The Torture Report

This is what “conservatives”, including *especially* anti-abortion-but-not-prolife “faithful conservative Catholics” have fought to defend for years. It is a disgusting stain on the American Catholic Church and a scandal which draws both the Faith and the prolife movement into disrepute. Penance is the only proper response to it.

 

And it is all the more disgusting in that “prolife” people have routinely excused and defended all this by using the unborn as human shields for such evil by such tactics as “So what?  The *real* torture is abortion” as though the murder of children is somehow the opposite of the torture of prisoners and not a sin  on the same continuous spectrum of contempt for human life and dignity.

“Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!” – Our Lady to Saint Bernadette Soubirous on February 24, 1858

God is eager to forgive even such nauseating hypocrisy as this.  But “faithful conservative Catholics” who have supported this filth (and by no means have all of them done so, but those who have done so are nearly always self-described “faithful conservative Catholics”) need to stop talking about their superiority to the rest of the Church, get down on their knees, and beg forgiveness for this. Then stand up, resolve to never let a political allegiance get in the way of obedience to Christ and his Church again, and move on.  Advent is a great time for this.  Receive the Mercy.

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  • Jordan Bloom

    Hi Mark,
    I agree with all of this and it’s a shame so many conservatives are willing to defend it — especially Marc Thiessen. And I see no reason to doubt most of these specifics. But I take the point of some critics that this was put together entirely by Democratic staffers, and came out on the same day Jonathan Gruber is testifying before Congress. I just think calling it “The Torture Report” gives it an air of definitiveness that perhaps it doesn’t deserve; if it were solely GOP staffers that put it together do you think it would be referred to the same way? Taking this Democratic report and then using it to make a point about the hypocrisies of pro-lifers on the right maybe plays into the intentions of those who created it a little more than you intend to. Just a thought.
    All best,
    J

    • Jordan Bloom

      Like, this strikes me as doing roughly what Sandra Fluke is doing https://twitter.com/SandraFluke/status/542395382471225344

      • cmfe

        Being opposed to violence against women and people of color is also anti-life? All violence has the same source and we should oppose it where ever it is. Sheesh, is that so hard?

    • petey

      “I take the point of some critics that this was put together entirely by Democratic staffers”

      how is that a ‘point’?

      • chezami

        McCain endorses it. Sorry. But the genetic fallacy is irrelevant. All that matters are the damning facts the report contains.

        • Ken

          Unfortunately, McCain has personal knowledge of the horrible damage that is done to a person who undergoes torture when he was a POW in Vietnam. I’m not always a supporter of McCain but he seems to be consistent on opposing it in all forms.

          • Jassuz8

            McCain was always opposed to torture, including water-boarding.

            • antigon

              But as ever, McCain likes posturing more than substance, as indicated by his vote (31-12 against was the total GOP vote on this) for the confirmation of the current CIA director, a public proponent of torture during Bush II, and an exposed liar about the civilian casualties resulting from Obama & his drone attack program.

        • petey

          “the genetic fallacy is irrelevant. All that matters are the damning facts the report contains.”

          exactly.

    • jroberts548

      It’s a report, and it’s about torture. What the hell else should you call it?

      If Republicans wanted to come clean about torture, and report on the iniquity of the previous administration, they’re free to do so. If this report was truly only prepared by Democrats, maybe Republicans should have cooperated.

      • chezami

        The Party of Personal Responsibility is all about shifting responsibility.

        • Andy

          The Republicans on the committee just released a report of their own essentially saying that the CIA did a great job in obtaining information. Even though …

          • chezami

            You can reliably trust the Thing That Used to be Conservative to *nearly always* back the visible from space wrong position.

      • Ken

        It’s amazing how many people are so brainwashed by their political party that all they can worry about is how this will damage them politically rather than the horrible damage this sin casts on our country and all of our souls.

        • kmk1916

          Not to mention doing this on Polish soil. Hasn’t their country been (for the average citizen, unknowingly) subjected to enough evil by empires?

    • antigon

      Absolutely, save for those specifics you don’t doubt.

    • cmfe

      How is outrage against torture a plot against pro-lifers?

  • j

    Mark, you are great, but I struggle to understand, in light of church teaching, where moral lines are drawn. Death penalty, war, but you make it sound easy. It’s hard. If the only defensible war is a war of defense,and the terrorists are attacking us, where are the lines? We can shoot them in the head on the battlefield but can’t waterboard. Is one more merciful? And are murderers the same as children? Is the death penalty the same for a person on death row and in a clinic?

    • jroberts548

      If they’re in custody, shoving food up their rectums isn’t being done in self defense. This isn’t a moral grey area. This isn’t complicated.

      • kmk1916

        God help us, truly–and who the heck does that to another human being?

        • jroberts548

          America, that’s who.

          • antigon

            Yup. The indispensable.

        • Heather

          There isn’t even any medical purpose to “rectal feeding.” We absorb food from our small intestines, not our large intestines. Rehydration and medication, you can make an argument for, but not feeding. I remember reading a pop science book on the digestive tract that had a chapter on this having been a practice in the past in some cases where people couldn’t take food by mouth. When they actually tested whether it did any good, they found that very little nutrition was absorbed.

          • chezami

            Unless of course, the purpose is to torture.

    • Heather

      Actually, the lines aren’t that unclear.

      On the battlefield, you shoot someone because you have been unable to persuade them to surrender and it is the only way to prevent them from shooting you.

      In the interrogation chamber, the prisoner is under your power and at your mercy, and therefore you need to treat them with the dignity due any human being, even one who has allegedly committed, attempted to commit, or conspired to commit vile acts.

      It’s not about mercy, it’s about necessity. If you do not have a non lethal option reasonably open to you, then you take the option you have and take out the threat before they take you out. If you do have an option that allows you to neutralize the threat or capture the objective without killing someone, you take it.

      Ultimately speaking, yes. Murderers are the same as children. They are human beings created in the image and likeness of God, beloved of our heavenly Father no matter what they have done, and to kill anyone, even a murderer, without grave necessity is wrong. Sometimes that grave necessity is there, but if there is a reasonable option to NOT kill someone, we are morally obliged to take it.

      Likewise, there is no necessity to torture people, ever. So we don’t do it, even to terrorists.

      • Cypressclimber

        Amen!

      • Ken

        This is a great answer but even on a purely practical level it doesn’t work. People yell things out and you have to try to figure out what was true and what was screamed out in pain. All that leads to is more torture and more confusion. Funny how doing something evil doesn’t lead to the truth.

        • Heather

          Yeah, pretty much. Hence the “no necessity, ever” thing. Because no, it’s not the only reliable way to find out who is planning to blow up stuff and where they will strike next and how will we save the children and puppies if time is running out unless we do it? It’s not a reliable way to find out anything.

          Real life isn’t like the movies, where torture never works on the hero and always works on the bad guys and they always give you accurate and timely information and not, you know, the starting lineup of their high school football team because those are the names they can think of right now.

      • j

        I do think the torture of prisoners is different then abortion.

        #1., Prisoners are caught, but their aggression continues in the form of noncooperation or offering up information that could protect lives. They may be captured but they are still allow evil to run. They remain complicit in the aggressive enterprise.

