Here’s the short course on how to look at moral questions. You can see an example of a question being answered over at the National Catholic Register, in this post where I make predictions about what the next edition of The Catechism will have to say about “artificial womb” technology. Longtime readers will recognize the shadowy hand of double effect behind my reasoning.
Question #1 we ask ourselves when looking at a new technology: Is there anything inherently immoral in this, when properly used?
If so, it’s right out. If not, we’ve got a yellow light. Reproductive technology has a higher bar than applies to other bodily functions, what with a brand new immortal soul being involved.
If we make it past no-way-no-how, the next question is: Under what circumstances is this properly used?
And from there, we can use our working knowledge of the current Catechism and the magisterial social teaching of the Church to place some safe bets on what’s coming.
The DIY Kit for Junior Moral Theologians
For those who haven’t already had the course on ends-and-means-and-side-effects, here you go:
Do the Ends Justify the Means? My 101 on Double Effect and whether you may do evil that good come of it (no, you may not).
Double Effect, In the Bathtub Erin Arlinghaus continues the conversation.
Why Can’t We Do Evil that Good Might Come of It? Even to Save a Life? Further conversation on this topic, in response to a challenge from Erin.
The Trouble with Double Effect An older post covering this topic, and opening up a can of worms at the bottom.
Siris: Double Effect Comments on that post from philosopher Brandon Watson, who knows his business, attempting to deal with the worms.
I Confess, Hero Movie Par Excellence Alfred Hitchcock shows you how it’s done, in glorious black and white.
Three Bad Arguments You Should Stop Using Right Now Reasons people tend to jettison their rational brain just when they shouldn’t.
Photo: Fritz Henle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons