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My own moral and ethical stance is based upon Levinas’ theory of ethics that ethical actions come from interactions with the “Other”. It also strongly surrounds the biblical passage “Thou shalt not kill”. I believe that one should understand what other people are going through and have compassion for them. This stance applies to my chosen vocation of being a judge because a judge has to listen to defendants and understand the reasons why they ended in the courtroom. Judges have to have compassion to do the most moral, ethical, and loving thing to do so as to deliver justice.
Scripture and Catholic tradition inform conscience in my vocation because scripture says “Do to others as you would have them do to you” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law.” They give guidelines of how I define my moral and ethical stance as a Judge in particular. The Scripture and Catholic tradition inform decisions in my vocation because some aspects of the Scripture and Catholic tradition are part of the law, such as the fact that people who assist in suicide, namely physicians, are committing a crime in Canada.
The scripture passage that I chose, “Thou shalt not kill” applies to my vocation because as a judge I might have to sentence a physician who is helping a patient administer euthanasia or I might have to make a decision about the punishment for a serial killer. These acts that go against my scripture passage are also against the law so therefore the passage is heavily used in my vocation.
The theme of Community and the common good governs my attitudes and actions as a judge because I directly affect human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. As a result of my position, the impact I have on these factors is amplified, so I have to thoroughly consider my decisions based on morals and ethics. Levinas’ theory of ethics will aid my ability to navigate the challenges arisen from my judicial duties because it will help me when listening to defendants to actually understand how people ended up in my courtroom and relate to their humanity.
The theory also helps me to recognize the “intrinsic dignity of each human person” because it describes it as the idea that every person, no matter who they are, has value and worth because of the fact that they are human. The impact of this is that I feel more responsible towards myself and others because of our shared humanity. When I see others in pain as a result of a crime, I also see myself, and that action of looking within causes a spark to occur where I am forced to feel empathy for another. I can recognize the dignity of others because I know what it means to be human.
This system of morals however, will change because of the rising influence of secularism. The law today is generally connected to the natural law of God where the bills that were passed originally were surrounding the commandments. If secularism changes the law to finalize the separation of the Church from the law, then we will see a great injustice to morality. The seventh commandment will be erased from the law because secularism will lead to things like euthanasia to become legal in Canada. Secularism will challenge a lot of parts of my vocation because as a judge, any changes to the law will have to be applied by people like me in courtrooms.
The call to happiness and freedom relates to my vocation because the law encourages citizens to exercise their rights and freedoms. Law is not created to cause suffering, it is created to insure justice is served and the common good is achieved. The call to freedom strongly relates to my chosen vocation because escaping from the cycle of destruction and leading a just life being true to oneself is what freedom really is to me. Living my moral and ethical stance within my vocation will answer my call to be Christ Alive because it will allow me to spread justice and reduce the suffering of the world if I do my job right.
My moral and ethical stance mirrors the Scripture and Catholic Social Teachings and that will help me to embody Christ Alive. It will also help me to contribute to a just society because of the empathetic decisions that I make based on my sense of morality that will lead to understanding and justice. Being able to listen and understand someone’s story is a crucial step in contributing to a just society and living my moral and ethical stance will help me to achieve that.
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