Friday, November 18

Reimagining Bernardine - a consistant ethic of compassion

Wiki-creep is a fascinating thing.  Through a convoluted chain of links and related topics, I ended up reading Fr. McBrein's article about Cardinal Bernadine and the Seamless Garment (aka consistent life ethic) at NCR.  This got me to thinking...which leads to pondering...which leads to writing.

I believe that Bernadine's underlying premise, which is to construct a universally applicable ethical model regarding life is quite laudable.  Where I find a disagreement with him is to say that said life must be universally preserved.  There ARE fates worse than death for a person and to concentrate solely upon the life of an individual tends towards forgetting that we are all connected and that every action taken by a person has rippling effects that spread out to the ends of the earth.

In general, a person who must make such a choice needs to examine both the person 'at risk' as well as all of those directly affected by the decisions, taking into account the quality of the life, the life circumstances and take a critical look at the intent behind the decision.  They should call upon Holy Wisdom to guide and inform the decision, recognizing that each circumstance is unique and what is right for a certain person at a certain time may not be the right choice at a different time for a different person.

I recognize that these sorts of questions are never simple or easy.  There are no higher stakes and yet we must collectively recall that Primacy of Conscience and Free Will demand that the choice is not ours to make.  Each person must walk that road for themselves.  Our compassion affords us the ability to walk with them, to help and support them without judging as the Spirit walks with us, guiding and comforting, but not condemning.

That is, after all, what we would want in a time of need.  That is the essence of loving our neighbour as ourselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment