Monday, May 5, 2008

Quotes: Anscombe on Various Topics

Last week's biography of Anscombe at the adult Sunday school class went pretty well. Here are some interesting quotes of hers, most of which ended up making it into the presentation:

“You might as well accept any sexual goings–on, if you accept contraceptive intercourse.”

“There is one consideration here which has something like the position of absolute zero or the velocity of light in current physics. It cannot possibly be an exercise of civic authority deliberately to kill or mutilate innocent subjects.”

"In these days, the authorities claim the right to control not only the policy of the nation but also the actions of every individual within it; and their claim has the support of a large section of the people of the country, and of a peculiar force of emotion. This support is gained, and this emotion caused by the fact that they are "evil things" that we are fighting against. That they are evil we need have no doubt; yet many of us still feel distrust of these claims and these emotions lest they blind men to their duty of considering carefully, before they act, the justice of the things they propose to do. Men can be moved to fight by being made to hate the deeds of their enemies; but a war is not made just by the fact that one's enemies' deeds are hateful. Therefore it is our duty to resist passion and to consider carefully whether all the conditions of a just war are satisfied in this present war, lest we sin against the natural law by participating in it."

"For men to choose to kill the innocent as a means to their ends is always murder."

“It is nonsense to pretend that you do not intend to do what is the means you take to your chosen end. Otherwise there is absolutely no substance to the Pauline teaching that we may not do evil that good may come.”

“It is not a vague faith in the triumph of the spirit over force (there is little enough warrant for that), but a definite faith in the divine promises, that makes us believe that the Church cannot fail. Those, therefore, who think they must be prepared to wage a war with Russia involving the deliberate massacre of cities, must be prepared to say to God: 'We had to break your law, lest your Church fail. We could not obey your commandments, for we did not believe your promises.'”

“Each nation that has ‘liberal’ abortion laws has rapidly become, if it was not already, a nation of murderers.”

And last, but not least...

"If you do that again, I'll put you on the train to Bicester."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just gave a talk on Elizabeth Anscombe to my parish Council of Catholic Women, and it was a big success! I am so excited! None of these women had ever heard of her before, and now many of them are eager to know lots more about her and her tremendous ethical judgments so important for our day.

If anyone is interested, I can send you three attachments via e-mail: the text of the talk itself, the hand-out on the exceptionless norm against killing the innocent, and the prayer for Anscombe's beatification.

Contact me at:

Julianne Wiley