Author Topic: The Morality of Circumcision  (Read 729 times)

Rubecorks

Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2018, 01:05:18 PM »
Is this a moral concern for any traditionalist today?

My understanding is that it's one of those past medical embarrassments they put people through to get more money, like taking out the tonsils just because a child has a cold.

Just STOP IT.




 
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Mithrandylan

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Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2018, 01:18:27 PM »
SfC,

My argument isn't just that circumcision is impractical, but I think that it is actually an evil in the classic sense of the word.  It is a privation of something good and functioning. 

I have McFadden's book.  Look, here's why medical-moral issues are tricky, and why the Church doesn't really "rule" on them, ever.  It's the application of principle to some natural data which are often of differing reliability.  The Church is not in a position, nor are most theologians in a position, to opine on the effects of some medicine, procedure, or medical act.  They are in a position to provide principles and to apply those principles to certain acts.  One of those principles, relayed by St. Thomas (II-II Q. 64) is that the human body as a whole is good, and that excising certain members of it is only lawful if those members threaten or impugn the good of the whole (obvious example, imagine a limb with gangrene). 

So of course, almost any medical procedure could be good under the right conditions, even castration, even circumcision (say the foreskin became infected and it was credibly believed that unless it was removed the person would suffer some great and serious injury).  But they are good conditioned on the outcome actually being what medical professionals say it is.  Theologians who write about medical-moral issues are "handcuffed," to a certain extent, by what is known by medical professionals.

Remember when Fr. Cekada said it was alright for Terry Schiavo to be removed from her feeding tube?  A lot of traditionalists found his opinion truly barbaric, and many still have a grudge against him for supporting her no longer being kept alive.  Now, I disagree with what Fr. Cekada wrote, but he had the right principle in mind (mainly, that one is not morally obliged to maintain a life at all costs when it would otherwise end), he just erred in applying it to the facts.  And this is the trickiness of medical-moral theology.  One can have all the right principles, but if one has the wrong medical data, one will (inadvertently, without imputation of guilt of course) recommend or act in a wrong way. 

I say this as a way of emphasizing that when it comes to medical morality, we have to actually look at the medical arguments.  Having the principle is one thing, but if we're working with faulty medical data then we may very well apply the principle where it doesn't belong, or fail to apply it where it does.  We can't just have this argument as a matter of principle-- the actual effects of circumcision are essential to the discussion, and those effects are injury and relative loss of function (to genitalia) as a direct result of the foreskin's removal.  If the medical data suggested that uncircumcised men truly did face a significant health risk which could not be circumvented any other way, then circumcision indeed would be lawful.  But it doesn't say that; it's an old puritan's myth which perpetuated over generations and eventually resolved itself into faux-medical science and is now more or less a "cultural norm" that people just "know" is healthy when in point of fact it simply isn't.

(Finally, I've said at least twice that I'm not imputing guilt on anyone.  Parents who innocently circumcised their son(s) don't need defending here, but they do need to be informed).
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2Vermont

Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2018, 01:26:19 PM »
Evil?  Really?  Something that God required the Jews of the Old Covenant to do was....evil?  I'm trying to think of another example when God required us to do something evil...
"Anything, but sedevacantism"

(If you are open to sedevacantism and not a rabid anti-sede, then this is not about you)
 
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Mithrandylan

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Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2018, 01:29:05 PM »
Evil?  Really?  Something that God required the Jews of the Old Covenant to do was....evil?  I'm trying to think of another example when God required us to do something evil...

Crucial distinction, though.  Old Testament circumcision only removed a very small amount of foreskin, just above the tip, leaving the foreskin substantially intact and still able to function as it would if it were left completely alone.

Medical circumcision is the removal of the entire foreskin.  It's like the difference between piercing your ear and going Van Gogh.
I wear it for a memorable honor,
For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.
 
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Rubecorks

Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2018, 01:35:55 PM »
Evil?  Really?  Something that God required the Jews of the Old Covenant to do was....evil?  I'm trying to think of another example when God required us to do something evil...

Murder is killing. Murder is intrinsically evil. But all killing is not murder, nor intrinsically evil.

Mutilation is when something is destroyed for no good reason. If there is a good reason, then it is not mutilation and therefore not intrinsically evil.

 
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Mithrandylan

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Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2018, 01:38:39 PM »
Though I wouldn't recommend it for much else, Fisheaters actually has a good page here: https://www.fisheaters.com/circumcision2.html

The material on that page is not Vox's own composition, but material published from medical sources.  There are pictures (not photographs, but medical drawings) which show the difference between the Old Testament circumcision and modern circumcision, so be advised.

ETA: The images are from an article published by a Doctor George Denniston (who belongs to a group called Doctors against Circumcision, or something like that).  The page also includes recommendations from the AAP for proper care of newborn boys.  I unfortunately couldn't find either original source on the web, so am just linking to the FE page.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 01:40:56 PM by Mithrandylan »
I wear it for a memorable honor,
For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.
 

2Vermont

Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2018, 01:47:12 PM »
Evil?  Really?  Something that God required the Jews of the Old Covenant to do was....evil?  I'm trying to think of another example when God required us to do something evil...

Crucial distinction, though.  Old Testament circumcision only removed a very small amount of foreskin, just above the tip, leaving the foreskin substantially intact and still able to function as it would if it were left completely alone.

Medical circumcision is the removal of the entire foreskin.  It's like the difference between piercing your ear and going Van Gogh.

I did not realize it was different!  Thank you!
"Anything, but sedevacantism"

(If you are open to sedevacantism and not a rabid anti-sede, then this is not about you)
 
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TKGS

Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2018, 03:35:21 PM »
Old Testament circumcision only removed a very small amount of foreskin, just above the tip, leaving the foreskin substantially intact and still able to function as it would if it were left completely alone.

Medical circumcision is the removal of the entire foreskin.  It's like the difference between piercing your ear and going Van Gogh.

I have read this before but only in literature of questionable integrity.  Do you have a credible source for this claim? 

Also, can anyone shed light upon what modern (practicing) Jews do today? 

My only knowledge of such things comes in a comedy skit from the 1970s that spoofs a car commercial running at the time in which a diamond cutter cut a diamond in the back of a luxury car that, supposedly, had a very smooth ride:



The video notwithstanding, the questions above really are serious inquiries.

 
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Mithrandylan

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Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2018, 04:21:25 PM »
TKGS,

Check the link in my post after that.
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Nick

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Re: The Morality of Circumcision
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2018, 05:11:22 PM »
Old Testament circumcision only removed a very small amount of foreskin, just above the tip, leaving the foreskin substantially intact and still able to function as it would if it were left completely alone.

Medical circumcision is the removal of the entire foreskin.  It's like the difference between piercing your ear and going Van Gogh.

I have read this before but only in literature of questionable integrity.  Do you have a credible source for this claim? 

Also, can anyone shed light upon what modern (practicing) Jews do today? 

My only knowledge of such things comes in a comedy skit from the 1970s that spoofs a car commercial running at the time in which a diamond cutter cut a diamond in the back of a luxury car that, supposedly, had a very smooth ride:



The video notwithstanding, the questions above really are serious inquiries.


On a more serious note, it's a good thing that rabbi wasn't an ultra orthodox.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/baby-dies-herpes-virus-ritual-circumcision-nyc-orthodox/story?id=15888618
"Now when [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric.".      St. Francis de Sales.
 
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