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great Asiatic conqueror himself, and may have felt the need of them no less than Rameses..
And there we may leave the question, without pretending to offer here a certain solution of all difficulties, any more than in the case of some previous articles on the Pentateuch. Yet on the whole it appears wisest to hold on to the obviously biblical system of chronology, while not denying the presence of real difficulties. We can but endeavour to weigh carefully both what the experts have to tell us of the monumental evidence, and what the Church and the Holy See have to teach us in the handling of Holy Writ. One pious wish the consideration of such problems as this leaves strong within us-the wish that Catholic studies may be so efficiently organized as to produce firstrate experts in all the various departments of biblical research.
THE MORALITY OF THE HUNGER
BY VERY REV. JOHN CANON WATERS
WHEN I wrote my article on the morality of the hungerstrike in the August number of the I. E. RECORD,' I knew that I was breaking new ground, that my conclusions would very likely be challenged, and that opposition to them was sure to make itself articulate sooner or later. I expected, therefore, and was ready to welcome reasonable criticism. I had not long to wait. Dr. Cleary, who till quite recently was a professor of theology in Maynooth, has published an answer to me in the November number of the same review. I have read this article with great care and interest, but I must say frankly that I have found it in many ways disappointing. I do not believe that it will give any assistance towards amending or correcting the opinions I expressed on the immorality of the hungerstrike.
Dr. Cleary revels in scepticism. His mind is obsessed with doubt about the simplest truths. Assent or positive assertion seems foreign to his philosophy. Whether I state principles or draw conclusions, whether I make concessions to my opponents or refuse them, whether I deal with history or with science, whatever I say seems but to inspire or to increase his doubts. The cloud of doubt which my critic raises leaves an impression on the minds of cursory or simple readers that he has closed with the enemy and overthrown him, whereas he has kept himself at a very safe distance.
It is to me a matter of sincere regret that I may appear, in the course of my present defence, to impute to Dr. Cleary plain fallacies, misunderstanding of his own
1 Fifth Series, vol. xii. pp. 89 et seq.
quotations, unacquaintance with elementary principles of natural law, and such a total disregard of the kind of argument that would alone be effective in such delicate discussions as I should not have believed possible in a theologian of his standing. I mean no personal discourtesy to him, and have no other wish than to let the facts speak for themselves.
With this preface, I address myself at once to the examination of his article and the problems it raises. will begin with the only objections which are at all serious or relevant-the only objections which would impair to any notable degree the value of my conclusions. My article was in plan a simple one. I assumed, at the beginning, that to kill oneself is always unlawful. Dr. Cleary cavils a little at this, but does not venture to deny its truth, and that is all my argument needs. I then proceeded to show by three proofs, based on the three determinants of morality in acts generally, that the hunger-strike is wrong. First, it is objectively self-starvation, and therefore, killing of oneself; second, not only do the strikers perform an act which amounts to suicide, but they actually intend death and ordain it as a means to an end; in the third place, the evil consequences of the hunger-strike preponderate. Dr. Cleary does not dispute the cogency of my arguments nor does he express dissent from my conclusion. A very awkward thing about my critic is that he never expresses agreement or acceptance. His doubts, however, are so numerous that I am sure if he could have questioned these, my principal positions, he would not have been reluctant to say so. I cannot but assume, then, that Dr. Cleary agrees with me in condemning any hungerstrike which involves self-starvation or the election of one's own death as a means to a desired end. If he accepts so much, what, then, does he object to? He suggests an alternative. He makes a distinction between the unlimited strike, for which there is no defence, and a limited, nonfatal form of strike, which just allows one to take a certain risk of death, provided death itself be guarded against.
