Phil Lawler Wrestles with a Mysteriously Popular Desperate Lie from Catholic Torture Defenders

Phil Lawler Wrestles with a Mysteriously Popular Desperate Lie from Catholic Torture Defenders December 29, 2014

The man has written wisely and well on the this beloved-by-far-too-many-conservative-Catholics mortal sin and, as a result, heard the same foolish lies in defense of it as I get on a daily basis.

He writes:

Since you’ve been so persistent on the question of torture, I’m curious whether you’ve been hearing the same odd argument that is turning up in many of the critical emails that I’ve received.

Literally dozens of people have written to tell me that the Church condemns torture when it is used to extract a confession, but not when it’s used to gain information. I’m having trouble taking that argument seriously; I don’t understand how a reasonable intelligent person could find a morally significant distinction there. Have you been getting that argument too, or is it something peculiar to my readers?

When the Church is clearly teaching something that people Catholics desperately wish to avoid, the general method for ignoring bloody obvious Church teaching is to find a theologian somewhere who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear, and then raise him to the status of the Magisterium, despite the fact that he literally stands in complete isolation from the rest of the Church’s witness. We saw this with the exaltation of people like Charles Curran and Hans Kung with lefties on their beloved Pelvic Issues.

Now the Torture Defending Right is doing the same thing. The theologian in this case, is Fr. Brian Harrison.  In addition to rushing to defend Bob Sungenis from his bishop’s censure of his loony antisemitism) Fr. Harrison also immediately set to work devising a defense for the use of torture in interrogation so hair-splitting and tendentious that only a dedicated torture defender could take it as gospel: see here and here

Tom Kreitzberg sums things up perfectly in his excellent rebuttal of this desperate attempt to find wiggle room for torture when he describes it as precisely the sort of logic chopping that gives Roman Catholic theology a bad name http://disputations.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html#116248044980889857  It’s this piece that is the source of the ridiculous arguments you are hearing. And despite the fact that Fr. Harrisoh stands absolutely and totally alone in the theological community and without one single shred of support from any bishop in the whole wide world, he has been treated as an alternate Magisterium on this question by Catholic torture defenders for years.

The irony is that Fr. Harrison himself finally abandoned the argument when Benedict closed that loophole he was straining to keep open

I wish to state that I accept the Holy Father’s judgement on this matter, and so no longer hold that Catholics can ever legitimately defend the use of torture – not even in extreme circumstances to gain potentially life-saving information from known terrorists. Accordingly, the last sentence of the above article, regarding “the present status quaestionis” on torture, should now be taken as withdrawn.

Benedict’s statement, for those who don’t know, is this: “I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances.”

You should point your readers to those facts at every opportunity.  I wish Fr. Harrison would take these writings down and not leave them up for torture defenders to keep referring to as some kind of magisterial proof for their position.

Thanks for fighting the good fight.  The cheering for mortal sin by “prolife” “faithful” Catholics is an ugly stain on the Church’s witness. That it still continues at this late date, after the release of the Senate Report, is even more appalling. There’s no sense left in it, other than the insane “sense” of needing to go on justifying evil lest one have to admit one was obviously wrong. It’s People of the Lie stuff at this stage. That’s why the focus is now on a) appealing to naked liars like Dick “The Ends Justify the Means” Cheney as “proof” that “it worked”; b) refusal to acknowledge that the ends do not justify the means whether it worked or not; c) refusa to acknowledge that the Report documents that it did not, in fact, work and did, in fact, harm intel-gathering; d)endless quibbling about waterboarding as though all the other horrors in the Senate Report never happened; e) genetic fallacy lies which try to argue that the Democratic authorship of the report somehow make the copiously documented fact in the report go away; and f) (with Catholic Torture Defenders) absurd hair-splitting appeals to the now-disowned-by-the-author claim that the use of torture in interrogation might be legitimate.

It is long past time for Catholics to demonstrate some courage and stop trying to defend this miserable stain on the US and the American Catholic Church’s members who have fought so hard to defend it. When “prolife” people are going to the mat to defend anal rape, freezing an innocent man to death, forcing people to stand on broken feet in stress positions, standing on a man’s broken leg, and threatening to murder children and cut the throats of innocent women, the “prolife” movement can well and truly be termed a thing so perverted that its witness is dead till it renounces such prostitution for the sake of worldly power.

May our tortured Lord forgive us our cowardice and may the Holy Innocents pray for us that we be consistent in our prolife witness and abandon this horrendous failure to be fully prolife.

