end justifies the means

A maxim which is true if the end and means be good, not if either be evil. This maxim, or practise, was attributed to the early Christians in the sense that they were doing evil in order to obtain something good. "And not rather (as we are slandered, and as some affirm that we say) let us do evil, that there may come good 1" (Rom., 3). The Jesuits were accused of approving any evil means, in order to attsain their end. In 1852 a German Jesuit, Father Roh, offered 1000 florins to anyone who could find such approval in any Jesuit author. The offer was repeated in 1863, later in the United States, but there were no takers. In 1903 an ex-Jesuit, Count Hoensbroech, who when a Jesuit had repudiated the slander, claimed now that it was well-founded. When challenged to prove it by Father Dasbach, a member of the Reichstag, he submitted passages from thirteen leading Jesuit theologians. Father Dasbach had stipulated that they be examined by a jury of Protestant and Catholic university professors. The Protestants refusing to serve, the count sued Father Dasbach for the reward. The Supreme Court of Cologne, 30 March 1905, decided that in no one of the citations was the maxim employed in the sense attributed to the Jesuits ("The Messenger." New York).

New Catholic Dictionary

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