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Christian Moral Decision Making

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Lisa Wallace

on 4 March 2016

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Transcript of Christian Moral Decision Making

Christian Moral Decision Making Process
Christian Moral Decision Making Process
The Pope
Pope Pius XII
Was he Hitler's Pope?
Pope Pius XII was the leader of the Catholic Church during World War II. He has been criticised for not directly speaking out against the Nazi's attempts to exterminate the Jewish people. His supporters would counter that his diplomatic approach saved the Vatican from Nazi invasion and allowed Catholic agencies all over Europe the opportunity to rescue Jewish people destined for the German concentration camps.
Catholic Church and Nazi Germany
The deal (Concordat) Hitler signed with the Church was designed to assist him in his push for controlling Germany and eradicating the Jewish people.

The Catholic Church would ignore the actions the Nazi's used against the Jewish people in return for the opportunity to continue operating Churches and Catholic schools free from any interference by the Nazi Party.
Differing views of Pope Pius XII
A moral decision is a decision in which you need to decide if something is wrong or right:
Capital Punishment

Catholic Social Teachings
See, Judge, Act framework
What is a moral decision?
When Christians are analysing difficult situations they use the following teachings and frameworks to assist in their decision making process:
Catholic Social Teachings;
See, Judge, Act framework;
Conscience; and

Some decisions are easier than others to determine whether or not they are right or wrong, however in difficult situations, such as Abortion, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment etc. Christians can use the frameworks above to assist them.
Preferential Option for the Poor
Dignity of the Human Person
Stewardship of Creation
Subsidiarity and Participation
The common good
What is Justice for the poor? Caring for the poor is everyone’s responsibility. Preferential care should be shown to poor and vulnerable people, whose needs and rights are given special attention in God’s eyes.
How is dignity upheld? The dignity of every person, independent of ethnicity, creed, gender, sexuality, age or ability, is the foundation of CST. No human being should have their dignity or freedom compromised. Poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice make it impossible to live a life commensurate with this dignity.
The earth and all life on it are part of God’s creation. We are responsible for taking care of the world we live in and for sharing all the wonders and resources the earth gives us. Our changing environment prompts us to stop and think about how we live on our planet. We are called to respond and to adopt new ways of living as Pope Francis highlights in his encyclical, Laudato Si': On the Care of our Common Home. It is the world’s poorest communities who are affected by changes to our planet.
How can we contribute to a more just and fair world? All people have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Subsidiarity requires that decisions are made by the people closest and most affected by the issues and concerns of the community.
What is ‘true community’? The common good is reached when we work together to improve the wellbeing of people in our society and the wider world. The rights of the individual to personal possessions and community resources must be balanced with the needs of the disadvantaged and dispossessed.
What is authentic power? Everyone belongs to one human family, regardless of their national, religious, ethnic, economic, political and ideological differences. Everyone has an obligation to promote the rights and development of all peoples across communities, nations, and the world, irrespective of national boundaries.
For each principle write down one example of where you have seen a positive and a negative outcome of that principle. This can be in real life or in a movie/TV show. Justify why you have selected each example.

e.g. Positive: Wall-E: In Wall-E the principle Stewardship of Creation is witness as Wall-E works extensively to clean up and protect the environment.

Negative: Within Unity College a significant amount of students do not uphold the principle Stewardship of Creation as they constantly litter and do not care for or respect their environment.
The Second Vatican Council described conscience, as a person’s most secret core and sanctuary. It is the experience of us as moral agents passing judgements. It flows from our self- knowledge as rational and free human beings. Every person develops a conscience. For the Christian, conscience is our experience of ourselves enlivened by the Holy Spirit and judging according to God’s revelation. Conscience can be viewed as the act of a person judging the moral goodness of a
proposed course of action. Conscience requires constant formation. One’s moral judgement is based on one’s faith, personal experience,
knowledge and moral code. These are subject to constant growth and review. One also experiences negative forces at work such as sin and self interest. Their influence has to be continually recognised and countered.
1. In the images below, highlight which best represents a bystander, rescuer, perpetrator and victim. Create a concept map for each type of person during the Holocaust and include key words that highlight the consciousness of that person.
Image 2
Image 1
Image 3
Image 4
2. Write a paragraph describing the role you believe you would take if you were alive during the Holocaust, in particular the Warsaw Ghetto.
Through the Scriptures God challenges us to a life of faith characterised by compassion, love and service.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,”says 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Because the Bible contains God’s thoughts, recorded by men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is different from any other book in the world. The Holy Spirit is at work any time a Christian reads the Bible, helping him or her to understand what is written.
Watch the YouTube clip about Kristallnacht "The night of broken glass"
Using the CST Dignity of the Human Person and one of the scripture passages below, write a paragraph explaining how a Christian might react to the events of Kristallnacht.