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  • AquinasMan

    Fr. Harrison also immediately set to work devising a defense for the use of torture in interrogation so hair-splitting and tendentious that only a dedicated torture defender could take it as gospel:

    I think we should always be careful when it comes to implying that a theological argument is simply an ends looking for a means. Theology is rife with misfires and, yes, heresy which needs to be corrected by what’s already in the deposit of faith. But the theologian wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t push the envelope on issues like this. I don’t think many here would accuse von Balthasar of cynically “devising a defense” for the heresy of universalism, but others treat his theoretical questioning as proof that he was some kind of modernist quisling. Origen created a similar trap for himself, but he also left us an immense treasure of intellectual accomplishments to ponder for a couple millenia thereafter.

    I don’t know a lot about Father Harrison, but I would take his obedience to the Holy Father as a sign that he was acting in good faith when he plotted out the limited acceptability of torture he was attempting to pry open. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned with Francis, once it’s “out there”, it’s “out there”, and in this era of mass communication, it takes on a life of its own, regardless of the original intent of the one who spoke it first.

    Meanwhile, we still have plenty of priests, deacons, and nuns who continue to defy Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and freely, openly muse on the fantastical possibility of women priests. Maybe their “ugly stain on the Church’s witness” deserves a blog post or two, as well, once we put the torture issue to bed.

    • capaxdei

      “I think we should always be careful when it comes to implying that a theological argument is simply an ends looking for a means.”

      I agree, though I’m not sure Mark is saying Fr. Harrison worked backwards from his conclusion.

      For my part, I don’t think I’ve ever thought Fr. Harrison was acting through ill will, merely according to an ill-applied method, which I’ll characterize as a sort of textual criticism applied to Magisterial statements. Like textual criticism of Scripture, it has strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s necessary but not sufficient, with its insufficiency demonstrated by his tentative conclusions that (I assert) could have been dispensed with if they had been tested by the question, “Now, are these actually reasonable?”

      That said, an academic theologian like Fr. Harrison has to be a lot more careful and deliberate than an Internet blowhard like me, for whom “Pish tosh” is sometimes an adequate counter-argument.

    • chezami

      Fr. Harrison wrote to Crisis immediately after their publication of my piece criticizing the use of torture and made it very clear, long before he had researched his series and created this tendentious argument, that he thought agreeing with the Magisterium’s teaching on torture was skating on thin ice. He then set about creating this tendentious argument and was immediately elevated to Alternate Magisterium by the Torture Defending Catholic Right.

      • entonces_99

        I think this is an unfair characterization of Fr. Harrison. When I read your Crisis article, I was cheering, because I thought it stated an obvious truth that people had, for various reasons, not wanted to accept. Moreover, I didn’t *want* torture, of any sort, to be morally licit, because I didn’t want anyone to have an excuse to justify what had been going on at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere under US auspices. When I read Fr. Harrison’s initial reaction, however, it appeared to me that the question wasn’t nearly as simple as I had imagined. Far from suggesting that “agreeing with the Magisterium’s teaching on torture was skating on thin ice,” he (and here I’m relying on my memory) pointed out magisterial statements regarding torture that made a blanket condemnation much more problematic that I had thought. As one who takes seriously Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity,” I believe it important to find a way of reconciling what may appear to be contradictory statements from the magisterium before and after 1965. (The same problem, by the way, comes up with respect to slavery, which apparently was the subject of an 1866 Instructio of the Holy Office, approved by the Holy Father, which stated that slavery was not, “considered as such in its essential nature,” “contrary to the natural and divine law.”) Simply regarding those earlier statements as no longer operative is the kind of solution that appeals to those who want the Church to change her teaching on contraception, divorce, sodomy, etc., but it can hardly be acceptable to one who wants to be faithful to the fullness of the magisterium. So it is not sufficient to simply accuse Fr. Harrison of being a “torture apologist” or of disagreeing with the current magisterium; it is necessary to show how his understanding of the older magisterium is deficient.

  • Sue Korlan

    What still annoys me about this entire situation is that the torturers are walking away free with no external repercussions for the serious evils they committed. Much better to pay in this world than the next. Or perhaps they don’t think they will ever have to pay.

    • chezami

      Obama is entirely to blame for that.

      • Sue Korlan

        I don’t think so. If we the American people made clear that we want the perpetrators to pay, they would. But until we’re willing to go out on the streets over it or change how we vote on account of it, and given that abortion is torture too and still going on most pro-lifers aren’t going to change their votes even given this horror, I don’t think anyone is going to have to pay anything for doing it.

