By Richard A. McCormick
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Extra info for Ambiguity in Moral Choice
Obviously Page 32 as was pointed out above where Van der Marck is concernedif an action is reasonably foreseen or eventually known to be ultimately community-damaging, it is, regardless of its immediate meaning and rewards, immoral. The criterion is clearly correct in this rear-view-mirror sense. But now for the bad news. To propose as the only criterion of the morality of an act a measure so utterly ultimate is to suggest (at least) that more proximate criteria are useless or invalid. That is, in my judgment, to bypass a good deal of accumulated experience and wisdom.
To state this more directly, intersubjectivity is a form of either communication or the Page 13 disruption of communication; it is a form of either community or the destruction of community. When we now speak of act and consequences, of act and effect, of means and end, we are, in the first place, not speaking of something that happens now and has results, consequences, or effects, or that achieve an end later; rather, we are speaking of a particular corporeal action that, precisely as a human act, has immediate implications with respect to the relationship between subjects.
Similarly with a promise. But this breaking of a promise is experienced by the one to whom the promise was made as an evil. In such cases we do not demand that the negative effect be unintended. Schüller next turns to killing and contraception. Why did traditional theology feel it necessary to use "direct" and "indirect" when dealing with these subjects? " This can be sustained, however, only if the death of a person is an absolute evil in the sense of a moral evil. Once it is granted that the killing of an innocent person is the destruction of a fundamental but nonmoral value, there is no need for the distinction direct-indirect.