Temperance 1 is the virtue that enables reason to guide us in the balanced experience of the pleasures we experience through the sense of touch so no harm arises out of that enjoyment. It allows us to live in the world but not be consumed by it or be lost into it, whether we eat or drink or enjoy sexuality. It restrains us from violating the divine and the natural moral law.
Temperance 2 involves the acts of man with regard to his own life, yet its influence spreads into all aspects of man's life, including those around him. Justice involves the acts of man with regard to others, that man treats others as they should be treated according to the divine and the natural moral law. Fortitude helps man selflessly put aside thoughts of self and act for the sake of others first, and prudence helps man to think rightly, helping him to do all things rightly.
Temperance helps man act in a way that truly promotes his own well-being and self-preservation, avoiding that which is destructive, and without being selfish in so doing. Temperance promotes the fidelity practiced in marriage and family life and results in good for the children, as well as all men and women in society. Temperance helps man avoid the excesses of the passions, whether in the pursuit of pleasure or in regard to his emotional response to situations that arise in life.
When man lives without balance in the pursuit of pleasure he invites illness, violence, accidental injuries, death by many causes, and the general instability and disintegration of the natural order that is meant to exist in his life, including his family and society as a whole. When he is quick to anger or angry for the wrong reason, he endangers himself, but when he restrains his anger and avoids acting rashly, he preserves life (Proverbs 29:11).
Incalculable numbers of lives have been destroyed through intemperate living, whether as a result of the abuse of drugs, alcohol, unrestrained gambling, sexual promiscuity and the prostitution, sex trafficking and slavery arising from it, disease, or other indulgences. It does not mean that no wine is ever taken, for example, but that man avoids drunkenness or anything that impairs his judgment and could lead to harm.
Temperance also helps man to unwaveringly carry the burden that arises out of the lack of the pleasurable and even the necessities of life, especially during periods of actual pain, hunger, and other forms of suffering. It helps man face the adversities of life. Leaders and managers in every industry recognize that without temperance, no success is possible, as the individuals are then led astray, lose focus on their mission and inevitably invite scandal, disorder and disaster.
Because temperance helps man stay focused and not lose his way, it helps man make the right decisions each day, to remain true to those who count on him or her, to get up and do what needs to be done, to care for and continue caring for others throughout the day.
If man chooses to be intemperate and succumbs to all of his desires, he is quickly swallowed up and is lost. He becomes the prodigal who sometimes never returns and never finds his way back home, to the anguish of his mother and father and all others who have loved him. Temperance helps the young grow into responsible members of society.
Medical, nursing and allied health care educators constantly survey the students to weed out those who display intemperance. Such students are simply not allowed in the field if they are discovered during training. For example, an intoxicated physician or nurse cannot work safely with patients, just as individuals in any field are not suited to work well in this condition.
The Hippocratic Oath 3 of physicians emphasizes the need for temperance and purity among those who serve the ailing. Temperance is the virtue that helps man control his desires and restrain his actions according to right reason. The Oath demands that:
"In purity and according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art...
"Into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick, avoiding any voluntary act of impropriety or corruption, including the seduction of women or men...."
The intemperate man disgraces himself in one way and many ways. So long as he lives without restraint, he never achieves what he is meant to do and wanders through life. His path is filled with pain and tragedy, taking many with him. Many laugh at such warnings, and they, caring little, find out only too late how wrong they were.
If we honestly look back on our lives, we know that even if we mistakenly thought we were doing the right, we have eventually caused pain for ourselves and others when we acted intemperately. In fact, pain or suffering is caused when our body, emotions, mind and spirit are not as they are meant to be, when they are out of harmony with each other or within themselves. When we act wrongly, out of harmony with God's will, we cause pain to ourselves and others.
Temperance promotes purity in action, so that we act when it is right to do so. It promotes modesty. With the gift of temperance, man and woman become chaste, filled with divine love and refrain from doing that which would harm themselves or any other, whether emotionally, psychologically, spiritually or physically. Temperance helps man do what will cause good in the long-term as well as the short-term.
As modern society is virtually lawless, the idea of being modest or chaste, (a virtue arising through temperance) is rarely mentioned, and if mentioned, these virtues are energetically mocked. Proud man thinks, "Nothing will happen to me if I have sexual relations with many!" and afterward says, "Nothing happened to me!" but eventually he may acquire a disease, cause a pregnancy, have an accident, cause or suffer heartache that lingers for years, lose a job, or find that opportunities he had hoped for are no longer available, and without a doubt, he and others will suffer needlessly.