Dr. Cleary thinks this latter form of hunger-strike quite innocent, and I presume he also holds that it is of practical importance. Before dealing with its morality I would like to say that I regard this limited strike as of little or no practical interest. An exact line cannot be drawn in a concrete case between the point where serious danger
ends, and death becomes inevitable. No conscientious man would license an act whose morality depended on the ascertainment of such an elusive line; no sensible man would venture his life on such a chance. Moreover, either the point at which the strike is to be abandoned will be fixed so close to the fatal line as to be invisible to all, especially to the men on strike, and then it does not differ from the unlimited and condemned form of strike; or the point will be fixed at such a distance as to to make the security of life visible to all, and then it loses all power of putting pressure on Government. I have had considerable experience of such limited strikes, and can assure my readers that success by their means is very rare and very tardy. I knew a man once who carried on such a strike for some two years, and was released only when his full term had expired. The public never heard of the case. The Government took no notice, and his sacrifices were all in vain. The Irish strike of 1917 was of the unlimited type, as is abundantly attested by the sworn declarations, the public speeches, and the open and notorious professions of those engaged in it. The men at the head of the movement knew that no other had any promise of success. My article dealt not with any particular strike, but with the type to which this and all other real strikes must belong.
The morality of the limited strike, therefore, is of interest to the philosopher in his study, but does present any problem of practical urgency. I do not mean, however, to shelve the task which my critic has placed on me of showing that it is not lawful. I had, in fact, foreseen this indirect way of evading my argument against hunger-strike, and I had provided against it by introducing the principle that we may not directly will the risk of that which we may not directly do.' My opponent sees that this principle bars his path. What does he do with it? He makes no attempt to dislodge it by reasoning or argument. He does not deny it-he contents himself with saying that Lehmkuhl denies it. This amounts to a surrender of his case, so far as it rests on discussion. His aim, then, is not to provide a justification of the mitigated strike, but merely to set up an extrinsically probable opinion-if one man can make such an opinion probable-which shall be available in practice only, and only for men who can certify that they will not push their resistance to the last.
This is not a very ambitious aim, but I have no intention of belittling the objection, and I will answer it as the most serious one I have to meet. The objection is stated (p. 268) thus:
I can understand and sympathize with a man like Lehmkuhl when he says, 'a girl may jump into certain danger of death, when she may not jump into certain death.' Probably Canon Waters would consider Lehmkuhl's distinction too fine. . . . The distinction is of importance, as it would help to decide the morality of very many instances of hungerstrike. In such cases, if there is a good reason for the strike, it will, according to Lehmkuhl's principle, be lawful to hunger-strike, even though the abstinence will induce danger of death, and even though it be decided that the hunger-strike à outrance is essentially wrong.
A man should be very gross who could not see a distinction of this magnitude. I have used the distinction myself, and everyone admits that there are cases which will justify a man taking a certain risk of losing his life which would hardly be a defence for a plunge into certain death. The quotation omits a phrase licet virgini ad evadendam laesionem sui '-which gives all its point to the distinction in the author-but let that pass. I hope Dr. Cleary does not forget that what he has to show is, that Lehmkuhl is thinking of direct danger, or rather of direct intention of risk. This is the only point in dispute, for no one denies the lawfulness of incurring danger, or even death indirectly. But one glance will show that Lehmkuhl, on the contrary, is talking of indirect danger and of indirect death. The heading of the paragraphis, 'On the indirect killing or wounding of oneself.' There are six instances of this indirect killing or wounding given by Lehmkuhl-that cited by Dr. Cleary being the second-and all are the usual instances of indirect actions. The sixth is a case where death itself is allowed, which would not be possible if direct death were being considered. The title of the paragraph is decisive, but it is borne out by the character of the instances and the solutions, especially the sixth. Evidently Dr. Cleary is mistaken in supposing that Lehmkuhl lends him any support. On the last page Dr. Cleary writes: 'In this case we have, with all due respect to Canon Waters, the authority of men like Lehmkuhl that one may go directly into danger of death, even when it is unlawful to commit oneself to certain death.' Cleary is well aware of the importance of that little word 'directly,' which he has introduced here.. The misfortune is that the author himself would have supplied 'indirectly.' Cadit quaestio.