The case study on Chapter 12 focuses on a landed family whose father, Dom Pedro, has just died. Raoul, the first born, needs to settle some matters with regards to their tracks of land. He asked Bishop Silva for a good advice. The priest’s opinions happen to stir the good man in him and lives since the funeral of Dom Pedro might be an opportune time for the rebels to kill them. The Rural Democratic Union (UDR) is a local organization which opposes land reform in Brazil (Wolfe & Gudorf 260). His sister Martha does not want their family to share lands with the landless but she finally conceded to Raoul. Raoul met with the organized landless class called Movement of the Landless (MST) wherein Raoul stated his intention to give 20,000 hectares. Bishop Silva brokers for both UDR and MST. The donated land was actually an idle part of their massive tracks of land and the donation will not affect their entire land properties and income. However, the move instilled his Christian obligations and it actually felt good on his part.
In the Catholic point of view, land reform is a central issue which the rich brother must confront. How do they give back parts of their lands to the landless and powerless peasants? This opportunity is often blurred by one’s own economic and political motives and interests, the threat of the organized landless class and the prodding of the church. Meanwhile, the Christian concept of discipleship alludes to the rich leaving all his wealth and giving it to the poor. This means that the rich must help the poor (267). Later on, the Church’s involvement extended to socio-political and economic causes. Then again, the root motive is to protect the poor.
The concept of giving is also similar in the Buddhist religion. They have a term called dana has a mutual exchange ethic (274). The giver and the receiver both give in different forms. This is a selfless sharing and has no strings attached. The Buddhist in India started out with no lands after they renounced their belongings and earthly possessions. However, they were donated by some lands by rich families who, in turn, want the monks’ spiritual blessings and guidance. This is called the sangha and it is believed that donating to the sangha is a highly meritorious deed (275).
Giving to others is a personal and religious gesture which becomes more meaningful when the recipient will not be able to give back. As a Catholic, giving has become innate since it is Christ-like. Christ even gave Himself so that the sinners will be saved. This is the epitome of giving. Another popular allusion is about the rich man giving his riches to follow God. This implies that men must share their earthly possessions with others. Generosity is paid by the fulfillment one feels. The giving of land by Raoul is not a selfless gesture but more of a conscientious act to avoid the anger of the landless and the violent revenge of their organized group. Partly, it was a fulfillment of his ideals and beliefs which his father did not allow. However, there must be more to that “harmless” giving. I believe Christians give to the point that they have no more but they are still willing to give.
Chapter 16: Who is physically and ethically responsibility for our own body?
The case study in Chapter 16 tells of a personal conflict which Carole Bennet experienced when she discovers that her three successive patients are all kidney donors from a poor area in Turkey. She was very much concerned with the health of these non-native, non-English speaking Turks. Her co employee, Julia, is not very worried as she is. She thinks that their duties and responsibilities do not include knowing if the kidney operations are legal or not. Carol reflects to her own story. She is tied up to her sick mother who is also a reason why her relationship with Marshall is getting more complicated. She and Marshall plans to have a long vacation and she was forced to send her mother to a nursing home for several days. Carol asked the priest’s advice with regards to this matter and he has sent for a Turkish speaking man at Carole’s place of work. The man related to Carole that Mr. Simonies, the patient whom Carole was so concerned about, is actually anxious to have the operations done. He is one of the many Turks in their small village who sold their kidney to British patients in order to escape their poverty.
In the case of a Hindu’s perspective, specifically in the Vairaga Vaishnavas, renunciation allows for their selling of their body organs. They do not mind the money given as payment and maybe use it to further their religion. Yet, their ultimate motive is the total liberation (347). They view the body as perishable and have no qualms on surgeries. They see the human body as a temporary container and the spirit leaves on through another body (347).
In Buddhism, the dharma is very much concerned with spiritual healing and with easing out of pain and sufferings (350). Being healthy means achieving a balance between the corporeal and the spiritual elements. They also value health and physical fitness. The concept of disease is understood not just with its relevance to the physical body but also to the mid and spirit (351). Hence, they promote moderation against over indulgence of food and against harsh spiritual austerities (350). Giving of a body organ is a multi faceted issue for the Buddhists. Hence, the dilemma of Miss Carole at the Northumberland Gate Hospital is a multiplicity of causes and conditions which converged in the hospital (351).
In a personal opinion, the dilemma which Carole faced is a question of moral and ethical responsibility related to her functions as a nurse in the said hospital. Sometimes, there is a gray area for saying which aspects of the job can one greatly attend to. In this case, the professional responsibility is the guiding light to one’s moral responsibility to another person especially in the context of a matter of life (good health) and death (future diseases and infections due to kidney operations). Carole has a new lead through the Turkish interpreter yet her information is still lacking. She still does not know the intentions and the beliefs of those who willingly sell their vital body organs. If I were Carole, I will see to it that the next other cases will be prevented. In the case of Mr. Simonies, I think if he really intends to sell his kidney, it is his right to. However, it also means facing the health consequences of this act. Meanwhile, Carole needs to protect the future kidney donors who can still be saved.
Wolfe, Regina Wentzel & Gudorf, Christine E. Ethics & World Religions: Cross-cultural Case Studies. New York: Orbis Book, 1999. Print.