EWTN Catholic Q&A
Clarification on Defending Faith, Morals and Reason
Question from Michael on 10-17-2007:

Thank you Dr. Geraghty for your help with this topic.

Unfortunately, I wish my instructor HAD assigned me to oppose the buying and selling of human organs. However, for the assignment I have been assigned to DEFEND this evil practice.

The comment by the priest that I included in my last message (paragraph 3) that I gave was his answer to me about what I could do in this situation and still avoid sin.

In essence; he said that I could never do or defend something evil in real life and in a real argument but since this assignment is designed to make me think of the other side's arguments in order to strengthen my own arguments in my future debates, I could morally participate in this assignment in which I have to defend the buying and selling of human organs.

I was asking about what should I do in this situation in which I am assigned to argue for something evil--either participate in this assignment (which the priest-who is orthodox and against the practice in question here-has said I could morally do) or take a zero. As I mentioned before, the teacher will not allow me to switch positions or to switch arguments regardless of religious and moral convictions.

I am sorry if I was not very clear in the first message. I really appreciate your help, but I am very disturbed and do not know what to do about this sticky situation.

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 10-22-2007:

Dear Michael,

Your priest adviser makes sense. It is understood in academia that one can write a paper stating the arguments for any moral position without necessarily buying those arguments. This would be an exercise in trying to understand the other side. At the end of such a report it is also the practice that one may close with an evaluation of the arguments. All of this is morally permissible.

Dr. Geraghty

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