Luke 6:31
John 12:34-35
Isaiah 61:1
The process of 'See, Judge, Act' is a way of reading and responding to the signs of the time: There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice.
SEE: one reviews the situation;
JUDGE: one forms a judgement on it;
ACT: one decides what the circumstances can and should be done.
These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: see, judge act.
Watch the following clip on the actions of the rescuer Nicholas Winton.
Answer the following questions (See, Judge, Act Framework)
SEE: What was the injustice that Nicholas Winton witnessed?
JUDGE: What was the judgement he made based on what he witnessed?
ACT: Briefly describe the actions Nicholas Winton took after witnessing this injustice?
An Encyclical is a Papal letter written by the Pope to the Bishops.

Encyclicals are used primarily for teaching, sometimes to caution, and in a few cases for condemnations.
The Pope and the Catholic Church played important roles in the Nazi Germany movement, not always in a positive manner. Firstly, learn what's involved in becoming the 'Leader of the Catholic Church”

While watching the following clip answer this question: What role does the Pope play in the Catholic Church Today
The relationship between the Catholic Church and the hierarchy in Nazi Germany was fraught with difficulties. It had seemingly started well after Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January 1933. However, the breakdown started in 1936 and ended with many Catholic priests being imprisoned.

In July 1933, just six months after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, Cardinal Pacelli on behalf of the Catholic Church signed a written agreement with Hitler (Concordat 1933).

As a result of this agreement, the Catholic Church agreed not to oppose the political and social aims of the Nazi Party. In turn it was hoped that the agreement would allow the Catholic Church in Germany to operate free from any interference. They would soon be disappointed.

When the Pope was criticised for signing this agreement, he apparently said "I would sign a contract with the devil himself, if thereby I could help save a single immortal soul."
Above are images of Cardinals meeting with Nazi's. Note in particular the Nazi hand signal being used by the Cardinals and the meeting between Hitler and Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli in the top left picture, Eugenio would later become Pope (March 1939).

One person can be viewed and judged in different ways depending on your knowledge and life experience and this is the case for Pope Pius XII.

Considering our focus questions 'Do I have the courage to care?' and what you know about the Christian Moral Decision making frameworks, decide whether Pope Pius's actions were aligned with the teachings of the Church.
Justify your opinion in a TEEL paragraph.

Inquiry Task- In Pairs
Who was responsible for creating the 1933 Concordat?
What were the outcomes of if?
When was the Concordat created?
Where was it created?
Why was it created?
How did the Concordat help Hitler secure power?
Nostra Aetate (1965)
Nostra Aetate challenged previous thinking about other religions. It stated that all Jews, neither at the time of Jesus nor today, are not responsible for the death of Christ.

Read and discuss the following sections from Nostra Aetate:

"True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ. Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone. Nostra Aetate 13 1965

The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men,(14) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.(15) 1965."
Victim; Bystander; Perpetrator; Rescuer
1. Write a definition for each word and find an example from the Holocaust.
Principles and their definitions
2. Learn the definitions of each CST principle by creating flash cards
The five aspects
3. List the five aspects of Moral decision making
4. Apply these aspects to determine what a Christians actions might have been during the Holocaust.
Formulating a response
5. Apply the see, judge, act framework to a situation in the Holocaust.
Those who acted
6. Research the following people to determine how they reflect CST and the See, Judge, Act framework:
Andre Trocme (1901 - 1971)
Magda (Andre's wife, 1901 - 1996)
Janusz Korczak (1879 - 1942)
7. Review structure for paragraphs and essay writing and complete the practise activity below:

"Controversially, the Pope's Christmas Eve message in 1942 at the height of the war, denounced the extermination of 'people' on the basis of race. In the 45 minute speech, the Pope did not make reference to the Nazi party or to the Jewish people directly"

PRACTISE ACTIVITY: Given that the Pope was a talented diplomat, create a hypothesis as to why Pope Pius XII did not mention the Nazis or Jews directly in his Christmas message. Potentially what would have happened if he had? 

STRUCTURE: paragraphing and essay writing
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