When some promote modesty and chaste living through "abstinence education" in the schools, especially as the real and obvious (to the intellectually honest) solution for the epidemic of unplanned pregnancies in the young unwed, they are virulently opposed. To the extent those who are lost into the culture of death oppose them, we can know that providing proper education to the young is absolutely essential to restoring the culture of life. Temperance enables man to awaken from the delusion promoted in the culture of death.
Where the young learn the truth and are taught the divine and the natural moral law, many return to the right path. Sexuality, as pervasively promoted as it is in the culture of death society, is much misunderstood. Man can live an entire lifetime, experience sexual relations, and never understand it rightly.
The attraction to sexual pleasure is one of the strongest urges and is therefore, one of the most difficult to master. Without a proper upbringing, the young, as well as the adult, struggle and have great difficulty in finding the way, especially when they are intentionally led astray.
As all that the Creator created is good, sexuality is good, enjoyed within the right and loving respectful relationship of marriage, and when man is in right relationship with his Creator and his or her spouse. When man forgets his Creator, he misuses all things, sexuality, food, drink, wealth, power, knowledge, or any other thing in this world.
Seeking fulfillment his own way, proud man goes astray and misses the mark, becomes caught in fleeting pleasures, yet feels empty and unfulfilled in the end. Rather than climbing the mountain of life and finding true fulfillment, he falls downhill without any self-control or restraint (2 Peter 1:5-6).
Man forgets God over and over, living for himself, making the things of this world his goal or idol, rather than giving God his first allegiance. Betraying Him in this way, man loses himself to the world. When proud man is involved in pseudo-religion, he may attempt to forcibly control his urges and may even consider sexuality bad. It is not sexuality that is wrong in any way, but its application. It is a question of where man's mind and heart dwell (Matthew 5:28).
The culture of death encourages man to be constantly obsessed with the experience of pleasures of the senses. He loses himself in a dark cloud of selfishness and no longer perceives the sanctity of life. Yet, if man yearns for the dear Lord with all his being, he lives a life of purity serving all and experiences even greater joy, whether married or not. Only when man gives his heart, body, mind and soul to God completely , is the law fulfilled.
Are we not to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37)? If man ever does this, truly , then just as a lover's life is dedicated to serving his beloved, a devotee of the dear Lord and servant of all realizes that his body, mind and soul, his very life, is no longer his own to misuse or to do with as he wishes.
Man can never be chaste in thought or action unless he has first surrendered himself completely to the dear Lord. When he has, the dear Lord grants him the gift of being chaste, which is first and foremost, a true inner dedication to God and only secondarily, mastery of his sexual nature. For those who are called to do so, man may set aside the enjoyments of married life to give his or her life to God alone, in a monastery or through service to man in the world.
These exalted souls demonstrate divine conduct in the world. In such a saintly soul, this is not a hardship, but an opportunity to serve. Some of the prophets of the Old Testament, along with St. John the Baptist, the dear Lord Jesus, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross are just a few examples of those who were blessed to live such a one-pointed and dedicated life.
Some may look upon those who wear the robes of special religious orders with disdain and impulsively ridicule them. This only shows their lack of understanding. We need to look at the person who has wonderfully given themselves completely to God in purity and serves in various ways either in society or within a community of religious.
The dear Lord lived this way, demonstrating in his own life the virtues of living temperately, being chaste, living in harmony with life itself and setting the inspiring example of the purest, selfless servant of all. He changed the world, giving us hope that we may finally find the Light of the World!
That same temperance enables man to master himself so that he enjoys life as it is meant to be enjoyed and finally opens to the inner journey and the way of faith. Temperate man realizes that his ultimate joy is to be found within his relationship to God, and then, if he is married, he lives well, loves more fully and is a blessing to his family.
Man cannot live rightly, ruled by right reason, or worship God in truth as long as he is swayed by emotion or impulse or selfishly makes his own pleasure his ultimate goal . When man sincerely seeks the dear Lord, temperance will accompany him on his journey in this world, keeping him safely on the right path.
