercise of the right of abstention by mutual agreement does not involve a positive perversion of natural life-processes as a means towards family-limitation, where there are justifying reasons for that.

580. When was birth control by contraceptive means first forbidden by the Catholic Church?

From the very beginning. The earliest Christian writers make that quite clear. But in our own times the prohibition of contraception was particularly emphasised by Pope Pius XI. To understand why, we must get the setting. In August, 1930, reversing its own decisions of 1908 and 1920, the Anglican Lambeth Conference declared it morally lawful for married people to limit their families by contraceptive practices. World-wide publicity was given to this surrender to popular opinion. On December 31, 1930, Pope Pius XI issued an Encyclical "On Christian Marriage," in which he said: "Since openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition, some recently have judged it possible to declare another doctrine, the Catholic Church raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offence against the law of God and of Nature; and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin." The Encyclical made it quite clear that Pope Pius XI was speaking officially as supreme pastor of the Church, that he intended a definite and irrevocable pronouncement on the moral issue involved, and that all Catholics everywhere must regard themselves as obliged in conscience to believe and hold the doctrine he thus proclaimed, whatever others might say to the contrary. Catholics, therefore, were left in no doubt as to where they stood in the matter; and, in fact, they would have been shocked had the Pope spoken in any other way. Incidentally, many Anglicans agreed with Pope Pius XI, rejecting the Lambeth Conference capitulation. Writing in the London "Church Times," March 5, 1948, the Anglican Dean of St. Albans, the Very Rev. C. C. Thicknesse, said that the Lambeth decision was not binding on Anglicans. "If any sanction is given at all to the use of contraceptives," he wrote, "no power on earth can prevent them being used both illicitly outside the marriage-bond and self-indulgently within it. The present consequences of the Lambeth resolution have gone a very long way indeed beyond the intention of those who most regrettably voted for it. It has happened before in the history of the Church and of the country that the majority has proved itself wrong." The Catholic Church, however, was unwavering. On October 29, 1951, Pope Pius XII, addressing a Midwifery Society, repeating the teaching of Pope Pius XI, saying that nothing "can change an action that is intrinsically immoral into an action that is moral and lawful." This, he said, "is as valid today as it was yesterday, and it will be the same tomorrow and always; for it is not a mere precept of human law but the expression of a natural and divine law. Direct sterilisation, whether permanent or temporary, which aims at making procreation impossible, is forbidden by the natural law from which the Church has no power to dispense."

581. Did either Pope Pius XI or Pope Pius XII condemn the contraceptive pill?

Contraception by means of a pill taken orally did not come on the scene until 1953. Pope Pius XI, who died in 1939, had never heard of it. Nor could Pope Pius XII have had it in mind during his address in 1951 on birth-control practices. With the advent of the pill, a new moral problem arose. The pill could be swallowed without a perversion of the normal and natural act itself within marriage. It affected only the generative process, making conception impossible by suspending ovulation for as long as this so-called "anovulant" pill was regularly taken. In 1958, dealing with that problem, Pope Pius XII, in an address to a medical Congress, said that the pill, by suppressing the natural function of ovulation, constituted a direct temporary sterilisation and was forbidden as an intrinsically wrong procedure. He added that any moral theologian suggesting that such a practice could be permitted would be in error. That was the first official Catholic ruling against the pill.

582. If either of these Popes condemned the pill, why all the later discussion and confusion?

Pope Pius XII gave his ruling on September 12, 1958, and died on the following October 9. Pope John XXIII was elected on October 28. After the death of Pius XII, some Catholic medical men and moral theologians said that his ruling would certainly be right if, in fact, the pill caused a temporary sterilisation. But they argued that, since ovulation would function again quite normally when the pill-taking stopped, the pill could not be called a sterilising agent at all but should be regarded as being a medicinal control of fertility. Other doctors and theologians said this was merely a playing with words and that the pretended "medicinal control" was by means of suppressing the function of ovulation, as Pius XII had said, for as long as the pill-taker wished. In view of this controversy, further clarification became necessary and Pope John XXIII, while maintaining in his social Encyclical "Mater et Magistra" that contraceptive birth-control is morally unlawful, set up a special Commission to study all aspects of world population and family life and to submit its findings to the Holy See for further consideration. Pope John died in 1963, and his successor, Pope Paul VI, enlarged the Commission on an international scale, the members being drawn from over a dozen different countries and consisting of theologians, sociologists, economists, medical experts and married lay people. The conclusions of the Committee were not finalised and given to the Pope until 1966.

583. Did the Second Vatican Council deal with the matter?

The Council ended on December 8, 1965. On June 23, 1964, three months before the Council's Third Session, Pope Paul publicly declared that the 1958 ruling by Pius XII was to be regarded as binding so long as he himself, Paul VI, did not feel bound in conscience to modify it. "In such a serious matter," he said, "Catholics should want to follow a single law proclaimed authoritatively by the Church." He added that "no one should take it upon himself to speak in terms differing from the rule still in force." That left no Catholic free in conscience to use the pill for contraceptive purposes, no priest free to sanction such use, and no Catholic doctor free to prescribe it. The Vatican Council, in its 1965 Decree "On the Church in the Modern World," n.51, contented itself with saying that Catholics "may not regulate generation by means found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its interpretation of the divine law." In a footnote to the document attention is drawn to the teachings of Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, and to Pope Paul VI's June 23, 1964, statement.

584. Did not Pope Paul VI simply ignore the findings of the Papal Birth Control Commission?

That has been frequently said, mostly by those with little understanding of the position but also by some who knew better yet reprehensibly fostered the prejudices of the ill-informed. The facts are these. The Papal Commission had an advisory role only, with no authority to pronounce a verdict. It presented the Pope with two reports, a majority one favouring permission of the pill in certain circumstances; a minority one against any alteration of the law. Those favouring a change had not even a two-thirds majority. They amounted to about 55% and manifested among themselves many different approaches to the problem. The Commission arrived at nothing like a morally unanimous opinion. On October 29, 1966, addressing a representative group of obstetricians and gynaecologists, the Pope said the two reports could not be considered "definitive"; that they raised many other and serious problems on which he himself had to reflect; and that in the meantime the law as it had hitherto been taught by the Church still demanded "faithful and generous observance" as being the will of God and based, not on any particular interest, but on "a supreme concern for human life seen in its entirety, dignity and destiny." On July 25, 1968, after almost two years of close study of the reports, Pope Paul issued his Encyclical "Humanae Vitae" (entitled in English, "On the Regulation of Birth"). In it, speaking as he said "in virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ," he re-affirmed the constant teaching of the Church that it is intrinsically immoral for married people when exercising their marital rights to use any means whatsoever directly intended to render conception impossible.

585. When the Pope's Encyclical was published there was a worldwide outcry of protest even from many Catholics, who claimed that he had misled them into thinking the contraceptive pill would be declared lawful.

The Pope misled no one into thinking the pill would be approved. While leaving no room for any impression that his decision was overhastily given, without due consideration of all factors affecting the case, he constantly stressed that the hitherto accepted teaching of the Church was "in possession", still in force, and to be regarded by all Catholics as binding in conscience, unless and until he himself decided that new aspects of the subject made some modifications of it permissible. Catholics who protested against his decision were sadly wanting in a spirit of faith. In his book "The Belief of Catholics," Msgr. Ronald Knox speaks of the boon it would be "if only there were some great spiritual institution which would act as a sort of public conscience guiding, from a higher point of vision, the moral choices made by the individual." As Catholics, we have that advantage. The Pope, assisted by the Holy Spirit, spoke from "the higher point of vision," far above the levels of a lax and permissive secularism. He himself foresaw and said that his teaching would not "be easily received by all;" but it was the only possible solution and we should be grateful for it. When the Anglican Lambeth Conference in 1930 yielded to popular opinion by permitting contraception, the Rev. J. H. Lloyd Thomas, an Anglican clergyman of Birmingham, wrote in the "Hibbert Journal" for July, 1930, that Lambeth had left Anglicans with no authoritative moral theology on the subject. On the other hand, he wrote: "We can all be magnanimous enough to recognise that Rome, in a uniquely tenacious way, is the moral witness of the Christian Church. The supreme attraction of Rome is to be found in its ethical rigorism. Rome is the one uncompromising corporate witness to the moral code of Christendom. It represents the last loyalty of the human race to its own highest moral standards against the corrupting neo-paganism of our times." Those words, written in July, 1930, could equally well have been written in July, 1968, on the occasion of Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae Vitae," setting out the Christian principles to be observed in "The Regulation of Birth." Had all, and not merely the majority of Catholics, bishops, priests and laity alike, in a spirit of faith, humility and obedience, gladly accepted the clear directives of the Pope, much of the later confusion and fomenting of discontent would have been avoided. But faith, humility and obedience are not second nature to man, who finds it difficult to detach himself from his own opinions, self-esteem and spirit of independence. Far too many, instead of having recourse to prayer, resorted to propaganda for their own ideas, claiming to be doing so in the name of conscience, although theirs was anything but a truly Catholic conscience.

586. What authority attaches to the "Humanae Vitae" Encyclical?

Pope Paul VI makes it clear that in his Encyclical he is exercising his supreme teaching-authority in the Church as willed by Christ and with the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit, for the safeguarding of faith and morals. The Pope does not exercise his supreme teachingauthority only when he speaks "ex cathedra" in technically infallible definitions. Vatican Council II, in its "Constitution on the Church," n.25, declares that the Pope's supreme teaching-authority, even when he does not speak "ex cathedra", "must be acknowledged with reverence and sincere assent must be given to decisions made by him according to his mind and intention." These are made known chiefly by the character of the document, the frequent stressing of the same doctrine, and the way in which the Pope speaks. On these three tests there is no room for doubt that the present Papal Encyclical contains the authentic teaching of the Catholic religion, gives us not merely a probability but a true moral certainty of its truth, and imposes upon us an obligation in conscience to regard it as proclaiming the genuine standard of Christian conduct.

587. The Pope nowhere in his Encyclical says that using oral contraceptives is mortal sin.

In n.25 of his Encyclical he says that those subject to such a sin should have recourse to the mercy of God which is poured forth in the Sacrament of Penance. All Catholics know that venial sins are not necessary matter for confession. Forgiveness of those can be obtained in other ways. It would be a sheer quibble to pretend that because Paul VI did not expressly use the words "mortal sin" he did not intend to reaffirm the verdict of Pope Pius XI that those practising contraception in any way are guilty of an objectively grave sin. If a newspaper report said: "The accident proved fatal," how many readers would argue: "Ah, yes; but the report doesn't expressly say that the man was killed!

588. Does our Catholic faith as such demand acceptance of Pope Paul's ruling?

Undoubtedly. The virtue of faith is one of which we can have more or less. We can intensify it by exercising it, or allow it to diminish, or even lose it, by infidelity to its promptings. We must get over the idea that faith demands merely stopping short of heresy and the denial of actually defined dogmas. When we speak of the faith of a Catholic, we are concerned not only with the content of that faith, but with the spirit and virtue of faith; and as a virtue faith is bound up with acceptance of all that our religion demands of us. From this aspect, it cannot be said that our faith leaves us free to reject the Pope's authoritative teaching in his Encyclical on birth control. The spirit of faith dictates our acceptance of it. Above all, those who take a public stand against his teaching, doing harm to the faithful by disseminating their recalcitrant views, are guilty of giving grave scandal. If we do not see this, then the prayer of the apostles: "Lord, increase our faith" (Lk., 17:5) should become our own constant appeal.

589. "The Australian", Sept. 10, 1968, reported the statement of 70 students of Newman College, Melbourne University, as saying: "It is our overriding belief that birth control must be regarded as a matter in which the individual conscience is the final arbiter."

The overriding belief of a Catholic, who still professes to be a Catholic and has an adequate knowledge of his religion, is that the Catholic Church, in any authoritative rulings concerning faith or morals, is our divinely-appointed guide. Once the Church has authoritatively declared what the Catholic conscience should be, a truly Catholic conscience faithfully echoes a corresponding sense of duty within us; and we are following our conscience in fidelity to such guidance with a very definite conviction, dictated by our faith, that such is our obligation in the sight of God.

590. The students said further: "If a right conscience is to be formed, Catholics must be given the opportunity of hearing and discussing all the arguments".

They would not necessarily attain to an objectively right conscience in that way, although they might attain to a certain degree of proficiency as debaters. Meantime, those not educationally capable of engaging in such debates know they have a right conscience if theirs is what the Catholic Church declares a Catholic conscience ought to be. For all Catholics the conditions are the same. Clever people have no advantage where the soul's religious welfare is concerned by the mere fact of being clever. For all of us the Pope's official teaching, proclaimed as he says "by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ," carries weight by its own inherent authority. If one doesn't see things like that, then he is not seeing things as a Catholic at all.

591. According to the "Australian", July 31, 1968, the Rev. B. R. Davis, of the Australian Council of Churches, said that the Pope's Encyclical would greatly hinder the Ecumenical Movement because the World Council's Assembly at Uppsala, Sweden, had endorsed contraception.

Earlier, on July 16, it was also reported that Eastern Orthodox Church delegates at Uppsala protested against the World Assembly's decision because it was opposed to the teachings of their own Churches, and also because it would greatly hinder ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church! Few people understand the Eastern Orthodox position in this matter. It is clearly stated by Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis, Dean of Holy Cross Theological College, in his book "Parents and Priests as Servants of Redemption," (1958). On p. 56 he says: "The Church rejects any proposal of toleration of all unnatural practices like birth control and birth prevention. That this practice violates the sacred purpose of matrimony is beyond doubt." He quotes a joint Encyclical Letter issued on October 14, 1937, by Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens, together with fifty-five other Bishops, in which they said contraceptive birth control is to be condemned, and also any lax teaching on the subject by individual Greek Orthodox priests. Of such false teaching they wrote: "The laxity of the confessor on the question of birth control, opposing his personal opinions to the official and true doctrine of the Orthodox Church and endorsing such a practice creates great and criminal scandals for which the responsibility of such a priest is tremendous. To him the words of the Lord are directed: 'They are blind leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch'." The official teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Churches is that married people have only two choices morally permissible for them; either to abstain by mutual agreement from marital relations, or to accept such children as God sends.

592. It seems evident that teachings on contraception will be one of the big obstacles to the reunion of the Churches.

There is no doubt about the gravity of the problem. Walter Lippman, in his book "A Preface to Morals," p. 291, says that contraceptive birth control "is the most revolutionary practice in the history of sexual morals." Granted the driftage from Christian standards, which are always easier to forsake than to regain, it is difficult to envisage those who have abandoned them eagerly seeking reunion with the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches which insist on more exacting standards. We can only leave the problem to God and to the consciences of men, continuing to proclaim the true doctrine in this matter, at least sufficiently frequently to leave people under no illusions as to what our doctrine is.

