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398 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

seen in laws that allowed slavery. A modern example is seen in those

laws that allow abortion.

The Right of the Dying to Live

There are cases where state and federal courts have ruled against the

idea of a constitutional right to die. In doing so, they have been gradu-

ally assembling a defense against this so-called right-to-die movement.

Following is a brief summary of some of these arguments:

1. Why is suicide morally wrong?

Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human

being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely con-

trary to the just love of self. It likewise offends the love of

neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity

with family, nation, and other human societies to which

we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to

love for the living God. (CCC, no. 2281)

2. What are the roots of war?

Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy,

distrust, and pride raging among men and nations con-

stantly threaten peace and cause wars. . . . Insofar as men

are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so

continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can

vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself

will be vanquished. (CCC, no. 2317)

3. What are some reasons for punishing criminals?

Punishment, then, in addition to defending public order

and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose:

as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of

the guilty party. (CCC, no. 2266)