By Richard A. McCormick
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For him, capital punishment Page 45 cannot be justified. " Similarly, Grisez argues that killing in warfare is indirect (and must be to remain morally tolerable) much as it is in self-defense. Thus far Grisez. His ranging analysis of the direct-indirect distinction is by far the most subtle, consistent, and plausible defense of that distinction that I have seen in recent literature. What is to be said of it? First of all, Grisez's notion of an indivisible process seems certainly correct. " In other words, the evil effect is not a means, morally speaking, to the good effect.
8 Where the conduct of war is concerned, Page 4 recent documents of the magisterium have insisted on what theologians refer to as non-combatant immunity or the principle of discrimination. " 9 The Second Vatican Council condemned as a crime against God and man "any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities . 11 In 1968 Pope Paul VI made explicit use of the distinction between direct and indirect in Humanae Vitae. " More recently the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Hospitals," approved overwhelmingly by the American bishops in November 1971, refers repeatedly to the distinction between direct-indirect.
For effects are the intersubjective aspects of acts and to take them seriously is to take intersubjectivity seriously. Ultimately, then, Van der Marck would abandon the distinction between direct and indirect. It is not an adequate tool to get at the meaning of our actions, and for two reasons, if I understand him correctly. First, it "cancels out" as indirect one aspect of intersubjectivitythe evil effect. Secondly, the morality of our actions requires a larger setting than that present in the assessment of immediate effectsthat of community-building or destruction of community.