593. When precisely does human life begin?

On September 20, 1967, addressing the "World Congress of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians," held that year in Australia, Professor Hubert de Watteville, of Switzerland, said: "A human life begins at the moment of conception; that is, when the male sperm unites with the female ovum and the fusion of chromosomes occurs." Professor de Watteville said he was a Protestant, not a Catholic, and that the scientific view he gave was shared by most people who had really studied the physiology of reproduction. Biologically, the living male sperm and female ovum separately are not specifically human lives. Each alone has only half the number of chromosomes required to form a specifically human zygote or embryo. When the ovum is fertilised, the united chromosomes between them make up the full number characteristic of the human species, and it is then that a human life begins.

594. Have the scientific facts any moral implications?

Professor de Watteville insisted that they have, but said that he personally "did not draw a moral from them." That, surely, seems a morally irresponsible position. If any of our activities have moral implications, it is our conscientious duty to decide whether what we contemplate doing is morally permissible or not. Later, in his address, Professor de Watteville said: "We gynaecologists represent the authority of medical morality in this field." But in saying that, since he had previously said he did not draw a moral from the scientific facts, he was referring merely to what he considered to be the accepted practices of the medical profession, whether or not they differed from the standards of morality which he would, as a professing Christian, observe in other matters. So he went on to say that, according to his "medical ethics," he was not opposed "to abortion in certain circumstances." As a matter of fact, this tolerant attitude is opposed even to the famous "Physicians Oath" drawn up by the Greek physician Hippocrates in the fourth century B.C., which included the promise: "I will not assist any woman to bring about an abortion."

595. Are not therapeutic abortions justified to safeguard the physical or mental welfare of the mother?

Most non-Catholic medical men not all hold that such so-called therapeutic abortions, as distinct from criminal abortions, are ethically justified. But sincere as they may be in their desire to avoid what is morally wrong, they fail to advert to the basic moral principles involved. The direct killing of an innocent unborn child at any stage of its life as a means to any end, however apparently good, is to fall back on the false ethical principle that the end justifies even morally evil means. To hold that medically-indicated or therapeutic abortions are morally justified ignores the intrinsic nature of the action involved and the usurping of rights over life which God has expressly denied to men by His commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." Exod., 20:13. We may not do evil that good may come wherever moral issues are at stake a principle most medical men at least would insist upon in every sphere other than that of their therapeutic abortions. When it comes to those, they rationalise the principle out of existence!

596. If surgeons may remove an appendix from a woman for the sake of her health, why not an unborn foetus which is still part of the mother?

The unborn foetus cannot be regarded as an organ constituting part of a woman's anatomy as an appendix does. Sir Charles Sherrington, one of the world's most eminent physiologists, emphasises the independence of the embryo's existence from the very beginning. In his book "Man on his Nature," p. 72, he writes: "The embryo is never any part of the mother, never at any time at all part of the maternal life." Through all stages of pre-natal life, the embryo, foetus, and child ready for birth, is a distinct and living organism. From the very beginning it has in itself all its own powers of self-development until it reaches full maturity. It receives nothing from outside itself, no organ, no part, but only oxygen and nourishment from the mother's blood to enable it to go on living and growing until it is able to receive that oxygen and nourishment in another way after its birth. But it is the same individual human being with its own distinct and separate soul before birth as afterwards. The child, as a living human being, has an inherent right to birth, and freedom to engage in the activities proper to all other human beings.

597. A woman, finding herself with a child she does not want, should be allowed to live her own life.

The problem concerns somebody else's life. The unborn child has its own life, proper to itself. In a 1955 B.B.C. talk, Dr. Abercrombie, Lecturer in Embryology at London University, said: "The embryo is not part of the mother but a unique individual from the beginning." The conclusion to be drawn from that is really obvious even if people refuse to see it who do not want to see it.

598. Legalised abortion would do away with "butchers" in back alleys, restricting it to qualified doctors, with less risk to the lives of mothers.

There is no evidence that legalised abortion would do away with abuses at the hands of unqualified operators. In Sweden, legalising on the most liberal scale has had little effect in diminishing illegal abortions, women wanting no one to know anything about their affairs and refusing to approach Government officials. Even if the system worked, however, the lesser of two evils argument is valid only provided no morally evil means is employed to improve the position. The direct killing of a living, innocent and unborn child means the murder forbidden by God's commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." No good purpose we may have in mind can justify legalising that.

599. Women wanting abortions should be protected by law.

A law permitting abortions would conflict with existing laws protecting the rights of unborn children. State laws in many countries recognise that an unborn child has full human rights from the moment of conception. Such laws grant the right of an unborn child through next-of-kin to sue for damages owing to pre-natal injuries due to negligence, and even for property-rights. In a court case involving compensation to an unborn child for injuries culpably inflicted, a Chicago judge said: "An unborn child has as much right to be born well as it has a right to live." In such a judgment the child's moral right to life is regarded as beyond dispute. "Time" magazine, April 30, 1965, said: "Scores of cases in all Western countries have been won by infants." The law itself should not try to have things both ways, insisting on the unborn child's lesser human rights yet legally entitling a doctor to deprive it of the greater human right that to life itself. It should brand as murder any direct and wilful destruction of a living unborn child just as in the case of one already born. In England the recently formed "Society for the Protection of Unborn Children," urging the fulfilment of the United Nations' "Declaration on the Rights of the Child," demands that all children should be given legal and ethical status from the moment of conception.

600. I neither advocate nor defend abortion; but I object to its being described as killing or murder.

When asked to what ethical category abortion belongs, one is justified in saying that it belongs to the category of unjustified homicide or murder in objective fact, whatever some people may subjectively think about it. Last January (1967), when the British House of Commons was debating the proposed "Medical Termination of Pregnancies Bill," Dr. Ian Donald, a London University Regius Professor of Midwifery, explained to a special meeting of over a hundred members of parliament the three main methods of getting rid of an embryo or foetus, saying that "in each case you have to kill it." There are, however, over six hundred members of the House of Commons, and those in favour of the Bill had the numbers. The "Abortion Act" got through. It will not be long before its disastrous consequences become manifest. However, while in civil law it would be libellous to describe a doctor operating within the law as personally a murderer, there is nothing to prevent one from saying that abortion as such and in itself is murder in the sight of God. If a doctor performing abortions said he himself had no sense of wrong-doing, he would have an ill-informed and erroneous conscience, not only from the viewpoint of the divinely-revealed law of God, but even from that of the natural moral law itself which found expression in the pre-Christian Hippocratic Oath, and has been reaffirmed in our own times by the Geneva Declaration of an International Medical Congress which said that every doctor's resolve must be: "I will preserve the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception."

601. Euthanasia means putting incurably sick people to death, yet according to the enclosed press report the Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen supports it.

The clipping you send is from the London "Daily Telegraph and Morning Post," of June 18, 1963, declaring the report to be from "its own correspondent, New York." It is an excellent example of how things can be misrepresented in headlines; for the item is published under the caption: "Mercy Death Permissible Says Bishop." The editor must have known that most readers would understand by "Mercy Death" simply euthanasia, or deliberately putting to death in a painless way people suffering from incurable illnesses. Such a deliberate killing would be murder, and Bishop Fulton Sheen would utterly condemn it.

602. The report says that Bishop Sheen, addressing the American Medical Association, said it was "permissible under certain circumstances to allow a person to die".

Note the choice of words. To allow a person to die, letting nature itself take its course, is a very different proposition from deliberately ending a man's life by killing him; and even then, there is the qualification "under certain circumstances."

603. Bishop Sheen said: "If I were a hopeless cancer patient, kept barely alive by a battery of tubes and other devices, I would ask for them to be taken away. I find no moral difficulty in this".

