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Document Details :
Title: Proportionalism: A Right Relationship Among Values
Author(s): HOOSE, Bernard
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 24 Issue: 1 Date: spring 1999
Although during the last thirty years or so the term ‘proportionalism' has been associated almost exclusively with moral theologians who are often called revisionists, calls for proportionality and proportionate reason have a long history in Roman Catholic moral theology, and that seems hardly surprising. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pointed out some years ago, 'The attempt to assess the proportion of the good or bad likely to proceed from a proposed action is really a common-sense judgment we all make rather routinely. Even the principle of totality and the whole tradition of examining the circumstances of an act employs a notion of proportionality.' Another clear example is to be found in the principle of double effect, one of the conditions of which is that there be a proportionate reason for allowing the evil effect of the act to occur. Proportion is also called for in just war theory. More recently, but still within circles that are commonly described as traditionalist, the principle of proportionality has also appeared 'in debates about withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment, where the language of ‘proportionate' and ‘disproportionate' means of medical treatment has to some extent replaced the earlier language of 'ordinary' and ‘extraordinary' means.'