        Our Republican legislators who are about to take office are no more willing to convict these people than Obama is, and possibly less because it happened under a Republican administration.

        • jroberts548

          The DOJ is part of the executive branch. Obama can’t run for re-election as President, and will almost certainly never seek any other elected office (just as no or very few presidents have held other offices after being president). There’s literally nothing voters can do to Obama if he does or doesn’t prosecute torturers. If Obama instructed his employees in the DOJ to bring charges if possible, a pro-torture voter would never have the opportunity to punish Obama for it.

          • Sue Korlan

            I stand corrected. Thank you.

          • Dan Berger

            I think that John Quincy Adams is the only American president ever to hold other elective office after his presidency.

    • Newp Ort

      Perhaps they have recognized their sin and confessed it.

      • Sue Korlan

        I certainly hope so, but I doubt many of them were Catholic. I certainly hope they weren’t, because that’s no different than a Catholic being an abortionist. It’s not possible to do both, any more than to love both God and Mammon.

    • $3285169

      Nonsense. Those being falsely accused of torture by political opportunists, such as Senator Feinstein, actually took a more moral stance than Obama, Feinstein, and other liberals.

      Those accused did not engage in torture, as any sane man would commonly describe it, while Obama and Feinstein – in their righteous avoidance of “torture” simply launch missiles from drones that murder and maim the innocent as well as the guilty. If we hold their actions up against the former, this conversation becomes laughable.

      The current righteous politicians do not seek information that will save the lives of innocents. Nope. They simply blow people off the planet. Best to ask those targets and those around them – would you rather have water poured on your face or have a fiery explosion tear your head off?

      In an age of grotesque beheading, rape, burning, torture, maiming, and enslavement by an enemy that is demonic it is ludicrous to prattle on about water boarding being torture. Insane political posturing.

      • chezami

        Catholic torture defenders constantly focus on the lie that waterboarding is not torture in order to ignore the copious documentation of anal rape, freezing innocents to death, refusal to treat bullet wound, threats to murder children and wives, and threats to rape mothers. They are like liars who think that proving Himmler was not cruel to animals exhausts the charges against him. Have you no shame?

      • freddy

        1. Waterboarding is still torture, just as it was when used by the Japanese against American POW’s in WWII. It’s not suddenly not torture or excusable ’cause it’s us doing it.
        .
        2. Of course drone strikes are evil. But using them to excuse torture is like using partial birth abortion to excuse first trimester abortion.

      • Sue Korlan

        There is nothing ludicrous about considering water boarding torture. That’s what it is. And the evils of slaughtering innocent people with drones does not make the torture we committed on prisoners of war any less wrong or stupid. Now we are releasing them because we’re embarrassed by what we’ve done to them, even if they are soldiers who will go back to war with us. If they were really involved in the war in Afghanistan, we should have treated them respectfully like prisoners of war in the first place. Now it’s too late for that; we tried to turn them into criminals and have discovered that we are now the criminals.

      • jroberts548

        “Therefore, it’s okay to sodomize someone with hummus.”

      • HornOrSilk

        Ends do not justify the means. We don’t get to be immoral because others are immoral. Look to the martyrs. They were being killed in all kinds of cruel ways. Their response wasn’t to act in the same manner, but to die thanking God for the life they had and praying for those who persecuted them. Hoping that their witness to truth through love would save others. And it did. This was why they were considered to be the ones who held the church on their backs, and indeed, symbolized by pillars with their icons in many churches: pillar saints.

  • David Naas

    Going back to the beginning of December, have there been any columns in The Postmodern Conservative condemning torture? Lawler is a very smart man. He knows his audience. He only seems to condemn torture in friendly outlets.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    If I may add to Mark’s consternation. This article seems to be Fr. Harrison 2.0.

    No need to thank me.;-)

    Torture: Historical and Ethical Perspectives
    http://unamsanctamcatholicam.com/social-teaching/moral-issues/93-social-teaching/moral-issues/503-torture-historical-and-ethical-perspectives.html

    • IRVCath

      Of course, even admitting, arguendo, as this article does, that judicial torture is permitted (though certainly not the act of a wise ruler), this is not judicial torture. No court order, no law, not even an executive order. By that very fact alone, it is immoral.

      I am always amused that the defenders of torture use as support sources that condemn them.

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        I apologize Javier and I have edited this post & withdraw my angry response.