All Catholic theologians would agree with that. It is a doctor's duty to alleviate suffering, but basically he exists to save life, not to destroy it. That forbids all direct and deliberate killing of a living person. In the case, however, of an incurable person where there are no grounds for hope that he can be restored to health and it is clear that to prolong his life longer than he would normally live would be, not to alleviate his sufferings but to make him endure still more, then it would be quite lawful morally to omit, not ordinary medical and nursing care, but all extraordinary measures to keep him alive, such as special oxygen supplies through tubes, blood transfusions, intravenous feeding and drug stimulation, natural developments in the case being allowed to take thencourse.

604. I see no difference between killing and withholding treatment to keep a patient alive.

The difference is between murder and allowing the patient to die of natural causes. A patient, dying of an incurable disease permitted by God which has reached its terminal stages, is quite entitled to say to his doctor: "Let God take me, without any further special efforts to prolong my life." In 1947, Pope Pius XII, addressing an International Congress of Anaesthetists, said that in hopeless cases doctors have no duty to continue artificial means beyond ordinary forms of treatment in order to postpone death, unless patients themselves request them. If they do ask for them, it is the doctor's duty to comply with the patient's wishes as far as possible.

605. Surely decisions about his own life rest with the patient, not with the doctor.

It is the patient suffering from the prolonged and incurable illness, who has the right to decide that the disease God has permitted should not be allowed to take longer to kill him than it would, if just left to take its natural course. The doctor, therefore, must consider the wishes of the patient, who has the right to use or refuse additional efforts beyond the ordinary to make him live longer than he otherwise would. Granted this acknowledgment of the primary right of the patient, the doctor may regard as his own rule: "Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive officiously to keep alive."

606. Did the Vatican Council permit Catholics to choose cremation rather than earth-burial for the disposal of their remains?

The Council itself allowed only for earth-burial, making provision in its Decree on the Liturgy, n.81, for a revision of prayers to be used on the occasion. A special Instruction of the Holy See on May 8, 1964, however, abolished the severe church penalties incurred by Catholics choosing cremation. In the 19th century, atheists were using the idea of cremation as a means of anti-religious propaganda, especially to promote their teaching that death meant the end of everything for man, and that there is no immortality of the soul or future resurrection of the body. Few people regard cremation in that way today. But in abolishing such penalties, the Holy See made it clear that this in no way indicated an approval of cremation. The 1964 Instruction said all care must be taken to maintain the custom of earth-burial wherever possible, and to ensure that Catholics will avoid the choice of cremation. Catholics are still to regard earth-burial in ground set apart and consecrated by the rites of the Church as the normal way for themselves, to the exclusion of cremation.

607. What precisely is the position of the Church in this matter now?

Here we must ask what the Church forbids, or permits, or merely tolerates. She positively forbids the choice of cremation from antireligious motives. Where such motives are evident, the Last Rites of the Church must be refused. She permits cremation in exceptional cases where good reasons make it advisable or necessary, as in epidemics, or where civil law requires it owing to lack of burial-areas, as in Japan and other countries. She merely tolerates it where Catholics think they have serious personal reasons for wanting to be cremated, although she in no way authorises such a preference. In cases where the Church either permits or tolerates such a choice, the Last Sacraments may be given and Catholic burial rites granted.

608. If a Catholic is eligible for the Last Rites of the Church, would the priest attend at the Crematorium itself and offer prayers there?

The Instruction on this matter forbids that, allowing the priest to officiate only at funeral rites in the church and at the cemetery, should the ashes of the cremated Catholic be buried or placed in a family grave there. The Instruction declares that the priest's non-attendance at the Crematorium is in order to show the Church's disapproval of cremation where Catholics are concerned.

609. As regards censorship of what Catholics may read, did the abolition of the "Index of Forbidden Books" in 1966 mean the end of censorship of any kind?

The word censorship has fallen into disrepute with many people where almost every aspect of life is concerned. It would be better, then, to speak of a supervision exercised by the Church in the fulfilment of her duty to safeguard the faithful from erroneous teachings and influences where faith and morals are involved. No one can deny that duty. It would be highly irresponsible on the part of the Church to neglect it. St. Paul bade the assembled Bishops at Ephesus to take care of the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit had placed them as leaders (Acts 20:28); he urged Timothy to fulfil the duties of his office reproving, entreating and pleading with his people lest they should abandon sound doctrine and turn to fables instead according to their own desires (2 Tim., 4:2-5); and he admonished the faithful to submit to their leaders who watch over their souls as men who will have to give an account for them (Heb., 13:17). These responsibilities are wide-ranging in thenscope, and it would be a mistake in connection with them to think only of what was known as the "Index of Forbidden Books."

610. What was the nature of the "Index", and when was it first introduced?

It was first introduced over four hundred years ago, in 1557. The invention of the printing press in the preceding century had led to a multiplication of books, many of which were subversive of religion and morals, and often, in that early Reformation period, directly hostile to the Catholic Faith. The more significant works of such a kind were condemned by the Church, declared forbidden reading for Catholics, and listed in a catalogue or "Index" for the guidance of priests in the exercise of their ministry much as civil laws and regulations are published in a "Government Gazette" for the guidance of lawyers and judges in their own sphere of work. The Index was often revised during the centuries, obsolete works being omitted as more recent ones were added, the last revised edition being published in 1948. On December 7, 1965, in accordance with the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI replaced the "Congregation of the Holy Office" with a new "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;" and on June 14, 1966, this new Congregation declared obsolete the "Index" itself, which had been under the administration of the Holy Office, and which therefore no longer formed part of the disciplinary laws of the Church. It was not the intention of the new Congregation to do away with any rules in this matter at all, but rather to decentralise administration, transferring responsibility to the Bishops throughout the world, each in his own diocese.

611. As far as Catholics are concerned, what is the position today?

In practice, as it always has been. They will experience no noticeable difference. In its June 14 decree, the new Congregation said that the general law which is really included in the obligation to avoid all voluntary occasions of sin remained; namely, that Catholics may not read literature known to have been written in order to undermine their faith or morals, and must cease from reading literature which they personally find to be a source of serious temptation to themselves in such matters. In particular, besides this general obligation, the new Congregation said that it is the duty of each Bishop in his own diocese to supervise publications, warning against bad and promoting good literature. Catholic writers are still obliged to obtain episcopal approval for the publication of books on religious subjects; and the "Nihil Obstat" and "Imprimatur" prefacing such books, showing that they have been duly examined and approved as at least not conflicting with Catholic teaching, will continue to be a valuable guide to the faithful in their choice of religious books. The Congregation added that, even granted such normal procedure, the Holy See still reserves to itself the right to intervene directly in cases where more than ordinarily serious matters are involved.

612. Am I wrong in deploring the abolition of our customary abstinence from the eating of meat on Fridays?

No Catholic need regard the practice itself as abolished. In your letter, you give as your reason that on the day on which our Lord gave up His life for us in such suffering, we could at least give up the pleasure of eating meat; and that Friday should not be the same for us as a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The Church fully agrees with you. The actual position is this. In 1966, Pope Paul VI, in a special "Apostolic Constitution," said divine law obliges us to do some penance or acts of self-denial in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel. He said, however, that while the Church esteems abstinence from meat as one of the customs observed for many centuries, especially on Fridays, he left it to the Bishops of various countries to decide what they thought suitable for their own regions. The Australian National Conference of Bishops stressed that all Fridays must be regarded as penitential days and recommended continued abstinence from meat on those days. But they decided that, from May 1, 1967, Australian Catholics may substitute for this some other form of selfdenial, such as abstaining from alcoholic drink, or from smoking, or from luxury foods; or they may choose to attend an additional Mass on Fridays, or make a charitable donation towards the relief of the poor. At any rate, some special act of self-denial on Fridays in honour of our Lord's complete self-sacrifice for us all on that day, and in expiation of our sins, is still an obligation in conscience.

