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Lehcarjt
01-26-2013, 05:09 AM
Hi guys -

I'm writing a story that is YA paranormal/horror. The 'monsters' of the tale start off human, but slowly go insane and become (not physically, but in a deranged / psychotic way) monsters with the ability to control the minds of people around them.

My heroine's story goal is to kill one of these monsters. She was raised Catholic (the year is 1903) and although she isn't devout, deep inside she holds to Catholic principles.

I'm wondering if her killing of the monster (tied to a table, forced to swallow a fast acting poison) would be considered a mortal sin. Or would it fall under more of a justifiable killing - in the same sense a soldier kills?

I'm also wondering what other concerns she might have coming form a Catholic perspective.

And lastly, the monster (who isn't insane yet) is a devout Catholic. If he were to try to argue (guilt) her into not killing him, what could he use other than 'consequences of mortal sin'?

Thanks,

Rachel

Paul
01-26-2013, 05:17 AM
can't think of any elements unique to Catholicism which might be of significance.(ie, different from standard Christian beliefs)

unless this 'monster' violated specifically Catholic sacraments/ sacred rituals. but that would make it a different story, starring Gabriel Byrne.

caliph
01-26-2013, 05:31 AM
For a preemptive execution? I would refer to Just War theory and the Catechism (as the victim is evidently devout and knowledgeable to some degree). If this is done out of a desire for revenge, the Catholic Church will not condone the death penalty, with the only exception being that the criminal cannot be restrained (which it seems he can be). Is he tied to the table, or is she? Swallowing of poison is ultimately no less gruesome than slow evisceration.

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:


The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
There must be serious prospects of success;
The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent." 68

cornflake
01-26-2013, 05:34 AM
If he's tied to a table made to swallow poison, that's not exactly self-defense you've got there, that's more like the death penalty, imo, which the RCC is not so much down with. So yeah, I think that'd tend toward murder any way you slice it.

Can't do that in war either, capture someone, tie them up and THEN kill them without a trial or etc.

As above, there's no specific catholic thing, that's just bad across pretty much all of your major religions and many non-religious views, imo. I mean the Geneva convention says no too, as does the U.S. Constitution, - if I understand what you're suggesting.

Lehcarjt
01-26-2013, 05:51 AM
Thank you, thank you. Caliph can you tell me what it is that you pasted in? That's exactly what I'm looking for, but I'm too ignorant to find it on my own.

This line right here: The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain. Is the argument from the 'monster's' perspective. He doesn't think anything is certain of course.

I want my heroine to realize she is committing a mortal sin and do it anyway, so I think the way I've got it written works. And really, she isn't killing him to benefit the world but for her own reasons, which seals the deal.

amergina
01-26-2013, 06:03 AM
Thank you, thank you. Caliph can you tell me what it is that you pasted in? That's exactly what I'm looking for, but I'm too ignorant to find it on my own.


Looks like Caliph pasted in text from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

BenPanced
01-26-2013, 06:20 AM
Yeah, not cool under current AW standards.

cornflake
01-26-2013, 11:59 AM
Thank you, thank you. Caliph can you tell me what it is that you pasted in? That's exactly what I'm looking for, but I'm too ignorant to find it on my own.

This line right here: The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain. Is the argument from the 'monster's' perspective. He doesn't think anything is certain of course.

I want my heroine to realize she is committing a mortal sin and do it anyway, so I think the way I've got it written works. And really, she isn't killing him to benefit the world but for her own reasons, which seals the deal.

Just btw, which you may very well know but since you phrased this this way I feel the need to clarify, commiting a mortal sin isn't so tragic. It's not good, obviously - you're not meant to and it's a grave error, but...

Not that they're specifically listed but people do commit what they consider to be mortal sins and repent and receive forgiveness and etc. It's just that the way you have it above made me think you may have the idea it's some sort of fatal, hell-damning thing. Unless she's killed before she can repent and such, it's not.