        #2, torture is normally, are at least the kind that would be remotely defensible would be non-lethal.

        #3, if the prisoner were to comply, and offer up information to protect the innocent, I imagine the torture would stop. Marc T’s book detailed, from what i can recall, described how one of the terror inmates thanked his interrogators for using enhanced interrogation because it gave him an out, since his faith allowed him to submit when faced with a certain level of pressure.

        #4. Children in the womb are not complicit in aggression. They are bystanders in the cross hairs.

        #5. Abortion is lethal.

        #6. At no point is the child in the womb given the choice to submit and live. If Khalid Sheikh Muhammad were aborted he wouldn’t be here.

        I’m leery of equivalencies between abortion and the death penalty or war, especially around election time. Abortion is an intrinsic evil, war and the death penalty not so much. Torture, and where the line is drawn–i’ll read what Mark wrote and the bishops; i need to do that better.

        “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”–Card. Ratzinger

        Peace to you all. and God Bless you Mark for your passionate clarity.

        • jroberts548

          Nothing you said in 1-3 plausibly makes torture defensible.

          Lots of things are non-lethal. That doesn’t make them defensible. Lots of things could be avoided by surrendering. That doesn’t make them non-evil.

          The torture report details that we detained and tortured people that were innocent, and that we knew were innocent. Did they also thank their interrogators afterward? After their rectal feedings, did they tip their waiters?

          • j

            I wasn’t attempting to defend it, but was pointing out that torture of an enemy combatant is different than aborting an innocent child in the womb.

            • jroberts548

              Many things are different from many other things. What you’re pointing out is trivially true. Torture is also different from rape, murder, theft, genocide, etc., though there may be some overlap. You’re not pointing out anything that makes defense of torture okay. Does anyone think that torture is abortion? No? Then why are you pointing that out?

              Here are other things that are distinct from torture: Your mama, cars, beer, the color yellow. Everything that isn’t torture isn’t torture. That fact doesn’t magically make torture defensible.

              • j

                I don’t believe it’s trivial. Torture has gradations. It’s not so binary. Torture, no torture. The catechism itself qualifies differences based on motive. It clearly says, for example, to torture to extract a confession or punish is not a good motive.

                It doesn’t address the motive of thwarting an imminent terrorist attack or other such act of aggression. So, it’s not trivial. There is a grey area because motives are diverse and situations are varied.

                The motive of abortion, is to end a life. The motive of torture may not be to hurt someone, but to, for example, prevent imminent violence on many innocents. They are distinct and according to the situation one may very well be allowed while the other may not. So, to always say they’re are on the same evil spectrum is, it seems to me, wrong. That’s why i brought it up. But thanks for missing my point and talking about cars and beer, that moved things along nicely.

                • chezami

                  False. You are relying on the analysis of Fr. Brian Harrison, a priest torture apologists anointed as an alternative magisterium in order to ignore the Church. Unfortunately for you, he recanted: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2010/03/clarification-by-fr-brian-harrison-o-s.html Stop repeating the lie that torture is acceptable. “The prohibition against torture may never be contravened.” – Pope Benedict XVI

                • jroberts548

                  So forcibly sodomizing someone is okay, as long it’s to get information about a future attack, but not if it’s just to get information generally?

                • Andy

                  Just some reading – In the “Pastoral
                  Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (No. 27):

                  Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of
                  homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit…all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator.

                  Can’t really say that anything that the CIA did to “extract” information falls into the “grey area” you suggest. However, I do like the semi-allusion to “just war” and “defense of self” in your comments, even though I think they are misplaced and misunderstood.

              • chezami

                Because using the unborn as human shields to excuse torture is one of the most beloved tactics of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife conservative.

        • chezami

          Thanks for that sterling use of the unborn as human shields in defending the mortal sin of torture. Also, gotta love, “torture is normally, are at least the kind that would be remotely defensible would be non-lethal”. Precisely the same rationale can be used to defend rape.

          This is why the Thing that Used to be Conservatism is toxic and insane.

        • Andy

          In response to number three –
          From VOX:
          11. The CIA tortured people before they even tried asking them to cooperate

          Here is one more:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/cia-torture-report-khan_n_6297936.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

          Your quote from Cardinal Ratzinger makes no mention of torture – probably because torture in not part of war nor is part of the death penalty – torture is an affront to human dignity.

      • antigon

        Excellent & succinct, Heather. Merci.

    • chezami
      • J

        Thanks very much. I will read in full, pray, and grow.

  • Jonk

    Amid the gruesomeness, I got a bit of a chuckle out of the one and only redaction above. Sen. Feinstein’s ready to salt the Earth, but not *that* ready.

  • Truncum

    Blessed is the man for whom the “plank-in-the-eye” part of Our Lord’s teachings evidently do not apply.

    Congrats on your blog victory. It is obvious you are proud of it.

    • chezami

      And it’s obvious you are resentful. Why? The triumph of truth is a win for everybody.

    • petey

      “Blessed is the man for whom the “plank-in-the-eye” part of Our Lord’s teachings evidently do not apply.”

      how would that apply specifically here? and generally, how do we discuss evil at all, if your retort really applies?

      • chezami

        Truncum realy just means, “Screw you. Shut up.”

  • Peggy

    Good for you, Pope Mark!

    There were some “pro-life” Catholics on the torture side, you are right. Well done.

    • chezami

      Pope Mark? Doncha think it’s weird for Catholics to be resentful that the teaching of the Church is vindicated?

      • Jassuz8

        Aren’t you concerned about the impact the report will have on the 2,000 Marines overseas? Those who have been put on alert? Was it a pro-life decision to put them in harms way? Are the conservative pro-life (merely anti-abortion) folks responsible for the gambling that President Obama is doing with the lives of our military? Our Marines are certainly not responsible for any torture that occurred. Don’t you think it’s weird that this “report” comes with a Democrat summary, a Republican summary, as well as a CIA rebuttal? I never supported the decision to allow any form of torture, including water-boarding, but there is something fishy about how all of this unfolded.

        • Ken

          You really think this matters? The people that hate the US hate the US and want to kill us. Trying to pretend like this makes them hate us anymore is absurd. Like ISIS is all of sudden going to be anymore horrible then they already are.

          • Jassuz8

            We’ll see how it all unfolds, but President Obama did put the military on high alert…which means he made this decision expecting some additional violence. And, of course, it could work against our enemies as well. Either way, our young men and women in the military are not responsible for any of this.

        • Andy

          What is fishy is that on e group likes the idea of what the CIA did – torture, and another group thinks it is awesome. Hard to reconcile how torture is awesome in any way or how torturing someone makes us awesome.
          The “pro-life (merely anti-abortion) folks” gambled with people’s lives when they embrace(d) the idea that ti was legitimate to torture; they gamble(d) when they relied on Justice Department Memos to support torture – by the way these selfsame people decry Obama’s use of Justice Department Memos.
          The hell is the government of the US under the watchful eyes of Bush and Company made a relativistic decision to torture in the name of “national security” and are now pissed that the level of depravity – look at the list of insults to the human body we deliberately perpetrated – are now public. I would guess that those who hate already thought we did this, and now their beliefs have been confirmed. Probably won’t up their hatred anymore.