613. If any duty in this matter remains, how serious is it?

The papal document of February 17, 1966, said that only "substantial observance" of prescribed penitential days obliges under pain of serious sin. Not every isolated neglect of one's penitential duty on Fridays other than those in Lent is, therefore, to be regarded as a serious sin. But a repeated and habitual neglect of any practices of selfdenial at all on Fridays would be a grave violation of the law and necessary matter for confession before receiving Holy Communion. Continued neglect during a period of three months would certainly constitute a "notable number" of Fridays proportionately to the fifty-two Fridays in the year and deserve to be ranked as gravely sinful. From a practical point of view, the better choice would be to follow the advice of the Bishops by retaining the regular custom abstaining from meat on Fridays. There is a very real danger that if one does not have a definite rule for oneself, but thinks to rely on various alternatives chosen haphazardly, one may fall into habitual disregard of any duty at all in this matter. The Australian Bishops have made it clear that in some way we are obliged in conscience to make all Fridays of the year penitential days.

614. Why does not the Catholic Church declare alcoholic drink of any kind to be a morally evil thing in itself and condemn it as such?

The supposition that alcoholic drink of any kind is morally evil in itself is a mistaken one.

615. Does not the overwhelming weight of biblical evidence show fermented wine to be a very great evil?

There is not a single biblical text declaring fermented wine to be an evil thing in itself. Psalm 104:15 speaks of it as one of God's good gifts "to gladden the heart of man." At the same tune, Scripture warns against the abuse of wine and utterly condemns drunkenness. So Proverbs 20:1 says: "Wine is a mocker; strong drink riotous; and whoever is led astray by it is a fool." St. Paul tells us, in I Cor., 6:10, that "drunkards . . . will not inherit the kingdom of God."

616. Paul, in 1 Cor., 10:31, says: "Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God",

That would exclude the abuse of wine, but not its use with due moderation. When the same St. Paul wrote to Timothy: "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (I Tim., 5:23) he was not advising Timothy to do anything contrary to the glory of God.

617. Could Jesus possibly condone the drinking of fermented wine?

He could not condone the abuse of it; but He could and did sanction the use of it. It is quite certain that, in His first miracle during the wedding feast at Cana, in Galilee, He changed water into wine in the strict sense of the word (Jn., 2:1-11). And He described how He himself, by His own use of wine, brought upon Himself the false charge of the Pharisees that He was a "glutton and a drunkard." Lk,, 7:34.

618. All alcoholics who have ruined themselves, broken their homes, and even killed people on the roads by drunken driving, have in all sincerity started as only moderate drinkers.

All people are not alcoholics. The vast majority of our citizens manifest sufficient sobriety to exclude our being called a nation of drunkards. And many people have ruined themselves and broken their homes by other vices, and even killed people on the roads by imprudent and even reckless driving without being addicted to alcoholic drink. The Catholic Church does not make light of drunkenness. She condemns it, as does Scripture itself. Man has obligations to God, to himself, and to his neighbour. Drunkenness violates all three obligations. All that, however, has to do with the abuse of drink. It does not justify a wholesale condemnation of the use of it. The Church commends "Total Abstinence Societies" and those who voluntarily join them; or those who, without doing so, simply decide for themselves as individuals to abstain from alcoholic drink of any kind. But she does not fall into the unwarranted extremism of declaring morally evil the use of alcoholic drink in due moderation.

619. The Catholic Church professes great respect for human life by forbidding contraception, abortion, and euthanasia; yet permits the destruction of human life by State capital punishment and men killing each other during wars between nations.

The cases are not parallel. As the Creator of human life God alone has supreme authority over it. No man, unless authorised by God, has rights over the lives of his fellow human beings. But both by the natural moral law and God's positive enactments the State is expressly authorised to safeguard social welfare by sentencing to death those guilty of capital crimes, and to preserve its own national existence by armed resistance to unjust aggression on the part of other nations. Within itself the State has no more right to put an innocent person to death than an individual citizen has that right; but the positive law of God as given to Israel, Exodus 21:12, declared as the penalty for murder: "Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death." And that not all wars are forbidden is made clear in Deuteronomy 20:1, where we read: "When you go forth to war against your enemies you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you who brought you out of the land of Egypt." There are national destinies entitled to vindication by military force if necessary.

620. Does the Church regard war as a good thing or as a bad thing?

Undoubtedly as a scourge, not a blessing. In Matt., 24:6, when our Lord predicted "wars and rumours of war," He ranked war with disasters such as famines and earthquakes. Pope John XXIII, as a young priest, was called up for military service during the First World War, 1914-1918. He knew at first hand the hardships of soldiers fighting in a war which was certainly not due to any decision of theirs. Writing in his "Journal of a Soul," he said: "God has left the control of the States to the free decisions of men. Men cause wars by their defiance of the most sacred laws governing human society. All that peoples suffering from them can do is to pray that the Lord in His mercy will bring the powerful men of this world to their senses and persuade them to make peace." Over forty years later, unexpectedly elected as Pope, he devoted his last Encyclical two months before he died on June 3, 1963, to "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth"), in which he said: "Everyone ardently yearns to see war banished, with peace prevailing and finnly established." The Church certainly regards war as a bad thing in itself.

621. If war is a bad thing, why does not the Church condemn all wars unconditionally and forbid the faithful to participate in them?

Because it is a duty to oppose armed resistance to armed aggression by those who unjustly resort to war in order to impose their will on other peoples, regardless of the rights of those peoples. After the Second World War, which ended in 1945, Pope Pius XII spoke repeatedly on this subject, despite all the horrors that war brought with it. In his Christmas Message, 1948, he said: "A people threatened with unjust aggression or already its victims may not remain passively indifferent, if it would think and act as befits Christians." In 1953, on October 3, addressing an International Convention of Lawyers, he said: "The right to be ready for defence cannot be denied, even today, to any State." In his Easter Message, 1954, he declared: "We will tirelessly endeavour to bring about by means of international agreements the abolition of atomic, biological and chemical warfare; but always in subordination to the principle of legitimate self-defence." In his Christmas Message, 1955, he urged disarmament, but not unilaterally. "No nation," he said, "is obliged to renounce nuclear weapons unless all do so." In his 1956 Christmas Message he returned to the same subject. "Even in present circumstances," he said, "lawful Governments do not act immorally if, other alternatives having failed, they decide on effective self-defence in ways they consider necessary;" and he added: "Therefore a Catholic citizen cannot invoke his own conscience in order to refuse to serve and fulfil those duties the law imposes." On May 21, 1958, in one of his last addresses before his death in the following October, he told a Congress of Italian Women-Auxiliaries that a nation has the right to defend itself against unjust aggression despite the "weapons ready for use being of unimaginable power." Pope Pius XII was anything but a war-monger. He took as the motto of his pontificate "Opus Justitiae Pax" ("Peace is the work of Justice"), and on the day after his election as Pope in 1939 he dedicated himself to the promoting of "peace among nations through fraternal help, reciprocal collaboration, and a deep human understanding for the higher interests of the great human family under the guidance and protection of Divine Providence."

622. can we hope for world-peace if the nations adopt no practical measures to ensure it?