In the heat of battle or the challenges of healthcare settings, temperance enables us to avoid distraction, and therefore to be more likely to think clearly and act in a balanced way. At such times, decisions are often life-changing and even life-saving or losing, and can not only help or hurt others, but can help or hurt ourselves. Our duty to ourselves, as well as those we serve, requires that, for their sake, we remain focused and act reasonably, and temperance helps us to do just that.
Temperance helps man and woman choose to avoid sexual activity until marriage and thereby avoid causing a pregnancy before marriage. It, along with justice, helps mother and father of any age avoid acting impulsively and have their child medically-killed through abortion. Temperance, rather than being a destroyer of "good times," brings true joy and fulfillment through the good life it promotes, a life lived according to right reason.
As all of society is composed of individuals, only individually temperate men and women can produce a harmonious and orderly society, a society that affirms the divine and the natural moral law in its activity. Only individually temperate men and women can collectively bring into being a culture of life.
Fortitude 4 arises in us when the love of God overflows toward those around us, toward those we serve, and impels us to overcome our fear and go out, even alone, to defend the vulnerable in the battlefield of war when facing the risk of death or other dangers. It moves us to stand up and do the right, to mercifully alleviate suffering, to advocate for the patients and victimized, even when confronted with intimidation, retaliation, or attacks of many sorts.
Fortitude enables us to face the challenges of daily life, to be parents to our children, and in times of war, to serve courageously as medics, nurses, and others in the field, caring for the injured even while at risk of losing our own life. It helps us to not be frozen in fear and to move forward and do what is necessary, while also avoiding reckless actions that endanger us and therefore, deprive others of the vital services we can provide.
Fortitude enables us to courageously continue to fight the good fight, to run the race till it's done, no matter what obstacles and hardship we may face (1 Timothy 1:18-19; Hebrews 12:1-16). Healthcare workers and caregivers face the prospect of often very difficult work, often under sometimes abusive or otherwise trying circumstances. Fortitude gives them the ability to carry on in the face of such hardships, to not "burn out" and lose touch with the merciful spirit of their mission, with their love, and with hope that good will come from serving. The Red Cross serves humanity
Clara Barton 5 was moved to alleviate the suffering of the wounded Union soldiers during the American Civil War and established a relief organization to gather needed medical supplies. She worked tirelessly to care for the sick and wounded, supervised nursing care during the War and elsewhere, and established what became the American Red Cross. Like Florence Nightingale, she introduced improvements in hygiene and cleanliness involving patients and caregivers alike, saving many.
Fortitude enabled Clara Barton to work for forty years helping those in greatest need. She, Florence Nightingale, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and innumerable healthcare professionals and caregivers throughout history demonstrated a labor of sacrificial love in serving those most vulnerable and in the greatest need. Barton said,
"You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable
or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it."
Those who work in healthcare or in service in other fields may find themselves beset with conflicting responsibilities: one to their employer, one to their superior who orders them to do an act, and one to their patient. Their mission, their license, the divine and the natural moral law require them to protect and act for the benefit of the patient, even if it conflicts with orders from their superior in healthcare such as the physician, and even if it conflicts with orders from their employer.
Fortitude enables the healthcare employee to bear the reprimands and difficulties that arise when the employer or superior does not act in accordance with the divine and the natural moral law, or the standards of care. It enables them to patiently and respectfully go "up the chain of command" to advocate for their patient.
However, when it is clear that the employer, the superior and the government knowingly act wrongly in violation of the good (such as occurs regularly in the culture of death), then the healthcare employee may in good conscience leave that employer and seek out one that strives to do the good. He or she may be called to begin new work as a patient advocate, or to help raise funds for, or work with others, to create pro-life facilities administered by those who honor and protect the patients, serving them in all humility with reverence for life.
A man or woman with fortitude has courage which comes from the Latin word, "cor," for heart . Someone with heart is dedicated and true , like an arrow that flies straight to its target. How valiant man can be! How brave, how loyal, how self-sacrificing! Such individuals are worthy of trust and deep respect, and dependably fulfill the duty that they serve, because they have the self-discipline to stay on target.
It is fortitude that enables the individual to do what is necessary to be as self-reliant as possible - doing for himself and those depending upon him what he is able to do. It is fortitude that not only strengthens the man, but creates a strong and prosperous society composed of hard-working individuals who can then give charitably to those in need. Fortitude enables man to be reliable and such a man is honored among his peers.