          • Ken

            Refusing to admit that we haven’t committed a horrible sin here isn’t the mark of a great country. It’s the mark of an immature one.

            • Andy

              I couldn’t agree more!

              • Ken

                Next time I go to confession I’m going to tell the priest that I refuse to offer up my sins because it will make me look bad. How would that go over?

                • Jassuz8

                  Not one of you speaks for the Church. Funny thing – I’m a Mom, and I was talking to another parent one day about something my son had done (he deceived me in a minor way). This parent explained to me that I was going to have to tell my son that he had violated the 4th commandment and that he was going to have to go to confession. Honestly, I was appalled and I told that parent that I was not going to say such a thing to my son. I had never examined the conscience of my children for them, or for any other individual, and I knew that I did not need to do so. My children examine their own conscience. Never in my life has the Church taken the approach espoused here by Mark Shea those of you calling out sins and the need for confession. Looks an awful lot like those ready to throw stones at Mary Magdalene.

                  • Andy

                    The difference is your son acted for himself and not in the name of others. The CIA et al. acted in the name of the country – that include me and others. So yes they need to confess because of their behaviors I am now tarnished as American and as an individual. Also I think you might want to go back a bit in history when confession was public and penance could last for years – that was church practice prior to the input of various groups.

                    • Jassuz8

                      The response on the part of the Church, American citizens, and other nations, to the CIA is appropriate. The Church does ask us to examine our conscience and confess all of our sins – thankfully, for the sacrament of Reconciliation is such a blessing. But Mark (and others here) are not speaking for the Church in calling anyone to confession for any specific reason.

                    • Andy

                      Up until your last sentence I was with you – could you please explain what you mean. Thanks

                    • Jassuz8

                      I agree with most of Mark believes politically, and religiously. However, his presentation sneers at those he disagrees with and is given presumably in the name of the Catholic Church. He is feeling vindicated by the torture report, but it’s not about Mark Shea. In reality, Mark is concerned about Mark. If he were concerned about the souls of all of these people, he certainly would not take this approach to saving them. Instead, he sounds rather condemning. The Church does not ask Mark, you or I to tell people what their sins are or to tell them to go to confession.

                    • Andy

                      Thank you for explaining what you mean.

                    • Jassuz8

                      You’re welcome, and thank you for listening.

                    • Andy

                      You too are welcome – sometimes, at least for me, I need to learn to listen and not just read. Thank you for allowing me to practice that .

                    • antigon

                      Except Jass, I think it does, when it calls admonishing the sinner one of the seven spiritual works of mercy.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      What if… The Church was all of us, the Body of Christ, and not just the Pope, the bishops and the priests speaking in the pulpit or writing official documents? I agree that admonishing sinners is a work of mercy, and I also can very clearly see that Mark has a particular talent, that of writing, that he is using for that purpose. If what he has written does not concern you, just ignore it. But your reaction suggests that something in yourself is troubling you…

                    • Jassuz8

                      So, when someone disagrees with Mark on any point…that means they must be guilty? That I must be one of them? McCarthy believed such things.

                      I care about the pro-life movement that is opposed to abortion, and I do believe that Mark has the potential to hurt the cause by empowering the pro-choice (especially the Catholic pro-choice) propaganda. I don’t agree with his judgment of “those” people, whoever they are, and I passionately disagree with his rhetoric.

                      I’m not as good of a Catholic as I could be or as I should be. And so, I wasn’t aware of what the Spiritual Works of Mercy are…so I looked it up. Here it is:

                      CCC 2447 “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God”

                      I haven’t done enough of any of what is in that list. And, I haven’t done enough to combat abortion. I’ve never prayed at a clinic or marched. I donate stuff, and try to tithe (some years have been less generous than others). I do try to proceed prayerfully, and compassionately among friends and family who have had abortions…and Father Pavone has taught me so much about trusting God’s love to carry you through that. I’m not sure where or how “admonishing the sinner” is found in what is described above.

                    • Guest

                      Just because someone disagrees with Mark, does not make them guilty of anything other than disagreement.

                      I was not aware of what the spiritual works of mercy actual were, and so I looked them up:

                      “2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:

                      He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?”

                      I’m not sure where or how “admonishing the sinner” is found in that.

                  • Ken

                    The church has already spoken about this and has said that torture is evil and that there can never be an excuse for it. Based on that I can say that the actions taken by the CIA were sinful. I don’t know the condition of each and every soul of every person who committed these acts or the people who ordered them. There isn’t anything wrong for a Catholic to call out an obvious evil.

                    • Jassuz8

                      I don’t disagree with Church teaching. When I said that you don’t speak for the Church, I meant in determining conscience for individuals, calling them to confession, etc.

                    • Ken

                      If a person participates in a grave evil that person should go to confession. That’s an objective statement that any Catholic should agree with. I never named an individual person or commented on the state of their soul.

                    • Jassuz8

                      Yes, they should. But where does it say that you should go to a public forum and call the hypocrites out for their sins? Again, Jesus made this clear in the example of Mary Magdalene. And MARK is calling out very specific statistical majorities of people.

                    • chezami

                      “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.(Eze 33:7–9).

                      When we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ’s prophetic office. We have a solemn responsibility to confront sin.

                    • Jassuz8

                      Every single sin Mark? Or just lump-sum sins in general statistical categories of people? The catechism is the official teaching authority of the Church. How does the Church ask us to go about confronting sin? Honestly, I don’t know how.

                    • antigon

                      Also, you know, admonishing the sinner is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy

                    • Jassuz8

                      I agree that the Church considers torture to be an evil act, and I oppose it long ago, before I ever gave it a thought from the perspective of the Church.

                      However, the Church did not say, “But “faithful conservative Catholics” who have supported this filth (and by no means have all of them done so, but those who have done so are nearly always self-described “faithful conservative Catholics”) need to stop talking about their superiority to the rest of the Church, get down on their knees, and beg forgiveness for this.”

                    • chezami

                      Do you even care that you make no sense?

                    • Jassuz8

                      You speak for yourself Mark. The Church unequivocally considers torture evil, that much is true. But the Church does not endorse you when you call anyone to “get down on their knees, and beg forgiveness for this.” You are not calling them to Christs love, you are simply seeking vindication because you are angry with “those” people…whoever they are. Our priest did not take your comments to the pulpit…he would never have spoken that way to our parish community. But, according to your stats, those same people sit in our pews. Which ones? Maybe we can root them out and make sure they get your message. Would the Church endorse that? I can’t believe they would.

                      If you choose to, you can teach respectfully, and let individuals examine their conscience – it really is between them and God. When I made my decision about torture, I was unaware of the Church’s position on the subject. I had the conversation in my living room with my husband. I was opposed to it because of what I understood about my father’s experience in WWII. I knew that America had always stood against such tactics and I disagreed on principle…I didn’t know that that supported Church teaching as well.

                      Apparently you tried to tell people how wrong all of this was…and they didn’t listen…or they argued…and therefore you believed that they were responsible for the outcome (or that’s what I’ve gathered from your blogs). That doesn’t mean it’s okay to call them out in such a condemning way. If that were okay, then the Church would be making similar statements – from the pulpit – about the grave sins of every kind (especially those in the pro-life category) and our priest would tell them all to “get down on their knees, and beg forgiveness for this.”

                      But I know that none of our priests, bishops, or even the Pope will do that. This is your message. It is not from the Church.

                      Keep in mind that the majority of Catholics do not live according to Church teaching. Most are only willing to go as far as they personally agree – and the Church has not really voiced much of an objection. Even those Catholics who try, fall short. I know I do, although I try – but it is a very difficult challenge for me.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Or – hopefully not in this case – the mark of an evil one…

          • Jassuz8

            Well, one thing is for certain…the discussion regarding torture drowned out the possibility that anyone would pay attention to what Jonathon Gruber had to say. The timing of the release couldn’t have been better for President Obama.

            How nice for all of you that you have the perfect scapegoat – those evil people concerned about the lives of God’s precious babies. It’s all their fault that President Bush resorted to torture tactics. And maybe now, finally, everyone will stop talking about abortion. Isn’t that the goal of the left? Even the Catholic left?

            • Andy

              Comparing what Gruber said to torture – only a person who lives on the echo chamber of FOX news, Rush and this crowd would say that and be even slightly serious or expected to be seen as serious.
              As to your comment about abortion please show me where I have minimized abortion? I see abortion and torture as separate issues – both however, deal with life and dignity of humans. It is a shame that yo seemed to have missed the teaching of the church about the inherent dignity of all humans and our requirement to honor that.

              • Jassuz8

                No, it was not a comparison. It did in fact drown out the Gruber discussion, which was (is) politically convenient for our Presidnet.

                But, of course, anyone who might have watched/listened to “FOX news, Rush and this crowd” should be ignored anyway…it’s not like they are Americans too.

                Do you win arguments by belittling pieces and parts of the voting population? Labeling them based upon the opposition to abortion (“merely anti-abortion” which is the ugliest label I’ve ever heard in the abortion debate), and the fear that they might watch the news?

                Should pro-life people – the one that you refer to as “anti-abortion” – stop what they are doing? Mark Shea throws out accusations against the segment of pro-life people that are “merely anti-abortion” and that does minimize the effort they make to combat abortion. And it doesn’t win any discussions regarding torture or other life issues.

                • Andy

                  First – I read about the Gruder discussion – much ado about a person making stupid comments. If that is vital in our world – wow. Not listening to FOX does not mean you should be ignored. Parroting them means that I read with less seriousness. You by the way and I will quote said “How nice for all of you that you have the perfect scapegoat – ” you ascribed to me a motive that doesn’t exist and your labeled me. Again let me ask where did I say that abortion should not be opposed? Please site it specifically. Where did I suggest they stop what they are doing. Second you did not respond to the inherent dignity of all people. It is that set of anti-abortion folks I believe Mark is referring to. Having a baby born and not supporting the family of the baby, nt supporting the dignity of the family cheapens the anti-abortion movement. It is beyond time to see the dignity – that is what I ask of the anti0-aboriton crowd.

                  • Jassuz8

                    Why lump the “merely anti-abortion” label in with arguments FOR other life issues and pro-life concerns? I you want them to continue their efforts, then support them as “anti-abortion people. If you want to also fight for other issues, then by all means fight, teach, advocate…but don’t inadvertently bring down people who are fighting to save the lives of the unborn.

                    • Andy

                      I am not trying to bering anyone down – I see in what you write the sense that only abortion is important – the end of it. That is where we disagree. I look at today’s current crop of politicians who claim to be “pro-life” and then promptly forget that when a vote comes or when it comes to the “poor”.

                    • Jassuz8

                      How about we lift up both issues without tearing each other down? Mark could do that…and I know better that to support his effort in wasting my time responding to his anger, trying to convince him that he doesn’t need to tear people down in order to further a cause.

                    • Andy

                      I am all for lifting up both issues as I see them intertwined in so many ways. I pray for this and in my own way try to model it. SOmetimes at least for me the heat of the com boxes gets in the way.

                  • Jassuz8

                    And, as I said above, both democrats and republicans have supported programs for the poor – both public and private. Pro-life (those opposed to abortion) people do a lot to support the mothers, and the children and you can see evidence of that in the abundance of government programs available, as well as the private programs found in every community. There is a widespread effort underway in every segment of the population full of people – both pro-life and pro-choice – who are actively working on behalf of the babies and the families. There is always more to do, but we have grown, and grown, and grown since the days of the depression.

                    What Mark is referring to is that “those” people (with whom he disagrees) don’t have the perfect answers like he does.

                    • Andy

                      For me and me alone _ when I speak of the anti-abortion folks I see those politician who claim to be against abortion, and when votes happen find a way to duck the issue or that set of folks who claim that it is the responsibility of the mother/father family to care for the child(ren) and then systematically say that they are poor because of bad choices, they are poor because they are lazy, they are pro because they are not moral. Those are the merely anti-abortion folks for me.

                    • Jassuz8

                      Some of the same people who make those statements are pro-choice as well. Either way, WE – those of us who do make the difference – have made tremendous progress over the last 100 years. That should be celebrated and credit should be given to the bi-partisan efforts which allowed that to happen.

                    • Jassuz8

                      There is no such thing as “merely anti-abortion.” The efforts on the part of those who work to end abortion are significant.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Sure, they are. The expression “merely anti-abortion” is a way of insisting that those efforts should not exclude every other life matter as insignificant, and that a Catholic is not allowed to pick and choose among those matters..

                    • Jassuz8

                      In Catholic circles, the expression “merely anti-abortion” was coined by Bishop Robert Lynch, when he accused pro-life organizations (those working against abortion) of needing more money and of attacking Catholic Relief Services with false accusations, in order to get that money.

                      However, the term “anti-abortion” has been used all along by pro-choice organizations. It is a term they use to campaign against the pro-life efforts to bring an end to abortion and is found in most of their slogans.

                      Here are just a few:

                      “Anti-Abortion Terrorism and Christian Fundamentalism”

                      “Anti-Abortion Heartbeat Bill”

                      “10 Anti-Abortion Myths”

                      And, pro-choice propaganda goes on to even suggest that they are in fact pro-life:

                      “Abortion Rights are Pro-Life”

                      And now, Mark Shea has joined them in using the label. If we all truly care about abortion, then we shouldn’t bring each other down on the one issue where we share agreement. Are some of us hypocrites, or do we disagree on serious matters at times? Sure, we’re all hypocrites…and yes, some of us are worse than others. But we should stand united where we can. If I’m not wrong, I believe that Father Pavone has been very consistent in his stand for the sacredness of all life. He’s doing beautiful work and he converts people – he doesn’t judge or approach them in a condemning way. His greatest weapon is prayer. However, Bishop Lynch was upset with Father Pavone’s efforts as much as all of the others.

                      Argue for all life issues that matter, but stop bashing those you refer to as “anti-abortion” as though that’s a bad thing. If they are anti-abortion then that’s wonderful, and they are indeed pro-life.

                    • Andy

                      I was speaking to those I see as anti-abortion, the pro-choice crowd I agree has the same issues. I would pray that we can move forward in a bipartisan manner.

                • jroberts548

                  They started collecting data for the report like 5 years ago! And if it wasn’t released now, the Republican senate would likely sit on it because they are evil and think torture is awesome, with the exception of John McCain. Do you really think that the years of work that went into this were to cover up an utterly trivial controversy over Gruber calling voters stupid?

