Pope Francis & President Of Madagascar Hery Rajoanarimampianina

Chapter 44

Student: I do not want to hear any more arguments in support of the assertion under discussion; therefore indicate how the objections which I made can be resolved.

Master: The first authority of Augustine, which you allege, mentions all types of delinquents and not specifically those who harm others. Nevertheless, since the theorists you are objecting to state the same position with respect to the need of correcting all sinners as to the need of defending individuals who suffer harm, they consequently respond to the aforementioned authority of Augustine by saying that in its first segment Augustine is speaking about those individuals who do not possess judicial authority, and whose secret correction, far from benefiting delinquents, would make the latter even worse. Indeed in such a situation someone not possessing jurisdiction must refrain from correcting delinquents. Similarly, where someone by attempting to defend those suffering harm would not in fact be able to defend them successfully, and would provoke the perpetrators of the harm into committing even worse deeds, he would have the duty to refrain from providing defense. And yet just as subjects sin mortally (if they neglect to secretly correct partners or prelates when they think it probable that they might influence these against the commission of evil) for fear of losing temporal possessions or human favour, or so as to avoid personal danger or to acquire some earthly possession, so likewise those sin mortally who (because of fear or desire for gain) do not provide defense when they conveniently can to people threatened by dangers or suffering harm.

Student: Is there some modern doctor who holds that those who fail to correct sinners in the situation we are discussing commit a mortal sin.

Master: This is the express belief of Thomas Aquinas. For he states in 2a 2e q. 33 article 2 that: "it is a sin to refrain from fraternal correction when, namely 'one fears mass opinion and the torture or destruction of one's flesh', [Augustine, De Civitate Dei, I, 9 (PL 41, col. 22)] if these fears are so dominant in one's mind that they are placed ahead of brotherly love. And this appears to be the case when someone surmises with probability that he can restrain some delinquent from the commission of a sin, and yet refrains from doing so because of fear or desire for gain". [Summa Theologie II-II, 33, 2, Ad primum] One gathers from these words that a person must not refrain from correcting a delinquent even in order to avoid death, if the person has a probable belief that he can restrain the subject from sin by secret correction. From which one concludes that every catholic must correct a perpetrator of harm if he can, and thus that every catholic must defend someone who suffers harm.

Student: What is the answer to my assumption in this objection, namely that he who must defend one who suffers harm has the duty to prevent the harm and thus to punish the perpetrator thereof.

Master: This assumption is rejected as false. For it is the business of many to defend suffering and endangered individuals and yet, even if these defenders may restrain harm doers by implementing blameless protection, it does not pertain to them to punish the harm doers. In the same way, everyone is entitled to repel force with force by implementing blameless protection (dis. 1 Ius naturale), [col. 2] but it does not always pertain to everyone to inflict punishment for harm done.

Student: Respond to the second objection.

Master: The response to this might be, that although one who sees a clerk being battered does not incur the penalty of excommunication if he does not defend him though he could, he nevertheless commits a mortal sin if he does not defend the clerk when able to; which is true not only with respect to a battered clerk but also in the case of an unjustly battered layman, for everyone who conveniently can is bound by brotherly love to assist someone else in any danger. This response one gathers from the gloss to the c. Quante argued earlier [1 Dial. 6.41] which states: "it seems that everyone sins who does not defend another when he can (23 q. 3 Non inferenda [col. 898] and last chapter of the question), [c. Ostendit col. 898] and if he cannot defend otherwise let him at least defend by shouting". And further on: "if I, who have no official power at all, see that someone wants to batter or to strike a clerk without my counsel or assistance, I do not believe that I would be excommunicated if I do not stop him, although from another perspective I might perhaps commit a sin because I do not defend the clerk when I can". [col. 1919] From these words one gathers, to begin with, that there exist different methods of providing defense, since it is clearly stated that someone may provide a defense by shouting; and by the same token one could provide defense by admonitory words, warning the harm doer to desist. Actually the gloss obviously asserts this in the context just cited, stating: "different is the prohibition provided by partners and others, because these may only warn by words but not punish by overt actions", punish that is to say for the harm done, although they are obligated to offer an active defense (if they can) at least to the extent of hiding the person exposed to danger. For just as (according to Augustine, and this is recorded in 23 q. 4 c. Ipsa pietas) [col. 909] everyone is obligated to extricate another who wants to commit suicide [in a collapsing building], and if possible to remove him from danger even by the use of force, so likewise is everyone who can bound to liberate from danger someone who is the deliberate target of an assassin, at the very least by hiding him if no other possibility exists. Therefore there are different methods of defending someone who is in danger.