A part of every man and woman hungers to be found worthy of such trust, but to what cause shall we give our life's energy? Honorable men and women lost in seemingly meaningless endeavors hunger for a worthy cause! Shall they sacrifice their lives to endless evil, revenge and hatred? Or to the good and healing of all? What can be more worthy than to do the good, to defend the vulnerable, to heal, to care and love, to honor man and the dear Lord? ... to truly live?
With all the challenges that come in life, in every time and in every place, there is a worthy cause. It is man's destiny to find that cause, and fortitude is that great virtue which enables man to never give up, to keep going, even when it seems that all is lost. It is the bravery that arises out of fortitude that strengthens man's resolve, allows him to risk everything for his brothers and sisters in this world. Fortitude enables man to retain his honor when tested in life.
So, we move through this world, through time and space from birth to death in this world. We learn from our mother and father about this world, drinking in not only the milk that brings us life but the wisdom to live this life. We grow and encounter others in the world and with them come the challenges that arise out of competing interests or life itself. Then arise the challenges that come with dealing with the evil of war, illness, injury, and suffering of all sorts.
We may be discouraged. We may feel all alone, but we are not alone ! Somewhere along the line we may encounter those of like mind and heart who adore the Lord, who recognize the natural moral law and strive to abide by it and the divine law. As man, we are social creatures, meant to experience relationship , brother and sister with brother and sister, man with his God - our God.
What a joy there is in meeting those who share this journey from love to love, a love that extends from East to West, earth to sky, from God to man and from man back to God! When we meet others on this journey, when her words could be your best words, you recognize her: she is your sister! When his words remind you of what you had forgotten deep inside, you recognize him: he is your brother !
Whether husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, child or "stranger," when they walk in the ways of the Lord, these are your own, the blessed community, given to you by God for your benefit and theirs. Recognizing them as such, you may laugh! You may weep with joy! You will take their hand as they lead you in the safe paths, and you will know an authentic hope ! You will know and call each other friend !
Even one thought to be the greatest man in society may find the answer he seeks in the words of his wife, just as one thought to be the greatest woman may also find that answer in her husband's guidance. Each has been given the other for this very purpose, no matter how exalted the position each may hold, no matter how great one's knowledge or ability may be (Genesis 2:18). This is not a mystery!
Yes, we as brothers and sisters may disagree, even quarrel. We are all but man, limited in our understanding, and often blinded by desires or incomplete understanding, we choose the foolish! Yet, with the loving spirit underneath it all, we work out these quarrels, forgiving, understanding, recognizing ourselves in the other. When son and daughter become man and woman, they become brother and sister if they choose the right, otherwise they may become something other than what family or friend is meant to be.
What a joy it is to recognize grown son and grown daughter as brother and sister in the world, taking their place at our side as man and woman in the world - friend as well as son and daughter - if we have played our roles rightly. The love we feel for "our own" extends to those friends all around - the brotherhood and sisterhood of men.
We realize that just as men and women no longer marry in heaven (Matthew 22:30), that their love is universal and unconditional, the love we feel for those of our own family is meant to extend to all, bringing in the kingdom of heaven's love to Earth. These are the free people who form the blessed community of man, living together with reverence for God and love of man.
And just as children may ask their mothers and fathers those questions, - "What is that?" "Where does it come from?" "Why is the sky blue?" "How?" "Why?" - we may ask our brothers and sisters, "What should I do?" "What do you think?" "Help me!"
When we still do not see the way forward, when striving to fulfill the divine and the natural moral law, remaining honest and seeking to be objective in our evaluation of the situation, seeking to do good and avoid evil that may harm, considering what is prudent, what precautions need to be taken and what is safe for those concerned, when we consider what is just, what is faithful, what is merciful, even considering the law of double-effect if needed - we still may be confused !
It is the lot of man to encounter such situations. In these cases, God has given us more: our brothers and sisters in spirit (Matthew 12:48-50) and our Counselor, the Holy Spirit! God has given us those closest to us, our husband, our wife, our father and mother. Man is blessed by the wife of noble character (Proverbs 12:4) who speaks words of wisdom.
If we would find the right way , knowing what to do, we listen and consider the advice of our wife or husband, and our brothers and sisters in this world (Proverbs 12:15; James 5:13-20). What a joy it is to hear the words of our wiser brothers and sisters, our friends and colleagues, who compassionately show us the way of life! They remove our doubts! They comfort us!
