Volume 11, Issue 3, Autumn 2011
Rev. Martin Rhonheimer
Vital Conflicts, Direct Killing, and Justice
A Response to Rev. Benedict Guevin and Other Critics
Responding to criticism of my Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics, this article corrects misrepresentations and answers objections. The core of the debate is the moral category of “direct killing” as opposed to “indirect.” The article argues that critics beg the question by simply presupposing, instead of argumentatively defending, the very physicalist understanding of “directness” which the book has shown to be untenable. This article clarifies the intentional meaning of “direct” and what it means to choose something as a means; it also argues that this does not imply a subjectivist conception of morality, and refutes objections to the view that the moral evil of killing is constituted by its opposition to justice. It finally shows why this is essentially an argument against proportionalism and in defense of the core teaching of Veritatis splendor. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.3 (Autumn 2011): 519–540.