                  1. Granting, arguendo, that the Gruber controversy is a real one, if this actually covers it up, voters are stupid, and Gruber was right.

                  2. How is admitting to torture politically convenient for the president? It’s two years before the next election, which he can’t run in anyway. This doesn’t help his foreign policy goals. It makes him look complicit in that he has cravenly refused to prosecute anyone, which guarantees that we will do this again. What political gain does Obama gain by releasing this now?

                  • Jassuz8

                    There has been opposition to the “enhanced interrogation techniques” all along. I am glad that they are addressing it, but, I don’t like the way the President dropped it out there like a bombshell. Since we all knew this was going on, it could have been handled in a way where it lessened the impact upon the innocent. And I don’t believe that President Obama is concerned about the net election…but could be argued to be a good thing.

                    • jroberts548

                      So what political advantage did he gain? Will releasing this now somehow make the republican congress more cooperative? Is there any politically motivated reason to release this now?

                    • Jassuz8

                      Releasing it yesterday did drown out the Gruber story.

                    • jroberts548

                      And? How does that help Obama? Does this mean the Republicans won’t pass a dozen pointless attempts to repeal Obamacare?

                      How is Obama’s political future affected by “drowning” out the Gruber story? (Also, is it only metaphorical drownings that upset you? Republicans seem to be pretty happy with literal repeated near drownings).

                    • Jassuz8

                      I am and have always been opposed to the water-boarding and any form of torture. I am glad the report was released.

                      Yes, it may be that the Gruber story will be lost on the people that he described as stupid. But, hey, Gruber apologized, and so the questions of whether or not there was an effort to deceive on the part of him or the Obama administration in the crafting and passing of a monumental tax really doesn’t matter. However, some people are concerned about ALLof the issues in the world, healthcare included. I know that it costs me $200 to go to the doctor, and I try really hard not to go. My kids go to their routine dental appointments, but I haven’t been in years. I cannot afford anything medical, and yet I am paying through the nose for our healthcare. The ACA hasn’t improved anyone’s life and it is also a pro-life concern.

                    • jroberts548

                      And if the torture report wasn’t released yesterday, would any of that change? Would it magically give the republicans a veto-proof majority (and an actual desire) to repeal Obamacare?

                      What, concretely, would be different if the Gruber hearing wasn’t drowned out by the torture report?

                      (Also, and this is tangential, but American healthcare, with or without the PPACA, is the most expensive in the world. The PPACA neither caused nor fixed the problems facing American healthcare.)

                    • Jassuz8

                      My original statement had to do with the fact that the timing of the CIA report was likely to minimize the impact of the Gruber hearing, and that much is true. I agree with your comments about the ACA. However, but the questions about Grubers comments and the crafting of the legislation are very important. Legitimate Issues should not be used as clubs, one vs. another.

                    • jroberts548

                      How, concretely, did that benefit Obama?

                      ETA: The “distraction” also took place when congressional leaders from the two parties arrived at a deal on a spending bill, rather than shutting down the government like a bunch of morons. If the timing of the report was politically motivated, it was probably because of that. This way, Republicans can agree not to shut down the government without worrying too much about getting primaried, and they can still appease their base base by giving speeches about how wonderful rectal feedings are.

                    • Jassuz8

                      I don’t know what it is that you are looking for, but i have answered your question repeatedly that the President and his administration benefited because the release of the report occurred on the same day as the Gruber hearing, and it minimized the impact (the potential political damage) that the hearings would have had otherwise. President Obama, as well as others could have been, and I think should be held accountable for deceiving people into allowing the passage of massive taxation legislation (which they insisted was not a tax). For the record, I also think that Mitt Romney should be held accountable for the same reasons. Jonathon Gruber was the to go to guy for figuring out how to both deceive and profit from the backs of the American people…I don’t believe that he failed to reveal his strategy to those he worked for. And, what is more important than whether is actions benefited or hurt President Obama, is whether or not he hurt the American people.

                    • jroberts548

                      What political damage would Obama have suffered? He’s never going to run for office again. He has a congress that isn’t going to pass anything he wants them to pass. He has literally nothing to lose.

                      ETA: That is, you haven’t answered once. You keep telling me Obama would suffer politically. I want to know how.

                    • chezami

                      Obama has order the murder of civilians and even American citizens with drones on his unilateral authority. Pressing too hard on the abuse of executive power in torturing people invites blowback on his own abuses of executive power to murder people. The ruling class takes care of its own. Don’t pretend Obama is not complicit in our system.

                    • jroberts548

                      That’s a fair critique. Obama is complicit in ongoing abuses, and in our failure to prosecute past abuses. He has gone so far as to reward past abusers, such as John Brennan, and continues to stand by him, even after the torture report. http://www.salon.com/2014/12/10/white_house_stands_by_cia_director_amid_accusations_hes_lying_about_torture/

                      Which makes the claim that Obama released the torture report for his own political advantage absurd.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      All of this is much less important that the life issue that torture is. In addition, the moral turpitude of accepting such actions as torture most probably had, among its many consequences, the effect of lowering the general morality of many, thus opening the door to even worse actions in the future. As a foreigner, I had not heard anything about that Gruber matter – and it seems to me to be the real diversion here, you seem to be trying to deflect the torture issue by bringing up a matter that is simply and uniquely political. And as far as health care in your country, if I was a US voter, I might start by trying to find out why and because of what politicians my country is more than half a century behind the rest of the industrialized world in showing real concern for the human right that the right to medical treatment really is…

                    • Jassuz8

                      Both issues are important.

        • antigon

          Maybe, Jass, but just for the record, Obama himself fought the release of this report every step of the way.

  • Rob B.

    May God forgive us all for our tacit acceptance of such a policy. Amen.

    • chezami

      I hasten to say that I appreciate you saying this.

  • Curt

    Abortion, always gravely immoral (EV 57), has disrupted political discourse because one party adamantly supports abortion rights, and the other party generally opposes them. Consequently, many faithful Catholics have in the 41 years since Row come to associate the church with a particular party, myself included at times. The price of that partnership is easy to see: little to no opposition to preemptive war, capital punishment, poverty, and now torture.

    I had been very skeptical of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation.” Having read 50 pages of the report thus far, I realize that skepticism was not strong enough. It’s much, much worse than I imagined. The acts of violence — forceful rectal feeding!?! . . . the obscene threats against innocent children . . . the imprisonment of the “wrong” people, not exclusively the terribly wicked . . . the surveillance of the Senate investigators . . . deliberate obfuscation and lies of omission, perhaps most telling being the “don’t let Powell hear about this” . . . deliberate efforts to keep our ambassadors in the dark about facts known to foreign governments . . . ridiculous sums of treasure paid to sadists and therefore diverted from those most in need . . .

    This report is so damning, I cannot but conclude the CIA is a danger to our democracy and a perversion of human rights.

    Two millennia ago, they tortured our King. Of all sins to countenance, gosh, our national complicity with torture is a dark sin indeed. So much pain here.

    I urge my fellow Catholics, especially those who generally lean toward the political right, to call the acts in this report by their proper name: torture. We must hold our government accountable for such grave, sustained assaults to human dignity.