When we thirst for His touch, when we cannot rest till we see Him, when we feel as if we would die without Him, there can be no confusion about what is the right and what is the wrong! In this opening to Him, the Holy Spirit is heard clearly. There is no confusion when we consider all that the good mother and good father have taught us. Our well-informed conscience tells us to go to the right, to the left or straight ahead. There is no confusion when we consult with our wiser brothers and sisters in this world.
Whatever we choose and will to do, whatever we actually do in this world, we act alone as man in the world, even if there are many others right beside us in the doing. "Consensus" decisions are actually the decisions of each man and woman on a committee, whether or not the decision is in the "name of" each listed individual or the group. In the end, each of us is responsible for what we decide, whether we act individually or as part of a group.
Throughout life, we are essentially alone, interacting with others and our God. The choices we make are our own, and only a courageous man or woman can act contrary to peer pressure, should it be necessary to remain true to what conscience tells us is right, what the divine and the natural moral law tell us is right, what the principles of the ethics of life tell us is right. Principles, including justice, mercy, faithfulness, honesty, fortitude, temperance, prudence, and necessary caution, must all be used regularly to guide our actions.
In an effort to manipulate man, what we know as the yearning for the brotherhood of man may be misused by those who seek their own power. Many people naturally seek peace on Earth and agree that "if everybody would just get along" much would be solved. However, when man strives to create such a brotherhood of man, without being guided by the divine and the natural moral law, without honoring God in humility, he always gets it wrong.
Some idea, whether political or religious, or both, is often misused to motivate and manipulate man to impose such a "brotherhood" or even a worldview. Anyone who doesn't agree is either punished, imprisoned, exiled, or killed. This is coercion of man, either through brutal intimidation within society, or open war. This is the method used by leaders of gangs and the violent movements that fuel revolutions and war waged to achieve personal power and tyranny.
Only proud man, greedily desiring more power, more wealth, and more land, could ever choose to wage war when all around him is the beauty created by our God. Proud man thinks nothing of beauty, deadening his heart to what God would have him see. Ignoring blue skies, white clouds, the brilliance of the sun, birds singing, animals all around, and the so brightly-colored flowers in the fields, the brutal elites subjugate others and create empires built upon innumerable tears.
In life there are many situations where we may be instructed or even "commanded" to do something contrary to the natural moral law. During World War II, the National Socialists in Germany ("the Nazis") seeking to create the perfect society, commanded healthcare workers and soldiers to commit atrocities against millions of people - the killing of the innocent, the vulnerable elderly, disabled, ailing, the unwanted, ethnic groups, the Christians, Jewish and Gypsy peoples and many more.
The Roman emperors, Napoleon Bonaparte, Stalin, along with Hitler, commanded their soldiers to commit atrocities as well. Military law requires soldiers to obey direct orders, and any who disobey are subject to court-martial, imprisonment, and sometimes execution. Yet, men still act as man in the world, as individuals with the freedom of will given to them by God.
Most people do not think of healthcare in this way, but those who work in the field know that it functions exactly like the military, with orders coming from administrators and physicians down the line to all healthcare workers. Even if ordered to do wrong, to participate in an abortion, euthanasia or assisted suicide, for example, all healthcare professionals may choose to refuse and thereby do what is right.
Physicians once ruled the hospitals, clinics and even their own office practices. Today, administrators of the healthcare agencies or corporations make the final decisions, often subject to funding decisions made by health insurance companies or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid in the USA, or the National Health Service in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
Physicians, as employees of a hospital or agency corporation, are required to obey what comes to them from above, just like a soldier in the military. If they disobey, like the soldiers, they are subject to administrative and peer review, retaliation to force a resignation, suspension, dismissal, or worse, blackballing.
Individuals who work in any of the healthcare professions are pressured to comply with administrative decisions or physician orders from above. In culture of death facilities, corrupt facilities, those who resist are disciplined and those who expose the corporation's or agency's corruption or wrongdoing are often blackballed so that the employee is not hired, even at other healthcare agencies.
In other words, if you "toe the line" and obey, just going along with an unjust agenda, you keep your job, but if you fight, it may cost you your job or career. This is what happens to whistleblowers who care about the ethics of what they do, the true interests of the patient and the integrity of services provided. They live through a nightmare created by those who seek to protect their power, but like dedicated patriots, they stand firm, speak the truth and risk all for the benefit of the vulnerable and the general public.
