Pro Life: Tempering Freedom

posted Sep 19, 2011, 3:27 PM by St. Joseph Cheyenne   [ updated Sep 19, 2011, 3:43 PM ]
Freedom can only exist when tempered by the ethic of reciprocity. The ethical law of reciprocity is usually summed up by the golden rule of treating others as we would like others to treat us (positive form) or not treat others in ways that we would not like to be treated ourselves (negative/prohibitive form). Basically treating everyone (from conception to natural death; no matter who they are) with respect, compassion, and understanding. Without this ethical code freedom degenerates into chaos and death as everyone would seek to satisfy the self, or their own special interest group, above all others in an anything goes culture. Abortion, terrorism, bigotry, etc…opposes the ethical law written on our hearts, and feeds into the dehumanization and subjugation of ―other people. " This is why the ethical law of reciprocity does not support an ―anything goes" free culture, but puts demands on all people tempering freedom as it should be tempered. What many people don’t know is that the ethic of reciprocity is not indigenous to Judeo-Christian ethics, but is historically found in many cultures world wide, both east and west. For example in China about 551-478 BC, the Chinese philosopher Confucius states, ―Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." So this is an ethic that is truly written on the hearts of all people. The ethical law of reciprocity does not oppose either objective truth or the natural law, but it works with them tempering them ethically for the good of others. Truly with Catholics this is especially true as we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves within the framework of Catholicism. The ethical law of reciprocity takes a special place in the heart of Christians as we focus on the wisdom of the law written on our hearts by almighty God and supporting it in the culture around us.