Secondly, one gathers from the words of the gloss that someone who sees a clerk being battered and does not defend him if he can, commits a sin but doers not incur a sentence of excommunication. And by this point one responds to the reason of the gloss argued earlier, [1 Dial. 6.42] because that reason does not lead to the conclusion that someone who does not defend a clerk (if he can) does not commit a sin, but that he does not incur a sentence of excommunication.

Student: It seems that this reason does not conclude that he does not incur a sentence of excommunication. For a judge or someone who possesses jurisdiction incurs a sentence of excommunication when he has the possibility of defending a clerk and does not, and yet he does not collaborate with him who is battering the clerk in any of the aforementioned ways: indeed, not in speech or in utterance, nor in the actual crime, nor is the clerk battered by his order, nor does he sanction the deed by his authority, for it is more significant to provide authority than to refrain from providing defense.

Master: It is possible to say that the gloss implies that a judge and superior provides authority by omitting to defend, and therefore falls into a sentence of excommunication.

Student: This solution does not seem sufficient, because if a judge provides authority by omitting to defend, then by the same token a partner by not defending provides a reason or an opportunity. And one who provides reason or opportunity is subject to the same punishment as the doer, just as he who provides the opportunity for a loss appears responsible for the loss itself (Extra, de iniuriis et dampno dato, Si culpa). [col. 880] Therefore if a judge who does not defend a battered clerk incurs the penalty of excommunication, then likewise anyone else who does not defend a clerk when he can is involved in a penalty of excommunication.

Master: You are touching on a fundamental motive of some, who say that anyone who can do so must defend the opponents of a heretic pope, even if he does not know that the pope is a heretic.

Student: Since this is one of their motives, I believe that a more extensive treatment of it should be postponed until the entire issue comes up for discussion. But do state briefly at this time how one responds to this on the basis of the gloss we are analyzing.

Master: It can be said that although either a judge or someone else who does not defend a clerk (if he can) commits a mortal sin, neither of them for all that incurs the penalty of excommunication by the law of nature, because the penalty of excommunication is only inflicted by positive law. And the penalties of positive law must be limited, not expanded. Therefore, without prejudice to positive law, a sentence of excommunication established by a canon against those who do not defend a clerk covers as few persons as the canon allows. And since the canon in question (Quante) may retain its validity if one understands it as applying only to those who possess power and jurisdiction (for they sin more seriously than others when they do not provide defense), it must not be understood of others, although these others who do not defend a clerk when they can commit a mortal sin.

Student: Respond to the third objection.

Master: The answer to the third objection is that there is no truth in the proposition that 'no one is obligated to do something for which he may be remunerated by contract'. Indeed were someone to see another in a situation of extreme necessity due to hunger, he would be entitled to sell him a loaf of bread, and nevertheless if the latter had no means of paying or even refused to pay, the former would be obligated to give him the loaf of bread for nothing in order to save his life. But if the individual in extreme necessity did have the means of acquiring the necessities of life from others from whom he might proceed to buy these necessities, then the former would not be bound to provide him with necessities for nothing. The analogy holds for the problem under review. One is permitted to receive money for defending a partner if the partner is able and willing to pay, or if someone else appears who is able and willing to defend him, or if the partner is able to defend himself. But if a partner is unable to defend himself, or is unable or unwilling to pay money for his defense, the other person is bound to defend him for nothing. However he may subsequently demand money from the partner and the latter is obligated to reimburse his benefactor.

The gloss to dis. 83 [col.400] responds to the fourth objection by stating: "it is clear in this context that a doctor is obligated to heal gratis a poor person who is ill, because the life of the ill person must have greater weight in the doctor's judgement than his own pecuniary interest, see dis. 86 c. Non satis. [col. 300] But what if the ill person is rich and doesn't want to pay the doctor. Must the latter cure him for nothing. It appears not, since no one is forced to provide a benefit from his own property, see 10 q. 2 c. Precarie, [col. 620] since, also, the doctor is entitled to receive a reward, see 14 q. 5 c. Non sane, [col. 742] I say that the doctor is obligated to heal the patient at his own expense, and should the patient recover the doctor may claim his expenses because he effectively dealt with the patient's problem"

Student: This appears to me a strong argument in favour of the assertion we are discussing, namely that everyone is obligated to defend and to assist someone who is in danger. But it appears that the gloss does not agree with this position when it states in argument that "no one is entitled to provide a benefit from what belongs to him (10 q. 2 c. Precarie)". [col. 400] Do explain how one responds to this.