Every employee recognizes these threats to the patients as well as the threat to their own employment, should they speak up and defy an administrative policy or medical order that is a violation of the standards of care or the patient's rights. If we are to follow the ethics of life, we must remain true to the patient's interests first.
What most people do not realize, as well, is that in a national emergency when martial law is declared, the licensed healthcare professionals are absorbed into the military. Healthcare personnel are directly answerable to those military officers in charge of any facility or region of the nation and may be ordered to go here or there and do whatever the military government demands. These officers in each nation act under the direction of the state or provincial Governor, and yes, the President, Prime Minister, or other national leader.
In times of war and national emergency, healthcare professionals are required to conform to the standards and laws of the wartime or emergency regime. Under Nazi rule during WW II, physicians and nurses who carried out inhumane experimentation on humans or medically-killed patients and prisoners sometimes did so under orders .
After the war, in 1946-47, 23 Nazi physicians and administrators, when brought to trial in the case of USA vs. Karl Brandt et. al., stated that what they had done did not violate the laws and had been done by others before.
"The specific crimes charged included more than twelve series of medical experiments concerning the effects of and treatments for high altitude conditions, freezing, malaria, poison gas, sulfanilamide, bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration, bone transplantation, saltwater consumption, epidemic jaundice, sterilization, typhus, poisons, and incendiary bombs.
"These experiments were conducted on concentration camp inmates. Other crimes involved the killing of Jews for anatomical research, the killing of tubercular Poles, and the euthanasia of sick and disabled civilians in Germany and occupied territories. The defendants were charged with ordering, supervising, or coordinating criminal activities, as well as participating in them directly. The fourth count concerned membership in the SS (Schuttzstaffeln) of the Nazi regime.
"Karl Brandt and six other defendants were convicted, sentenced to death, and executed; nine defendants were convicted and sentenced to terms in prison; and seven defendants were acquitted." 6
The judges in this case developed a ten-point code for ethical experimentation, known as:
The Nuremberg Code 7
1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.
This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that, before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject, there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person, which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.
The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study, that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
5. No experiment should be conducted, where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
9. During the course of the experiment, the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end, if he has reached the physical or mental state, where continuation of the experiment seemed to him to be impossible.
10. During the course of the experiment, the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.
" Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10 ", Vol. 2, pp. 181-182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949.
It is clear from the points listed that every attempt must be made to assure the well-being of the patient or subject in experimentation and especially to avoid harm. In other words, whatever the law or orders from above tell us to do, we are required by international standards of decency and conscience (what is already known to man through "the natural moral law") to do good and avoid evil .
Yes, there may be a price to be paid by us, but if we knowingly and intentionally commit harm, we as individuals are still responsible for choosing to do it. We are called to follow the higher law, the divine and the natural moral law! What may be surprising to some is that the Nuremberg Code was never adopted as law in the United States or Germany , and therefore does not have the force of national law. 8
Adolf Eichmann, 9 not a physician, but a Nazi officer in charge of the program that sent millions to the concentration camps to be killed, is considered one of the worst Nazi war criminals. He initially escaped capture, but in 1960 was brought to Israel to stand trial for his war crimes and executed in 1961. Eichmann defended his actions by stating he was just following orders. We can see how far " just following orders " can lead a man to go.
Though the Allied nations fighting the Nazis during WW II were absolutely aware of the concentration camps and the extermination of the Jewish peoples, as well as others, since 1942, no particular effort was made by the Allies to bomb the railways that led to the camps or to rescue those sent there to be killed. The evil of this Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis occurred with the full knowledge of the Allied nations, including the United States, United Kingdom and other nations.
Significantly, some of the rationale used by Hitler and his Nazis to justify the eugenics and euthanasia program under Nazi rule was inspired by American writers such as Margaret Sanger (founder of what is now the assembly-line medical baby-killing industry giant called "Planned Parenthood") and other members of the Euthanasia Society of America (whose successor corporation is the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization). 10 It is clear that there were some who cared little about the evils of the Nazi regime as the U.S. government recruited known Nazis to work in the United States after the war. 11
Internationally, however, the World Medical Association adopted in 1964 what is called the " Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects " 12 which promotes principles similar to those of the Nuremberg Code. The Declaration of Helsinki is said to have been based upon "traditional medical ethics" and drew material from the 1948 Declaration of Geneva that stated for a physician, "The health of my patient will be my first consideration." Tragically, today's physicians consider many things before they consider what will best promote the patient's health.