    • Rachel

      Well said Curt!

  • Liam781

    Mark

    I don’t lurk let alone comment here much in recent years, but today is an appropriate day to restate my sustained appreciation for your clarity of witness to American Catholics for the past decade on this issue. I would contrast this with, not so much the pettifoggery of the Coalition for Fog, but with the seemingly studied silence of many American Catholic priestly bloggers who were not shy about forthright witness on other moral matters, but whose witness on this issue was MIA.

    PS: If memory serves, some of this witness seems to have been rooted in once-annual discussions of the objective vs subjective morality of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Allied fire-bombing campaigns of WW2. Funny how, since the mid-2000s, those discussions have been more muted, or so it seems….

    • chezami

      Thanks, Liam.

    • antigon

      Absolutely right Liam. Mark, Zippy, Red Cardigan, but very few others, were as relentless as they were absolutely right about these killers & thugs, as of those who struggled to defend their savagery.
      *
      And since I’ve been quarrelling with Mark a tad of late, should like to make clear that his sterling witness on this crucial matter covers a multitude of… what might be considered imperfections were such a thing possible.

      • chezami

        You’re a mensch, Antigon. I’ve always thought so. Thank you1

  • Peggy

    The Dems had a big day of denial of responsibility today between Gruber and this report.

    http://freebeacon.com/politics/nbcs-richard-engel-senate-dems-rewriting-history-and-scapegoating-on-interrogations/

    The Dems approved it as well and let the GOP torture crowd defend it, taking all the political blame. And the CIA agents are hung out to dry with this release.

    • ron_goodman

      The problem isn’t the CIA agents being “hung out to dry”, it’s that they will never have to suffer any more consequences then maybe being embarrassed at getting caught. They should be prosecuted for their activities.

      • Peggy

        I dunno. Don’t you think some terrorist may be out to get them? Are you sure prosecution is not a possibility?

        Former MO Sen Kit Bond was the co-chair who quit this study b/c he determined that Holder went back on his word about fair treatment of CIA agents who acted on guidance from DoJ at the time. So, maybe go after DoJ guys who approved? Sounds like Holder left door open for prosecution or other consequences.

        http://www.newsweek.com/sen-bond-pulls-gop-staff-torture-investigation-211758

        But for the Dems to condemn that which they approved is contemptible. Acting like they have clean hands!

        • jroberts548

          The CIA should have thought about that before torturing people.

          Also, terrorists weren’t exactly friends with the cia to begin with. Are you worried that now ISIS and al Qaeda will go after the CIA, whereas they were buddies before?

          And they absolutely should be prosecuted. It’s insane that they haven’t been.

        • kenofken

          They should be gone after on every level. Sitting lower in the organizational chart is no defense at all. We pretty well aired out the “just following orders” excuse in 1945.

        • jroberts548

          It amazes me that Republicans freak out when the president exercises prosecutorial discretion to protect illegal immigrants, and also freak out at the suggestion that he might prosecute torturers.

      • jroberts548

        They probably need to dry off a little after all the waterboarding.

    • etme

      Peggy, let me just note that seeing the world through party lenses is simply wrong. They mean nothing, absolutely nothing. In other words, no political party, in any country, is a measure of truth. Buying into that leads one to error, and that is sure.

      What, then, is the source and measure of truth?… Well, shouldn’t that be clear, for Catholics?

      Measure the parties (whether from Congo or from Canada) with the truth, and not the truth with the party.

      • Peggy

        The issue here is the condemnation of “pro-life conservatives” who approved torture, though the Dems did as well. Pelosi, Feinstein, and other Dems, including pro-abortion Catholics, in leadership were not innocent. They knew what was going on. They let the GOP do the talking.

        • etme

          I really, truly, completely and utterly do not care which party did or said what. The forest is right there, burning – and people are looking at the weeds, trying to disentangle them.

          What forest… I mean, human beings. Right there, burning. And that’s all that really matters. The rest is noise and distraction.

          • Peggy

            Mark’s post is partisan. Mark is blaming one segment of the landscape here. Mark is seeking to discredit the “pro-life conservatives” b/c who have taken a position supporting “torture.” The truth is that pols of different stripes approved this but are claiming no affiliation with this evil.

            Yes, of course, the inhumane (to put it mildly) treatment of prisoners is an issue that we all should be concerned about regardless of party affiliation.

            • Peggy

              P.S. Obama’s approach is simply to kill them via drones. A more moral approach?

              • kenofken

                It has potential to be moral, whereas torture has none. IF the people targeted by drones are in fact active combatants, killing them in this way is no more immoral than if a patrol of marines happened upon them. There are serious questions about who gets to make the call to kill based on what evidence, and the issue of innocent bystanders. With torture, there really is no pathway in the decision tree that makes it OK.

              • chezami

                No. Next question?

            • chezami

              False. Mark’s post is accurate. One and only one political subculture is enthusiastically supportive of torture. Much of that subculture also prides itself falsely on being ‘prolife”. It’s not. It’s merely anti-abortion and often *uses* the unborn as human shields for its commitment to torture with sophistries.

              • Rob B.

                I would say that the subculture isn’t even truly anti-abortion. It merely plays it on TV…

            • cmfe

              I don’t see that here, Peggy. I see an attempt to jolt people OUT of partisanship and towards a more authentic Catholic viewpoint. Your last sentence states the whole point of this discussion.

        • chezami

          Nobody expects pro-aborts to be prolife. And you will note that I have plenty of harsh words for Obama, with whom the buck stops. But prolife people, especially Catholics, are bound by Jesus’ words. Him to whom much is given, much will be required. To call oneself a prolife Catholic and fiercely defend this filth is to incur a terrible responsibility before God.

    • chezami

      “It’s somebody else’s fault that we salivated over this stuff publicly”. The party of personal responsibility continue to cover itself in glory.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    I’ve read a lot today on this, and I’ve attempted to wrap my head around it. I can’t. Some of it boggles the mind, even if it makes perfect sense. We know that the torturers weren’t “professionals” but checkered agents with a long history of abuse, violence, addiction and even sexual assault. Real professionals wouldn’t be able to engage in this kind of sadism. Only nutjobs (or severely broken people) would engage in the things that were detailed in this report. And that’s probably by design: these checkered individuals would mostly not have the conscience to object to what was going on. It seems even some of them did, and they were told to not put anything in writing because “such language is not helpful.”

    I don’t know how far up things should go, but Jose Rodriguez needs to be tried for war crimes, and here I revert back to my support for the death penalty as applicable to individuals whose behavior is so reprehensible. they, in the words of Pius XII, have themselves forfeited the right to live.

    If Rodriguez is guilty of half of what the report alleges he did, I’m not sure how you can come to any other conclusion.

  • W. Randolph Steele

    I read all the back and forth here and elsewhere and I am reminded of the speech Cliff Roberson makes to Robert Redford and the end of “Three Days of the Condor”. In it he says”Pretty soon people who have never been hungry and cold are going to be and they are going to tell us to get it for them And they’re not going care how we do it”. THAT pretty much sums this up to me.THe CIA has always done this sort stuff and always will For AWHILE, American’s will be “shocked and saddened” UNTIL the next bad guys show up and something similar will happen. In the end American’s don’t really care how it’s done, they simply want the bad guys taken care of and they aren’t really particular how it’s done. Remember, Teddy Roosevelt’s “Talk softly and carry a big stick”?
    My dad served on the same aircraft carrier as Bush 41 and to the day he died, he was happy that Truman dropped the atomic bombs on Japan and so were many the WW2 vets I knew,especially those who served in the Pacific.