Master: One responds by saying that this authority is argued in mutilated fashion, because the actual words of the chapter 10 q. 2 Precarie are as follows: "since both reason and custom hold that no one who does not want to should be forced against reason and interest to provide a benefit from what belongs to him". [col. 621] These words imply a conclusion much different than to simply say that no one is forced to provide a benefit from his property. For one is often forced to provide a benefit from one's property equally by divine and by natural law and also by human law. Indeed no one would otherwise be obligated to give alms to another from his property, an eventuality known as contrary to divine law, natural law, and human law also. But no one is forced to provide a benefit from his property against his interest or against reason. Surely to give alms from one's property is neither against reason nor against the spiritual interest of the almsgiver, although it may sometimes be against his temporal interest. Similarly, to defend a partner for nothing without temporal reward is not against one's interest (spiritual at least), nor against reason, and therefore one is frequently forced by divine and natural law to provide such a benefit to others for nothing.

Student: This response seems apparent. State therefore how one responds to the fifth instance.

Master: The answer is that as a rule no one is bound to perform military service at his own expense on behalf of a private person. But the rule occasionally fails, because if someone by performing military activity can save the life of another who cannot pay him remuneration, he is obligated to perform military service at his own expense on behalf of that person so as to save his life. If for instance a soldier involved in battle were to see a partner strongly pressed by enemies and in mortal danger, he would if he could be obligated to liberate the partner from danger without hope of receiving remuneration from him.

Student: The soldier receives a salary from the ruler in order to defend when possible the ruler and the latter's faithful. Therefore he must defend a partner whenever required without expecting to receive remuneration from the partner.

Master: Just as the soldier receives a remuneration from the ruler which also applies to a defense of his fellow soldiers when the situation warrants, so does everyone receive a command from God and the law of nature to defend partners whenever necessary. And a precept of God and of the natural law obligates one no less than a salary received from the ruler. Therefore just as a soldier is bound to defend his fellow soldiers when he conveniently can, so is everyone bound to defend a partner when he conveniently can.

Student: State how one responds to the final objection.

Master: The answer is that although no one is forced by the laws to provide a benefit, one is nevertheless frequently forced by the laws to perform a good act. Indeed, neither divine nor human law orders the provision of benefits, since Augustine states right after the words which you used in argument that "no one can provide a benefit unless he chooses to, and out of love, which is the preserve of free will". One gathers from these words that just as the will cannot be coerced, neither can anyone be forced to provide a benefit. But someone may be forced to perform a good act, the obligation being indeed absolute at certain times and merely conditional at others. And thus divine and human laws force one to the conditional provision of a benefit, namely, to defend a partner when possible, if one wishes to avoid both a temporal and an eternal penalty.

Student: I consider this to be a reasonable response. But the gloss on the words "you are forced" [the words are in the canon Ad fidem col. 939] appears to conflict with it when it states: "for he who provides a benefit out of fear is deemed to have done nothing". [col. 1348] One gathers from these words that someone may provide a benefit out of fear, and thus someone is conditionally forced to provide a benefit at least out of fear, just as he is forced to perform a good action

Master: The answer is that the gloss would have grasped the intention of Augustine's text more precisely had it stated: "he who performs a good action out of fear is deemed to have done nothing". Just so does Augustine state (as recorded in Extra, De regulis iuris): "he who carries out a command out of fear acts otherwise than he should, and therefore is deemed here to have done nothing [meritorious]". [col. 928] It may nevertheless be said that the gloss used the expression 'to provide a benefit' as an equivalent of the expression 'to do a good action'. And there is no doubt that the laws force individuals to perform good actions. Therefore some persons frequently perform good actions from fear of the laws, and thus they provide a benefit out of fear, taking 'to provide a benefit' as the meaningful equivalent of 'to do a good action'. But Augustine understands the expression 'to provide a benefit' differently: as the doing of something from good will and with merit.