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End does not justify means

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It is tricky!  I don't think that killing another can ever be a good, while it could be legitimate in motivation.  One is not motivated to kill, rather to defend and protect.

Were it to occur in self defence or in defence of another that I kill, I would be going to Confession first opportunity as a "just in case".  Apparently too if a person is unsure of mortal sin or not, probably it was not mortal sin.

I did read somewhere or other that the moral law and canon law is a minefield, which is why we have moral theologians and canon lawyers.  I thought to myself, if that is true, then what hope do we have out here in the pews to understand.  I do think that The Good Lord insights our inability perfectly.


"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."  (Luke Chapter 12)


And yes, The Good Lord is Ultimate Mystery, Ineffable and Inscrutable.


“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?"  (Book of Job Chapter 38)


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fides' Jack
On 8/22/2019 at 7:45 PM, BarbaraTherese said:

Suffering came into the world through sin and sin of itself cannot have a good consequence.  However, in Grace united to Jesus and through Jesus alone, uniting our suffering to His, our suffering can be redemptive.




Problem Of Suffering Reconsidered, The

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4297 (Catholic Culture.org)


"But what of the evil of suffering

"Suffering is not a biological necessity. We were not created in a state of suffering. We suffer because we sinned, and we die because we sinned. God did not design us for death but for life, and he did not design us for suffering but for joy: the joy of sanctity, the bliss of self-forgetful love."

"Because Christ entered into our sufferings, suffering is now a way of entering more deeply into Christ. We are never closer to Christ than when we share his cross."

"Suffering has become redemptive not only for the one who suffers but also for the ones for whom he suffers. Vicarious atonement is a mystery but not an exception: We can share in it. If we are "in Christ" (that primary mystery of solidarity, of incorporation), we, like him, can offer up our sufferings to the Father-and he uses them. They become seeds or rainwater, and something beautiful springs up that we seldom see in this life."



Yep - that's what I said - thanks for expounding on it for me!

On 8/22/2019 at 8:57 PM, BarbaraTherese said:

My question is summarised in the first paragraph  quoted below.  


On 8/21/2019 at 4:26 PM, BarbaraTherese said:

If the end does not justify the means, how is it that God can permit terrible suffering in order to bring about a greater good?  (Doctrine of Divine Providence).

This is something I cannot understand while I can hold that it is valid and a great Mystery.  But first, I have to ask the question.  It is something I would like to understand, if understanding is possible.



My question is a difficulty, not a doubt.

If you understand that suffering is redemptive (through the grace of God), then I don't understand why there is still a question.  

Suffering is not evil.  If suffering is not evil in and of itself, then the question is moot.  The means are not evil, so...  ?

I think you are still seeing suffering as evil.  Your argument was that suffering is a consequence of sin, and that nothing good can come directly from sin.  I agree with that.  I don't think suffering is a direct result of sin, I think it's an indirect result of sin.  I think the direct result of sin is that God is offended, and also that our souls are (spiritually) blackened.  Suffering is not morally wrong - ever.  Depending on the disposition of the person suffering, it can either be morally neutral, or made to be morally good.  But it is never morally wrong (i.e. evil).  

Does that help answer the question?  I'm trying to come at this from a purely logical point of view.

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fides' Jack


It just occurred to me that I might be coming at this from the wrong point of view.  I thought the hangup was that you believed suffering to be evil for people.  Is it that you think God is doing wrong by allowing people to suffer?  Is that what you're thinking?  If that's the case, I would say since God is the standard of good, then that's actually impossible.  Anything He does is good, by virtue of Him doing it.  Also, from a less philosophical angle, it's technically in His job description to be in over a person's life and joys and sufferings, and He can allow or dispose of those as He sees fit.  It's not in our job description, so that's why it's morally wrong (i.e. sinful or evil) for us to cause suffering (although we both understand God doesn't usually cause suffering; this is why it's not wrong for Him to do so).

That's just a thought - it might not be where you're coming from...

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Thank you for input, Jack.  My problem is not with God nor with His Nature.  I am still in research mode and have arrived at a temporary conclusion subject to coming across something that might contradict it, which I have not to date.

My problem was with human reasoning i.e. the end does not justify the means and I now have arrived at the principle of double effect, first introduced by St Thomas (on self defense) although he did not call it "double effect".  I have heard the term before but not researched and reasoned what it might be and imply.

Here are the four rules of double effect:

1. The action itself is morally neutral or morally good.

2. The bad effect is not the means by which the good effect is achieved.

3. The motive must be the achievement of the good effect only.

4. The good effect is at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect.


1 - And so my conclusion to date anyway is, in permitting suffering God's Intention is to bring about a greater good.  The action itself is God's Permission and a good in itself.

2 - In permitting suffering, the effect is not bad but rather it is good.  The bad effect is the suffering per se of the person.  The good effect can be the person willingly suffers and unites it to Jesus and His Cross.

3 - The Lord's motive in permitting an evil is not the evil permitted, rather it is the good He can bring about.

4 - The good effect is greater than the evil permitted.

As I stated above, I am still in research and reasoning mode to my level of understanding.  Mine is Faith seeking understanding.  My Faith per se is not questioned.




http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3064.htm#article7 (Scroll down to (St Thomas - Summa Theologiae : Article 7. Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense? )

Apparently, the principle of double effect is still hotly debated by the learned and I would never argue with that validity.  Their concepts however might very well be beyond me.  Above my pay grade.  However, as long as I can explain what I believe to my own satisfaction, I can rest in that but still on the road.




The difficulty of explaining "why I am a Catholic" is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. 

G K Chesterton



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 So much depends, in your analyses, on if and how much you are suffering, It really does,  

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