Chris P
01-26-2013, 12:37 PM
I think the church's stance on euthanasia might be more apropos here than just war doctrine. The church believes "where there's life there's hope." This is the basis of the church's stand against euthanasia. The church believes that all illnesses should be treated to the best of medical ability "to the end of natural life." Although a patient might have the right to refuse medical treatment even for terminal conditions, actively killing the person, even if he or she requests it, is against church teachings.

The Catechism is strangely silent on the issue of zombies, for some reason. However, the church does recognize demonic possession and I am 99.9999% sure that the church would frown on killing a possessed person other than in clear self defense. I suspect there would be pressure to find ways to treat your monsters and restore them to health rather than load up pick up trucks and go monster hunting.

lastlittlebird
01-26-2013, 01:46 PM
Just btw, which you may very well know but since you phrased this this way I feel the need to clarify, commiting a mortal sin isn't so tragic. It's not good, obviously - you're not meant to and it's a grave error, but...

Not that they're specifically listed but people do commit what they consider to be mortal sins and repent and receive forgiveness and etc. It's just that the way you have it above made me think you may have the idea it's some sort of fatal, hell-damning thing. Unless she's killed before she can repent and such, it's not.

I always thought you have to really be repentant in order to receive forgiveness... and the character in question sounds like she's probably not going to be truly repentant.

I don't really know how it works though... I should, since I was raised Catholic, but I never paid all that much attention to the rules.

Bufty
01-26-2013, 07:28 PM
Just curious - how does one tie up (and then force to swallow poison) a monster apparently able to control the mind of whoever is doing the tying and forcing?

Shakesbear
01-27-2013, 01:11 AM
My heroine's story goal is to kill one of these monsters.This bothers me. If it is her goal to kill one of the monsters then the killing is premeditated - possibly with malice aforethought. She is going to take a life. If all the Catholic teaching is put aside then where does guidance for behaviour and moral rectitude come from but the Bible. Very plainly the sixth commandment says "You shall not murder". Murder is the "premeditated killing of one human being by another". So she is breaking a Commandment. I do not see how this could be justified in any way - especially as the creature is tied up and not able to defend itself. I also do not see how, if it is a goal, it would trouble her in any moral way. She has had time to plan it, to think it through, to acquire the poison and to take the time to catch and secure her victim. If there is a reason for her having this goal that demands she takes a life then fine - but it has to be, imo, a convincing one.



And lastly, the monster (who isn't insane yet) is a devout Catholic. If he were to try to argue (guilt) her into not killing him, what could he use other than 'consequences of mortal sin'?


That he has a right to life and she has no right to take his life. Question her about why she is going to take a life - to defend others? Pick at her brain . . . nag at her that she does not have to kill, there is always another way. Leave him tied to the table, not force him to drink poison. He will either escape or die. She can leave thinking he will not escape.

Lehcarjt
01-27-2013, 01:24 AM
Thanks guys -

@ Cornflake - I may be overestimating the difficulty of repenting for her crime, but I think that is okay. It's really more about the guilt the heroine carries than being okay in the eyes of the church. The goal is to load on the guilt.

@ Chris P - I started off studying Euthanasia. Demonic possession didn't even occur to me. I'll have to see what I can find on that. Then again, my heroine probably wouldn't think that deeply about these things. The monster might though...

@ Bufty - Does seem a little odd when you look at it like that. The monsters only have their 'power' under specific conditions. They have to torture and bleed (slices to the skin and lots of pain - no vampires or sucking of blood) those of my heroine's (made-up) race. When they have no access to the pain, they have no power. So as long as the heroine is uninjured, she can control the monster.

A good lot of the book is spent with the monster 'controlled,' but inevitably she or someone else gets injured and he starts going insane. (power corrupts)

Her people have no doctrinal problems with killing the monsters (no one in regular society knows the monsters exist). They hold a trial and a formal execution before they do it. My heroine needs to handle this killing herself for her own reasons (without going into long explanations). And I want her to struggle with doing it every single way possible.

Thanks again for the all the help. I'll probably be back. I read and read about Catholicism, but it's so hard to pick up on the nuances from books. And besides, you guys tend to give me answers to questions I hadn't thought to ask!

Rachel