  • Jassuz8

    Will you please include in your detailed description of the torture released today, an equally descriptive explanation of the violent crime being committed against babies during an abortion? Have you considered that those “self identified pro-life” people didn’t have anywhere else “politically” to go but to the conservative side of the fence? Have you considered that NONE of those people were privy to the above information until today? You condemn them? Are they wrong to wish to bring an end to the violence committed against the unborn? And you condone this? Who on earth do you think you are?

    My father is a WWII veteran, and I have never supported the “water-boarding” or torture of any kind. But I do not support your venomous judgment…especially since it is so hyper-focused on one segment of the voting population. Biased much? You are not helping your cause, and you are blaming the wrong people.

    • kenofken

      So long as the “pro-life” movement is full of folks who broadly support torture, it has nothing at all to say about the value of life which is worth anyone’s time to listen to.

      Not privy to the information? Only in the details. We’ve known full well in this country for a long, long time that torture and abuse were in the top drawer of the took kit since 9/11. Whatever they knew or didn’t know about the precise scope of torture prior to today is largely irrelevant: Conservative Catholics and evangelicals were front and center cheering it on for the last dozen years.

      • Jassuz8

        Big collective sigh. When was the “official” definition of “pro-life” defined? The political movement that began to call itself “pro-life” began about the time of Roe v. Wade. I agree with all of you that to be truly pro-life should encompass all issues concerning life – abortion, the death penalty, torture, just war, poverty, oppression and the list goes on. However, all of you know that the history of the label “pro-life” began with abortion.

        Regarding political parties: My father was a democrat who grew up in Detroit during the depression. His family was middle class and his father was employed, but he still had many stories to tell about the plight of the poor during those times. He said that men would come to their door every day because they knew that my Grandmother would feed them. There were many stories about how desperate those times were, and they formed his political views on the democrat side of the fence. He is also a WWII veteran and – back then – both political parties shared common views about the role of our military. My views regarding torture have a lot to do with concern for what our own soldiers have had to suffer in being tortured at the hands of our enemies. I respect John McCain’s view on this as well. I honestly don’t know what my father’s opinion is on the subject of water-boarding, or the recent “enhanced interrogation techniques,” because I didn’t ask him. He is supportive of the death penalty – and this was justified to him by his Catholic education (Jesuit education). The priests who educated him thoroughly went over the criteria required in forming decisions when it came to life and death matters (including the death penalty). I did not have the same Catholic education that he did, but regardless, I am opposed to the death penalty because I know that we are capable of protecting people by way of incarceration, and we cannot guarantee with absolute certainly that the convictions are just. It has happened too many times, that DNA evidence proved that we convicted and executed the wrong person. I could go on, but my point so far is to say that all of the above beliefs fit well within a liberal democrat political demographic. BUT, then came Roe v. Wade and everything changed. My fathers views did not change, but he could not in good conscience “accept” the democrat pro-choice platform. However, he has never abandoned his concern for the poor, and Republicans have supported social programs that have helped the working poor and single mothers, and the children. My views are not identical to my fathers, but it is true that my vote is also cast for whatever can be found in political candidates that will vote against policies which promote abortion. If the democrats ever actually allow a voice for pro-life (those opposed to abortion) people, I would be more supportive of the party. I have been supportive of democrat candidates who oppose abortion.

        Mark Shea is ranting at my father – and no, it’s not personal, but my father is one of those people he describes. Mark Shea is wrong to do so because there is much more to the story in my father’s circumstance as there is in every individual circumstance. My father is pro-life in every respect and the Church permits dissenting views on some of these issues, but not on abortion.

        By his own definition, Mark Shea’s hatred is hardly pro-life. He is not convincing others of anything but his disdain for those “conservative” people he’s mad at. It’s childish at best and he’s long since lost any hope of being able to effect real change and touch the hearts of people.

        • cmfe

          Jazzus8, your dad is not under indictment here. You say yourself that he had no opinion on torture that you knew of. Speaking out about serious hypocrisy and sin is no more hatred than when the prophets called Israel to account. In fact, it is a labor of love.

          • Jassuz8

            Mark Shea speaks about statistical majorities of people who self-identify as pro-life, and yet are “merely anti-abortion.” And, my father does fit his description. So do I for that matter. I am pro-life and that is driven largely by my “anti-abortion” views. I’m concerned about a lot of issues but abortion is right at the top of the list.

            There is no such thing as “merely anti-abortion.” The Church calls us to fight against abortion and there is nothing wrong with doing so. In spite of Mark Shea insistence that we’re all wrong and we’re not “really” pro-life, the fight for the lives of the unborn should continue. We should not change any of what we’ve done. And, we should forge ahead.

            • Jassuz8

              And…it has to be said that that is exactly what’s wrong with Marks “argument.” Instead of talking about torture, we’re drawn to talk about and defend the fight against abortion. Why? Because Mark is limited to framing the conversation around “anti-abortion-but-not-prolife “faithful conservative Catholics.” As though their efforts to combat abortion were actually an effort to torture people.

              • antigon

                Jassuz: Your posts above are both moving & well argued, very especially your articulate & heartfelt concern for the innocent unborn. You are not alone in taking Mark to task for going too far & being unfair with not a few of the arguments he makes, & I hope he responds to your posts not contentiously, but recognizing the legitimate objections they make.
                *
                There are, tho, to be sure, some complications. Since he has been so manifestly vindicated in the arguments he made back in a period when it was not so easy to make them, it would in light of that doubtless behoove him to take a more careful or unifying or even conciliatory approach now, when the threat of the evil is not – at least for a moment – so immediate. It might be wise to be less promiscuous with the ‘anti-abortion-but-not-prolife’ meme, tho he is sometimes like a dog shaking a squirrel with his memes.
                *
                And yet. There really was a huge & ongoing debate both general & with particulars when these horrors were being inflicted, there were honest efforts to explore them, also honest but naïve ones, many dishonest ones, & for reasons very much related to abortion as well as partisan concerns there was a tendency to dismiss what in fact were tendentious charges from leftist hypocrites, & take assurances on faith from politicians who at least didn’t promote the mass murder of abortion, or at least not obviously; & because, as you note, there was no place to go, there was the temptation to go with the program even among those who had misgivings. And of course there were also paid propagandists, lots of hacks, & a government lying about every aspect of the savage crimes they were committing. And again, all this going on, as with the arguments about abortion, while the horrors themselves were being inflicted.
                *
                In the midst of this there were very few with either the intelligence or courage to cut through the miasma with a ringing clarity, but Mark Shea was relentlessly one of them. I could tell you stories of brave & good & even somewhat powerful folk who simply dismissed the subject as Democrat propaganda, who nonetheless came to recognize the truth directly due to Shea & his efforts. And he was right, every step of the way, when that wasn’t so easy as it is now, for the moment.
                *
                Mark once wrote to me that he’s a thick-skinned fellow, but the thing is, that isn’t true. People attacked him, & constantly, for upholding the truth when it wasn’t popular. And apart from that he judges the world a bit too much from his limited internet experiences, one suspects he let himself get a little too wounded by all this, so that now he may be too much giving in to the anger those wounds provoked. And so I hope your posts will help provide him the means of getting past that, towards a reconciliation without any equivocation, not least because this hunger for torture is far from over.
                *
                The thing is, there really were a lot of people, doubtless still are, Catholic, conservative, anti-abortion, people of all stripes, who hesitated & hesitate, to condemn torture with all the fury, equivocators of the Walter Kasper & friends stripe notwithstanding, that its rank immorality & viciousness demand. I would be very surprised if you thought otherwise, so it’s likely you & Mark are not so opposed as you suspect. The question is how to convey & insist upon that truth, as of the truth that it’s never permissible to kill an innocent child, & your contribution to that effort is no mean one, nor one that should prevent you & Mark & others from reaching an accord as to how that can best be done.
                *
                Does that make sense? I hope it does, & hope it will.

