Moral choice is a key issue in human thought and human actions. Hallie on one level tries to connect moral thought with history and so to indicate that morality reflects the times in which we live, while Pope paul suggests that moral thought is not tied to a time but to something deeper and more lasting, to man's relationship with God, which is not dependent on history. The Pope discusses the issue of martyrdom in human actions and why it can be a correct decision to make. What Hallie writes about the people of Le Chambon in his book Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed extends what the Pope says in his encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" by providing examples from a Christian community.
Pope Paul discusses the issue of martyrdom and celebrates the reality of individual free choice as a determinant of behavior. He notes that the issue of freedom has become more important in our own day and that a variety of authors have thus addressed it and explained it in different ways. He makes his position clear:
There is no doubt that Christian moral teaching, even in its biblical roots, acknowledges the specific importance of a fundamental choice which qualifies the moral life and engages freedom on a radical level before God (Paul section 66).
Such a sense of moral choice is structured on the relationship of man to God.
Martyrdom is related by Pope Paul to the issues of human dignity and respect for human life, both of which are said to be found "in the dignity proper to the person and not simply in the natural inclination to preserve one's own physical life" (Paul section 50). Human life has a moral significance said to be in need of reaffirmation for its own sake. This creates a seeming anomaly in terms of respect for life:
While it is always morally illicit to kill an innocent human being, it can be licit, praiseworthy or even imperative to give up one's own life out of love of neighbor or as a witness to the truth (Paul section...