Knowing our brothers and sisters, those who live here on this Earth, we reach out to them as they reach out to us. They call out, "Will anyone help me?" "Doesn't anyone care?" "Don't leave me!" We must act! There is so little time while we are on this Earth - the time flies so quickly.
Victims of war, violence, fraud, betrayal, human trafficking and slavery - victims of addiction, illness both physical, mental and other - all cry out to us, "Help me!" Haven't you been alone one time, lost and afraid, desperate and bereft of any hope, thinking no one would ever understand or care? Do you know what it means to be that alone? Have you known what it is to be assailed by those who would hurt you on every side?
While leaders promise good for all, secretly stuffing their pockets with wealth they accumulate through secret deals and information, the people suffer. Unjust national, state and even county and city leaders use their power to enrich their friends while robbing the people of their earnings. Unjust prosecutors look the other way when the vulnerable are killed, especially when those who are killed are "the unwanted" elderly, chronically-ill, disabled, children, or other targeted groups.
Unjust judges refuse to hear all the evidence or all the witnesses, or they take sides in a legal dispute and intervene during the proceedings so that no justice is done. Just as death may be manipulated into occurring, the outcome of legal proceedings can be manipulated to assure an outcome favorable to the elite and powerful, while attempting to create the impression of fair and impartial justice.
How long can we witness these things and not be moved to speak out and act? How long will we remain silent while incalculable numbers of people are harmed? So many suffer needlessly. So many who should be ashamed of their conduct are not ashamed but are pleased with and brag about the evil they do.
The divine and the natural moral law not only guide us in doing good and avoiding evil in our own lives, they guide us to relieve the suffering of others wherever we can, however we can do so morally. We are called to stop the evil we do and also to relieve the suffering of those who have been victimized, to help as we may. Tragedy caused by man and tragedy caused by Nature may strike any of us, anywhere, though we may think, "it will never happen here, not to us, not to me!" But it does, and when it does, then we are reminded, we are just man, on this great planet, and we plead for help.
If we, the people, do not help, then we who are in need will often not be helped, because God most often helps us through others in the blessed community, ourselves. We are those who can, who would, and must help. Have you chosen, willed to and actually helped? Have I? Have we done enough in the face of such great suffering? As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
What shall we do if we have reverence for life? What does it mean in my life and yours? I, and you, will have to decide for ourselves and then do it, for if we turn our back on our brothers and sisters, we have betrayed our very purpose for being on this Earth.
Yes, there is a price we may pay if we help, but there is a much more terrible price if we do nothing. If we do nothing, we will certainly rupture the relationship between ourselves and our God (Matthew 25:31-46). Could it be that the emptiness experienced by so many in their lives is a result of our failure to do what we are called to do?
If we choose to help, we may leave that empty life behind and find the happiness we have been seeking all along! Sacrificial love comes with great blessings that the proud and self-centered man can never understand.
While we give, we receive more than can be expressed! A little kindness here, a little helping hand there, day by day we can make a difference. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta has said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." If we do this - what we already know is right to be done - we have done enough.
6 Harvard Law School Summary " USA v. Karl Brandt et al. ," also known as "The Doctors' Trial" of 1946-47. For more information on what the Nazi Doctors did, see: Robert J Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide , Basic Books, 2000; and see: George J Annas and Michael A Grodin (Editors), The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation , Oxford Univ Press, 1995. [ Back ]
7 " The Nuremberg Code ," "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10", Vol. 2, pp. 181-182. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949. [ Back ]
10 Hospice Patients Alliance, " Euthanasia Society of America finally absorbed into National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization - The Timeline ," Sources: NHPCO and Patients Rights Council. [ Back ]
11 Eric Lichtblau, " Nazis Were Given 'Safe Haven' in U.S., Report Says ," NY Times, Nov 13, 2010; also see the very revealing: US DOJ, The Office of Special Investigations: Striving for Accountability in the Aftermath of the Holocaust , US DOJ, Dec 2006. (file mirrored at the Ofc of Medical and Scientific Justice website) [ Back ]
12 World Medical Association, " Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects ," June 1964, most recent amendment: 2008. [ Back ]