                • Jassuz8

                  I’m no different from Mark in that I get angry when people are unkind, and when injustice is committed. I have had to go to confession over internet posts before, and almost always have to confess my own tendency toward temper. I am a sinner who struggles. But, I know that there are good people both left and right who will listen to just causes…but we have to give eachother something worth listening to. One of the real challenges we have is that there isn’t much coming from the pulpit on the larger moral issues – and there is a long list which can be discussed. I don’t believe that I have ever heard a priest talk about concerns over torture. Certainly immigration has been a consistent grave concern that is openly discussed, probably due to the fact that there are ongoing needs in the migrant communities (at least where I live). Abortion is seen as too sensitive to discuss, and it is likely that priests are genuinely concerned about hurting women who have aborted, or maybe that they’ll feel judged or pushed away. I personally know women who have aborted – they suffer – and for that reason, our pastors need to reach out and teach with compassion, hope and love. Our young should hear from the pulpit of the work that is done through Silent No More and Rachel’s Vinyard. They need to hear that they will be loved and that there is a tomorrow. The greatest progress in bringing an end to abortion will come in such a way. My own sister nearly aborted her baby because she was afraid that my parents would reject her if they knew she was pregnant…thankfully one of her friends called him and told him that she was pregnant and at an abortion clinic (and that she needed him). He was able to save her, and her, child just-in-time. The event changed her and my father and our entire family. My Dad knew that he had made mistakes which isolated her…hard lessons learned, but thankfully my niece was saved. How on earth do we serve anyone if we don’t teach, don’t talk, and reduce ourselves to shouting and accusations. There is a lot of hurt and divisiveness in our country and within the Church…and somewhere in the midst of all of it is a lot of truth. We all have some truth that we bring to the table and we need each other, even when we’re jerks at times.

            • chezami

              I don’t say there’s anything wrong with fighting abortion. I say there is something radically wrong with claiming to be prolife and supporting torture or, worse, using the unborn as human shields in order to defend torture. If you don’t do that then I’m not addressing you. If the shoe fits, wear it (and repent). That’s all I’m saying.

              • Jassuz8

                There is a lot wrong with the manner in which you present your message as well. However, you won’t kill anybody, so maybe you believe that your behavior gets a pass.

                I don’t typically read your blog or your articles, but unfortunately a young priest at our parish shared your America magazine piece on the parish FB site…not expecting that anyone would object to your style of presentation. Suffice it to say that I for one was very offended…and I think that that priest made a well-intended mistake in hoping to bring up the discussion of other pro-life concerns. He said that you (Mark Shea) were not calling everyone a hypocrite…just some people. So, somehow that makes it okay. You’re only talking about nameless, faceless, arbitrary people. Apparently you weren’t talking to me. You weren’t talking to my father (according to some of your fans here). But you are talking to somebody…and you might just be calling out hypocrites you’ve never met. Good work Mark. This is what God must have called you to do…call out the hypocrites. Well, unfortunately, when anyone carries on in such a way, then someone is going to turn that finger right around and put you back in your place. Have you really built your career by doing this?

                Every Catholic who sits in a pew has a sin of one kind or another…and is likely a hypocrite in some way. We’re human. Maybe you could write the homilies for our priests so that your finger pointing can catch every human hypocrisy as it presents itself at the altar of our Lord. Suffice it to say that I could not be more upset with you if I tried. If I were your mother, I would give you a very long time-out. There is a lot of behavior in this world that is “radically wrong.” It’s called sin.

                Honestly, is this how you conduct yourself in your living room? I know that our young priest (who is a very kind and gentle man) would never have spoken to anyone the way you speak in your articles. Grace heals. Judgment divides.

                And tell me, is there any hypocrisy found in the fact that you are profiting from all of this?

                • Jassuz8

                  And, the last couple of weeks, I’ve read enough of your work to know that you have great talent. You don’t have to listen to me, but I don’t understand why you don’t use it to build up…build up the Church and all pro-life concerns. Tearing down hurts.

                  • chezami

                    A blog is supposed to be *happy* occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who tortured and murdered who!

                    • Jassuz8

                      I have to admit that that made me laugh, lol.

        • Andy

          Your father sounds like many people I know – and I was not “ranting” at him, and if that came across I am sorry – I was describing those who currently see pro-life as being only anti-abortion. For this group of people everything is up to prudential judgment – even when the Catechism and other church documents do not offer the opportunity for prudential judgment. I too went to Catholic school and learned that prudential judgment was based on both me and how conscience was formed by learning from the church.
          My major thrust though was perhaps it is time to form a new “political party” that is broadly speaking pro-life.

    • Andy

      I think I see a distinction you are trying to make or maybe it is my understanding – there are those who are “pro-life” who felt that they had to become conservative because at least the conservatives said the right words about being against abortion – which is sometimes seen as being pro-life? However, being pro-life means supporting life from conception to natural death. It hard to see how the present conservative political grouping can be seen as pro-life. Maybe it si time for those who truly pro-life to form their own political party – one that supports life, one that supports providing support so that life can flourish, one stat supports life from conception to natural death?

      • Jassuz8

        Please see my response to kenofken.

  • IRVCath

    1) When we fought the Communists, people who did this, upon capture, were subjected to summary execution, out of outrage, and rightly so. Have we descended so far as to ape the tactics and morals of the Bolsheviks?

    2) It says something about us and our people that there are those who are willing to defend forcible sodomy – let us remember, we are talking about sins crying out to God for vengeance here – in the name of national security and American values. And what it says is nothing good.

    • jroberts548

      It’s been a while since I’ve read Genesis, but I’m pretty sure the “sin of Sodom” only counts if it’s between two consenting adults who want the state to recognize their relationship for tax purposes, and it’s not the sin of Sodom if you’re doing it to foreigners against their will. That’s how the story of Lot and Sodom goes, right?

  • Eve Fisher

    St. Joan of Arc’s reply to the threat of torture: “Truly, if you were to tear me limb from limb and separate my soul from my body, I would not say anything more. If I did say anything, afterwards I would always declare that you made me say it by force!” Using torture is not only wrong, it doesn’t work – it’s basically selling your soul to the devil for NOTHING.