Pope John XXIII dealt with that problem in his final 1963 Encyclical "Pacem in Terris," pointing out a key measure men have not yet thought of adopting, which they ought to adopt, and without which no lasting peace will be possible. Realistically he declared it not possible for the many different political communities with their conflicting ideologies to form one world-government. He agreed with Pope Pius XII on the necessity of a policy of simultaneous, not unilateral, disarmament. Admitting that the stockpiling of military weapons and above all the nuclear race are intended for the preserving of peace, he points out that the basic idea is that no one will dare to start another world-war, a policy indicating fear and mistrust between the nations, dispositions on which peace can never be built. Moreover, Pope John said, not only may continued nuclear tests have fatal consequences for life on earth by contamination, but with huge supplies of weapons available, despite all human calculations there is always a danger of war beginning through an unexpected and uncontrollable chance mistake. Granted simultaneous disarmament, governments must, with mutual trust, engage in sincere negotiations and observe strict fidelity to pledged agreements. But how obtain this? Pope John XXIII praised the efforts of the United Nations Organisation, but said that it is open to the suspicion of pressures within it of the more powerful countries, whilst its Security Council's measures are subject to a veto by any one member of it. The key solution to the problem which Pope John proposed was that there must be a Universal Public Authority voluntarily agreed upon by all nations, an impartial Authority above the U.N.O. and its Security Council, and indeed above all national interests, a Tribunal whose decisions will be accepted by all as having the force of law which all are obliged to observe. He declared that there is no other way to lasting peace. His Encyclical met with worldwide acclaim; but in practice his suggestion has been regarded as an unattainable ideal.

623. Can men determine to have their own way according to their own false scale of values even hope for peace?

Men and nations so differ as to what is right and just that, without a supervising and supreme authority to control their activities, conflict and wars are inevitable. As a result, armed resistance to unjust armed aggressions will also be inevitable. A denial of any right to such armed resistance would itself be based on a false scale of values. There are moral and spiritual realities of such importance to humanity that they can far outweigh the material and physical sufferings the defence of them against unjust aggressors could involve.

624. Does not the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" forbid all killing of fellow human beings, even by capital punishment for crimes or in wars declared necessary for self-defence?

The Commandment forbids the unauthorised killing of one human being by another with murderous intent. In closer conformity with the actual Hebrew text, therefore, the Protestant Revised Version of the Bible and also the Catholic translation by Msgr. Ronald Knox render Exodus 20:13 as "Thou shalt do no murder." Peake's 1962 Revised Commentary on the Bible says that the text "refers to murder, not to killing in war or capital punishment. Both of those the Old Testament sanctions unequivocally." Whatever else one may have to say about war, one cannot rightly quote this Commandment in connection with it, since the Commandment as given by God was not intended to deal with the subject.

625. Responsible scholarship shows the right translation to be "Thou shalt not kill", without any qualifications differing between murder and forms Of justifiable homicide.

It is not right to speak of "responsible scholarship" irresponsibly. The Old Testament editor of Peake's Revised Commentary (1962) is Hebrew Professor H. H. Rowley, of Manchester University, a Baptist whose responsible scholarship is acknowledged by all biblical experts, Protestant and Catholic alike. Another, Professor W. F. Albright, a Methodist Hebrew scholar and world-known archaeologist, also a member of the Advisory Board for the translation of the Revised Standard Ver-sion, writes expressly on our present subject in his book "History, Archaeology, and Christian Humanism" (1965). He points out, on p. 97, that Hebrew has three different words for different types of killing: "Lo'Tah-a-rog" meaning "Thou shalt not kill," in a quite general sense; "Lo' Tizbah," in the specific sense of "Thou shalt not slaughter animals;" and "Lo' Tirsah," in the specific sense of "Thou shalt not murder a fellow human being." Exodus 20:13 has, in the Hebrew, "Lo' Tirsah."

626. Even in the military defence of their country, soldiers are sent to kill enemy soldiers opposed to them.

Strictly speaking, the primary purpose of a nation engaged in a just war of self-defence is to disable the forces of the aggressive nation. It does not send its soldiers into the field to kill enemy soldiers just for the sake of killing them. Those taken captive must, even in a detention camp, be cared for reasonably, the wounded receiving necessary medical and surgical attention. International law requires that, even though it is not always observed as it should be.

627. Is it right to quote the Old Testament, ignoring the fact that Christians are not under the Mosaic Laws but are bound by the Lord's teachings?

It is true that the Old Covenant given through Moses ceased when it had served its purpose as a preparation for the New Covenant established by Christ. Many of the laws specifically proper to the Old Covenant, therefore, are no longer of obligation. So St. Paul wrote in Romans 6:14 that "we are not under the law, but under grace," and frequently condemned Judaizing tendencies in the early Church. Our Lord himself, however, said: "I have come, not to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them," Matt., 5:17. He was the realisation of their distinctively religious message. But, from the ethical or moral point of view, the Mosaic Law included basic principles of the natural moral law which are perpetually valid for all mankind and which Christianity therefore also includes. To the man who asked what he had to do in order to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied: "You know the commandments," and listed them for him (Mk., 10:19). Nowhere in the New Testament, however, can a word be found declaring any participation in war at all to be morally wrong.

628. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said God does not discriminate between just and unjust men in the present life (Matt., 5:45). War, therefore, even of the just against the unjust, cannot be reconciled with God's will.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was dealing with the personal dispositions His disciples must cultivate in their own lives, not with social duties in public life and the duties and mutual obligations of rulers and subjects. Obviously, in the external order, State authorities must discriminate between the just and the unjust, or no criminals could be arrested and punished, and the protection of society would be impossible. In our personal lives, to be like our Father in heaven who makes His sun rise upon the evil and the good, and sends His rain upon the just and the unjust, we should ourselves rise above our likes and dislikes in our treatment of other individuals we meet in our daily lives. But that has nothing to do with our duties as law-abiding citizens. St. Peter, therefore, tells us to obey public authorities "for so is the will of God" (I Pet., 2:15) and St. Paul declares that princes "bear not the sword in vain," to punish evildoers, although he adds that we should be subject to those in authority, not through fear, but "for conscience' sake" (Rom., 13:3-5). Nor does God's will exclude recourse to arms in national defence. Taking the New Testament as a whole, we read in Lk., 3:14 that when the soldiers asked St. John the Baptist: "What shall we do?" he replied: "Be content with your pay." He did not order them to abandon their military career as if that were an evil occupation of its very nature. So, too, when, in Matt., 8:9-10, the centurion begged our Lord to cure his servant, saying: "I'm under orders with soldiers under me, and when I give a command I am obeyed. You've only got to say the word and my servant will be healed," our Lord turned to His disciples and said: "Truly, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel." He made not the slightest suggestion that the centurion's profession as a military commander was a morally unlawful one.

629. Christ also said: "Resist not evil, but if one strike you on the right cheek, turn to him also the other." Matt., 5:38.

He was speaking proverbially, not literally. He himself did not externally fulfil His own words literally. Struck on the cheek during- His trial, He did not turn the other cheek but protested, saying: "If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why do you strike me?" Jn., 18:22. Later, St. Paul, struck on the mouth by the High Priest, said to that individual: "God shall strike you, you whited sepulchre, sitting there to judge me according to the law but ordering me to be struck contrary to the law." Acts 23:3. Even were one wrongly to take the words literally for oneself personally, it has been well said that where "turn the other cheek" is concerned, it must be your own cheek you offer for another blow, not somebody else's, letting others suffer harm you could prevent. From all this it should be clear that the text quoted cannot be used to decide the question of the legitimacy or otherwise of war; and that even where personal conduct is concerned, it is not meant to be taken literally, but as referring to interior dispositions of patience and charity.

630. In Matt., 5:44, Jesus said: "Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you."

That can be one's personal code of ethics at all times. But love itself may demand preventing enemies from putting their enmity into practice, and protecting others from it. In fact, we do good to enemies by frustrating their evil designs and bringing them to their senses. Nor, in our zeal for justice, charity and right order, need our motives degenerate into dispositions of personal hatred of anybody.

