The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 18, Issue 2, Summer 2018

Charles C. Camosy
Pages 217-225

Defending against Formally Innocent Material Mortal Threats
A Response to Joshua Evans

In the Summer 2017 NCBQ, Joshua Evans strongly criticized arguments made by Charles Camosy about the possibility of a prenatal child being a material mortal threat to her mother. Here Camosy demonstrates that the formal/material debate remains open for non-dissenting Catholic moral theologians. He also shows that his reference to just-war theory is used to discuss innocence; it is not evidence of a particular methodology. Despite Evans’s claim to the contrary, Camosy notes multiple examples where he affirms the uniqueness of pregnancy and the special duty of parents to children. He argues for full deference to the magisterium in matters where doctrine has been defined and urges solid theological grounding for teachings on abortion when the mother’s life is at risk, especially given the profound personal and political issues at stake.