Sci-fi/theoretical/moral/legal questions
#1
So recently I've been watching the series The 100
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100_(TV_series)
It's about post-nuclear war events in which a few thousand people, who were on international space stations when the doomsday came, live on the said stations joined and called The Ark. 97 years after the war they send 100 or so prisoners to check whether Earth is habitable again.
On The Ark, due to the dropping oxygen levels, any crime for adults is punishable by death. Including having more than one child.
A few questions:
Is it lawful, according to Catholic theology, to ban having more than one child in such circumstances? When it was found out that one woman had been hiding her second child - daughter - the child was not in any way punished, only the mother. So it's not like abortion or anything. Nothing is said about contraception or abortions in general so it can be assumed they're not mandatory in this space station state of humanity.
Is it also lawful, given the circumstances (oxygen), to punish any crime however minor by death?

I'd probably say that in such an apocalyptic situation a Catholic chancellor of The Ark would be perfectly justified in applying such laws.

But what do you think? Hopefully we'll never have to find out.
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#2
The whole purpose of procreation is to keep the human species alive.  In the event of a hypothetical situation where the human species was constrained and excessive procreation posed a realistic threat to the survival of the species, I would think the state would have a reasonable duty to punish that threat.  Whether death is a just punishment is another question.  Probably acceptable if it is the only means to protect the society.
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#3
Is it lawful, according to Catholic theology, to ban having more than one child in such circumstances?

No, it is not lawful according to Catholic theology to ban having more than one child. Artificial contraception is also considered sinful according to Catholic theology.
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#4
Is it also lawful, given the circumstances (oxygen), to punish any crime however minor by death?

According to Catholic moral theology the punishment should be proportionate to the crime.
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#5
"Poche" Wrote:According to Catholic moral theology the punishment should be proportionate to the crime.
Can it be argued that when resources are very scarce (on a space station) any crime is major and thus punishable by death?

"Poche" Wrote:No, it is not lawful according to Catholic theology to ban having more than one child. Artificial contraception is also considered sinful according to Catholic theology.
Nothing was said in the series that contraception was promoted as the means of having only one child and not more. If it can be argued (as did Pius XII) that natural family planning or abstinence can be licit in grave circumstances (when a family has no money whatsoever, is on the verge of poverty and the like), cannot the same argument be made for a big but not very big group of humans (a few thousands) that have to survive for 100 years in space?
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#6
Pope Paul essentially addressed this in Populorum Progressio.  Granted, he was dealing with fears of overpopulation, which was not as narrow and immediate a situation as in this hypothetical, but I think the same principles would logically apply.  Basically, he said public authorities could educate people about the dangers and need to limit births as a solution, but ultimately the decision belongs to the parents alone:

Populorum Progressio Wrote:37. There is no denying that the accelerated rate of population growth brings many added difficulties to the problems of development where the size of the population grows more rapidly than the quantity of available resources to such a degree that things seem to have reached an impasse. In such circumstances people are inclined to apply drastic remedies to reduce the birth rate.

There is no doubt that public authorities can intervene in this matter, within the bounds of their competence. They can instruct citizens on this subject and adopt appropriate measures, so long as these are in conformity with the dictates of the moral law and the rightful freedom of married couples is preserved completely intact. When the inalienable right of marriage and of procreation is taken away, so is human dignity.

Finally, it is for parents to take a thorough look at the matter and decide upon the number of their children. This is an obligation they take upon themselves, before their children already born, and before the community to which they belong—following the dictates of their own consciences informed by God's law authentically interpreted, and bolstered by their trust in Him. (39)
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/...lorum.html
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#7
Yes, this quote pretty well fits into this scenario. However, I think the pontiff was referring to resources such as food, which, it could be argued, would be the responsibility of parents having another child to provide. There being one more person would not directly affect the size of resources for the others.
With oxygen it's different. No matter what happens, there will be less breathable air for the rest.

Which leads to another question

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS [if anyone wanted to watch the series]
When the 100 prisoners are already on Earth, calculations on the Ark show that  in order to even have a chance to fix installations providing air, as many as a few hundred people must die so that the others may have time to do the repairs. Otherwise, everyone would die earlier from lack of oxygen.
Now many people volunteer so that their families etc. may have a chance to go back to Earth. As far as the details are concerned, the volunteers where moved to one section of the station where then oxygen supply was cut off. So in a way there was an agency of the government in their dying. As you can see, there's no black and white solutions, and this was the only possibility for the others to live longer.
Is their deed to be considered to be like suicide? Or on the contrary - as something similar to what St Maksymilian Kolbe did in Auschwitz?
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#8
It may be immoral to do such things but one could also consider the fact that you don't have to have more then one child in that situation. By having more then one child in that situation seems to be a violation of prudential judgement.

I guess it's a good thing we aren't in such a situation. 


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#9
(02-01-2016, 11:19 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Pope Paul essentially addressed this in Populorum Progressio.  Granted, he was dealing with fears of overpopulation, which was not as narrow and immediate a situation as in this hypothetical, but I think the same principles would logically apply.  Basically, he said public authorities could educate people about the dangers and need to limit births as a solution, but ultimately the decision belongs to the parents alone:

Then, in this situation, assuming that it were true that limiting the number of persons was essential for the survival of the species, you are saying any Catholic married couple has the right to procreate the rest of the species into imminent extinction.
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#10

(02-02-2016, 12:02 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(02-01-2016, 11:19 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Pope Paul essentially addressed this in Populorum Progressio.  Granted, he was dealing with fears of overpopulation, which was not as narrow and immediate a situation as in this hypothetical, but I think the same principles would logically apply.  Basically, he said public authorities could educate people about the dangers and need to limit births as a solution, but ultimately the decision belongs to the parents alone:

Then, in this situation, assuming that it were true that limiting the number of persons was essential for the survival of the species, you are saying any Catholic married couple has the right to procreate the rest of the species into imminent extinction.

I agree with Melkite here. But I think that a lot of the moral code written about stuff like this doesn't take into consideration a scenario like the one being presented 


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