631. Also, in Matt., 5:9, Jesus said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God."

The "peacemakers" are not necessarily the "pacifists." The two are not to be identified. One can have peace as an individual by avoiding conflict at any cost, refusing to get involved in efforts to prevent the disorder and injustice which destroy peace for everybody else. But one is not a "peacemaker" who is prepared to let unjust conditions continue provided they don't affect him, letting others take a stand against them. One who really loves peace may have to fight in order to make it prevail, if others are bent on destroying it.

632. At His arrest, Christ said to Peter: "Put away your sword; he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Matt., 26:52.

One could ask here why Peter had a sword and why our Lord had not made him get rid of it long ago. However, our Lord had something else in mind. He merely declared the fact in a proverbial way that earthly warfare carries with it the risk of death in warfare. But He had come to die, not in battle, but in the way God's plan for man's redemption required. He had said of Himself: "The Son of man is come to give his life, a ransom for many." Mk., 10:45. The time for this was at hand, and Peter should not try to hinder that plan. So Christ said to him: "Put away your sword." It would be a complete misunderstanding of this incident to take it as a condemnation of war as always unlawful. One must keep in mind that Jesus did not come as a social reformer, to establish an earthly Utopia. Far from expecting wars to be eliminated, He predicted a continuance of "wars and rumours of war," as one of the hazards of life in this world. We know how in his parables he drew on every phase of home and social life, laborers, judges, and rulers. He treated their habitual ways of acting as just taken for granted. War was not excluded. "What king," He said, "about to go to war against another king does not first sit down and think whether he be able, with ten thousands, to meet him who with twenty thousands comes against him?" Lk., 14:31-32. Such methods he rejected in his own case because of His redemptive mission, not because armed resistance to unjust aggression was in itself wrong. As he told Pilate, were his kingdom of this world, his subjects would certainly fight (and rightly) in his defence (Jn., 18:36).

633. Is it not scandalous that Christians should go to war in order to kill many decent fellow Christians who may be among the opposing forces?

Death of some enemy soldiers may be an unhappy consequence of war, but to speak as if this were the primary intention is a fallacy. The primary purpose of an army is the welfare of the country it must defend; and to join that army can easily be a duty for eligible men in times of national danger. The intention of soldiers on active service is, not to kill "decent fellow Christians," but to put enemy forces out of action. If they wanted specifically to kill fellow Christians, they would have to ask every enemy soldier they encountered about his religion, on the score that they were looking for fellow Christians in order to exterminate them! That clearly does not do justice to the realities.

634. We are taught we are all brothers and are given the precept: "Love your neighbour."

All human beings are equally the children of God by creation and therefore brothers in that sense. But this does not alter the fact that as citizens in this world people belong to their own countries as natural social units and retain duties in the sphere of national loyalty. In a defensive war, a soldier is resisting those who would harm his immediate neighbours within his own nation, and proving his love for them even at the risk of his own life. In all this, it would be a quite wrong impression that I advocate war as such merely because I am called upon to show that biblical passages thought to exclude it altogether have been misapplied.

635. Did not the early Christians refuse to engage in any military service at all?

Some did, but it was certainly not the commonly accepted Christian practice. The Council of Aries, 314 A.D., after the conversion of Constantine, condemned Christians who refused military service. The Council's reason for this was because soldiers were then no longer compelled to take part in pagan religious rites. There is a great deal of misunderstanding in this matter. Recorded objections by Christians to military service during the first three centuries were based on the ground that the pagan State compelled soldiers to engage in pagan worship, offering sacrifice to the gods. Tertullian (160-220 A.D.) in his "De Corona," warns Christians of their duty to refuse this. But in his "Apologia," addressed to the Roman Prefects, he defends Christians against charges of civic disloyalty. "Side by side with yourselves," he wrote, "we Christians are sailors and soldiers, farmers and fellow business men in daily life."

636. Did the Vatican Council declare all war so evil that no Catholic could with a good conscience participate in any war?

It did not and could not make such a declaration, for it would not be true. In general the Council, in its "Constitution on the Church in the Modern World," adopted the programme set out in Pope John XXIII's 1963 Encyclical "Pacem in Terris" (See n.622 above). The Council's "Constitution," said in n.79: "As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, Governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defence once all means of peaceful settlement have been exhausted. State authorities and others who share public responsibility have the duty to protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care." It added: "Those who are pledged to the service of their country as members of its armed forces should regard themselves as agents of security and freedom on behalf of their people. As long as they fulfil this role properly, they are making a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace." It may, therefore, be the duty of a Government to engage in a defensive war and the duty of individual citizens to fulfil such military service as may be alloted to them.

637. Did the Vatican Council condemn nuclear warfare?

It drew attention to the fact that nuclear weapons are able to cause massive destruction far beyond the bounds of legitimate self-defence, and condemned their employment in such a way. In n.80 of its "Document" on the subject it declared: "Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation." Earlier the document says that those who give or blindly obey orders designed for the methodical extermination of an entire people, nation or ethnic minority are guilty of horrifying crimes, and the courage of those who refuse to obey such orders merits supreme commendation. According to the Council, then, not every war of self-defence is to be condemned; but this does not mean that any kind of warfare, involving even a wholesale slaughter of noncombatants, is permissible. The Council urges all men, especially governments and military leaders to weigh well their fearful responsibility in this matter before God and the entire human race.

638. Quoting Pope Pius Xll's 1956 statement that in a defensive war "a Catholic cannot invoke his own conscience in order to refuse to serve and fulfil those duties which the law imposes," you said a Catholic would have an erroneous conscience who felt obliged to refuse such service.

The position the Pope envisaged was one in which a freely-elected Government decided in a moment of extreme danger, all efforts to avoid war having been in vain, to engage in legitimate military self-defence. Normally, the Government with fuller and more detailed information at its disposal, is in a better position to judge the needs and merits of the case than the subjects; and it is the normal duty of a subject to defend his country's cause, refusing of course to engage in individual actions which are quite evidently wrong of their very nature from a moral point of view. A Catholic would have an erroneous conscience who thought otherwise.

639. Vatican Council said in its "Constitution," n.79, that State law should make humane provision for persons who in conscience refuse to bear arms, provided they agree to serve the community in some other way.

That does not say that objectively such persons have not an erroneous conscience. The very reference to "humane provision" is an appeal for compassion on those who subjectively and abnormally think themselves obliged to refuse combat duties should lawful authorities allot such duties to them. The same paragraph 79, in its final section, treats as both objectively and subjectively fulfilling their duty "those who are pledged to the service of their country as members of its armed forceis."

640. If a conscientious objector chose to be shot rather than undertake military duties involving the killing of others, would not God reward him for such self-sacrifice?

No normal Catholic would adopt such a position, differing from that of the vast majority of well-instructed and practising Catholics. In general, we would have to say that anyone making such a choice would in reality be sacrificing the cause of his country by depriving it of the services he could and should render it. Granted, however, that if such a man's action were not dictated by mere obstinacy of his own judgment and self-will, and that he died for what he sincerely but wrongly thought to be a Christian principle, God would reward him for his mistaken self-sacrifice because he was inculpably ingorant of his actual duty. Father Henry Davis, S.J., one of England's foremost moral theologians, wrote in his booklet "War and Pacifism," that "if a State is in fact unjustly attacked and calls upon its citizens to defend it, the pacifist attitude may not be adopted by any Catholic, since the rational presumption is, unless the contrary is quite evident, that the State has come to its decision on just and sufficient grounds." He added that a priest hearing confessions must regard a Catholic pacifist as a penitent with an erroneous conscience; entitled to sympathy, yes; but error is error and, if asked, the confessor must declare conscientious objection to be wrong from a moral point of view.

641. I myself know of some Catholics who have sought exemption from military service on grounds of conscientious objection.

Such Catholics cannot say that they have adopted such a stand because of their Catholic religion, for such a stand is contrary to Catholic teaching; they can appeal only to their personal opinion or persuasion on grounds of their own making, whatever be the reasons which led them to think in such a way. Whether they have developed their erroneous conscience culpably, or inculpably through not adverting to the need of inquiring as to what the teaching of the Church really is, we must leave to the judgment of God.

642. What did the Vatican Council say about pacifism in particular?

It did not deal directly with that subject. Indirectly the Council condemned pacifism by declaring a defensive war morally lawful in certain circumstances and that it is the duty of citizens called upon to do so to engage in the necessary military activities. Pacifists hold that all forms of war are intrinsically immoral and that no good end can justify resorting to such a means even in self-defence; in practice they urge a national policy of non-resistance even in the face of the most unjust and violent of aggressions. The Church agrees, of course, that all war involves great physical evils, but holds that it is morally lawful to endure those rather than the greater sufferings even to the loss of existence as a nation which could result from non-resistance to unjust aggression.

643. Has the Church ever officially expressed any direct opposition to pacifism?

The pacifist claims to be an advocate of peace even to the extent of declaring all wars to be wrong, defensive as well as aggressive. Pope Paul VI, on December 8, 1967, suggesting that the first day of January should be set aside as a "Day of Peace" each year, said that peace is an objective to be built up and defended. Peace, he said, is not a thing that is just going to happen. The first step towards it is to remove the causes of war, national rivalries, race hatred, the spirit of revenge, the stockpiling of armaments, and incitements to revolutions by violence. The second step is to awaken men from a false pacifism, wrongly confused with peace-making, which smothers in men's minds the meaning of justice, duty, love and peace. This false pacifism is really passivity and an excuse for refusing to do anything positive, even if uncomfortable, for the establishing and defence of peace. "Peace," he said, "is not pacifism. It does not mask a base and slothful concept of life, but proclaims the highest and most universal values of life, namely, truth, justice, freedom and love." He added: "The ideal of peace must not be made to favour the cowardice of those who fear it may be their duty to give their life for their country and brethren when these are involved in defence of justice and liberty; and who seek only a flight from their responsibility." One of our duties, then, is to strive to be "peace-makers;" to be "pacifists" is not.

644. Jesus said: "Love your neighbour as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

Those words do not tell in favour of pacifism; they exclude it. What the pacifist needs to ask himself is this: Were he being brutally assaulted by gangsters, would he wish others nearby and able to come to his assistance, to remain passive onlookers on the plea that they were pacifists, refusing to deal with the gangsters; or would he wish them to intervene and rescue him? If the latter, should he not do for others what he would wish others to do for him?

645. The parable of the Good Samaritan tells us to help others to achieve a well-being we ourselves think necessary for a contented life.

In order to help them do that, it may be necessary to prevent others from preventing it. What if those others are using violence and will desist only if violently compelled to do so? The good Samaritan came upon a man lying by the roadside, wounded, robbed and half-dead. But had he come earlier when the man was actually being assaulted, would he have been a good Samaritan had he declared himself a pacifist and looked on without doing a thing to stop the aggressors from half-killing and robbing their victim?

646. To show love, one does not first show hate. Hatred and killing breed revenge.

Defence of a victim of unjust aggression proceeds, not from hatred, but from love of one's neighbour who is suffering from the aggression; and it frustrates the hatred and ill-will of those afflicting him. The pacifist would stand by and let the hatred and violence of the aggressor prevail. Where is the love of one's neighbour in that?

647. If animals were killed by disembowelling, burning, or maiming, there would be a great outcry. Are men less than animals?

The blacker one paints the picture of man's inhumanity to man, the more one weakens the case for a pacifism which would let it go on unchecked.

648. Yet the foul weapons of modern warfare are accepted by the majority without a murmur!

That is really not true. The world rings with the protests of the majority against them. The problem to be faced concerns what is to be done when those who do not share the outlook of the majority embark on a programme of military conquest from which they will desist only when compelled by military opposition. The pacifists would be those "without a murmur," rather than those who, despite discomfort and self-sacrifice, adopted the only means required to halt the would-be disturbers of law, order and peace among men.

649. Auxiliary-Bishop Butler, of Westminster, is reported as having told a meeting he does not share the "Better dead than Red" view that life would be unbearable under Marxist Communism, and that his position is: "Better Red than Kill."

If he was correctly reported, his pacifist views would certainly not be in accord with Catholic teaching; and his retort may have been witty, although it was not notable for its wisdom.

650. What would be the position of a soldier who, confronted with an enemy, threw away his weapons through love of his neighbour and was shot by that enemy?

He would be dead, if the enemy aimed straight and shot to kill him and not merely to wound and disable him. But you are concerned with the morality of his conduct. His action would be morally reprehensible. While love of our neighbours includes all our fellow human beings, there is a priority in the order and degree of love we should have for them. Our own nation, among the nations into which the human race is divided, has a first claim upon us. It is not a question here of "my country, right or wrong." If we definitely know our country's cause to be wrong and unjust, we are not free in conscience to support that cause. But it is another matter when our country is engaged in a just war of self-defence against an aggressor nation, and we have no reason to believe otherwise. Here we must remember that patriotism is a natural virtue and that it is a Christian virtue if inspired by Christian motives. This virtue imposes on a soldier engaged in a just war of self-defence an obligation not to deprive his country of his services by throwing away his weapons and allowing himself to be captured or killed. As early as 314 A.D. the Council of Aries, to show that Christianity cannot be made an excuse for evading military duties, decreed excommunication against those who would throw down their arms in time of war.

651. I am a pacifist, not for unworthy motives, but because of my real conviction that we should rely, not on armed opposition, but on the persuasive force of love to overcome our enemies.

You overlook the fact that our enemies have the say as to whether they will be impressed and persuaded by our radiating love. If they refuse to be influenced by it, is it a duty to let them continue in their criminal conduct? Where is the man, however idealistic his theories, who would regard it as his duty to stand passively by, doing nothing except talk persuasively of love while a maniac armed with a knife proceeded to stab his wife and children to death one by one before his very eyes? Nowhere will you find any teaching of Christ that we must allow others to suffer unjustly, doing nothing whatever to prevent it where it is in our power to do so.

652. Did not Christ die an unresisting death on the Cross, although by divine power He could have willed the death of His aggressors?

That is true; and there was a mysterious reason for it. In fact, if some pacifist had a special mission from God to give his life for the salvation of mankind had his life value enough for that the same conditions would apply to him. But, in Jn., 2:15, Jesus resorted to violence when He flogged the money-changers out of the Temple, accusing them of desecrating it. They outnumbered Him, but sensed in Him an authority which completely overawed them and made disputing it unthinkable. Again, He told Pilate and this affects your present mysterious case that "if my kingdom were of this world, my men would fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews." Jn., 18:36. Were His an earthly kingdom, it would have been normal and right that His subjects should take up arms in His defence. Christians, therefore, so long as they are in this world, are not exempt from the normal duties of citizenship in the earthly kingdoms to which they belong. So St. Peter said: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him . . . for it is God's will that by doing right you should leave no room for stupid criticism. Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God." I Pet., 2:13-16. That applies to all our duties as citizens, whether those duties involve military service or not.

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