        I will assume you did not mean to unjustly accuse me of being a “defender of torture” because I provided this link & because the last sentence in your post can be interpreted as an accusation.

        • IRVCath

          By no means was I accusing you of anything.

          • CatholicJames##Scott+~

            Good to know. I am glad you didn’t read my original angry post. At least I hope you didn’t.

            Sorry I am a bit paranoid since back in the day *some people* who shall remain nameless had a tendency to personally & viciously attack those who honestly considered Harrision’s views or Jimmy Akin’s or the view in this article I linked too.

            Also as an Old New Yorker I am naturally paranoid.

            Cheers and peace to you bro.

        • IRVCath

          Merely pointing out that those who do bandy about Harrison’s work as support for torture seem to have not read Harrison. 🙂

          • CatholicJames##Scott+~

            No problem.

  • Tom

    Mr Shea, Phil Lawler did not refer to his opponents as “desperate liars”; he is a better man than that. Name calling is not an argument, and is sign of weak thinking. Nor is it “Mysteriously Popular” or “Desperate” for torture defenders to simply refer the reader to St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Secundae Secundae. Question 65, Article 1.
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3065.htm
    The use of torture by a state actor is clearly allowed under Aquinas’s reasoning, which is consistent with Augustine’s. This is NOT to say that Aquinas or Augustine trumps a pope who is speaking authoritatively on matters of morals; nor does Aquinas argument make torture the prudent or best thing to do, nor does it of itself justify any actions by the US govt. What Aquinas’s argument does do, is make the position on torture plausible within the framework of Natural Law. It has in the past been seen as a morally justifiable action under some specific circumstances. This is not a mystery, Aquinas’s argument is clear. Perhaps it is mistaken. Quoting Benedict may settle the fact, but it does not show us where Aquinas is mistaken.

    • Dan F.

      Perhaps is mistaken? Who can say right? Just have to keep on torturing then I guess…..

      • DeBlasio

        You can always start your own religion if you don’t care what the Catholic Church teaches:

        ” In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances”

        In other words, in this specific situation.

        • Andy

          You can always start your own religion if you don’t care what the Catholic Church teaches – good way to show folks that your opinion is Catholic.

        • chezami

          You make Clinton look like a paragon on unvarnished honesty with this tortured attempt to twist Benedict’s words.

        • wlinden

          So “under any circumstances” means “in these circumstances”?
          Uh, what did they used to say about “jesuitical”?

        • Dan F.

          right, that was my point. Perhaps a /sarcasm/ tag should have been added.

    • Mariana Baca

      Did you read that section of the summa? It is not about torture to extract confession of receive information, and nothing about causing unnecessary pain or distress as a means of coercion. The first is primarily about the licitness of amputation or maiming at all, but primarily for medical uses. It is secondarily about the use of maiming as a lesser punishment to the death penalty if it can prevent further crime in the community in order to avoid capital punishment. Given we have determined that in modern societies there is little, if any, necessity for the death penalty, there is even less cause for a magistrate to ever deprive him of body parts or otherwise injure him for other crimes, since according to Aquinas, to do so without need hurts the community as a whole, as well as the individual when not necessary. (It condemns the personal use of amputation to prevent sin, also, since sin is the product of the will, but that is not in discussion now).

      He goes on to explain that there are three levels of punishments: permanent injury to the body (killing and maiming), injury to the senses (blows for chastisement) and injury to freedom of movement (imprisonment). They fall on the legitimate authority to administer them justly as punishments only as needed, since unless they are used in actually preventing a clear and present evil, they also damage society by preventing the good the individual could do (in a way, condemning the widespread use of the prison system for small or non-injurious crimes).

      At no point is it saying causing extreme psychological and physical pain (i.e. torture) or rape is permissible to obtain information, or for that matter, even as punishment. And even for blows meted out as punishment, that falls under the jurisdiction of a legitimate authority (in our society, that is a judge, usually), never by someone like, say, an investigator, who does not have the authority to administer just punishment.

      • Dick

        Mariana, the Article by St. Thomas Aquinas is about the use of force to maim. “Whether in some cases it may be lawful to maim anyone?” It certainly seems that Aquinas speaks to the use of force in maiming and torture is a form of maiming. He says “Hence just as by public authority a person is lawfully deprived of life altogether on account of certain more heinous sins, so is he deprived of a member on account of certain lesser sins.” Aquinas is plainly stating that the state can kill a man or maim a man in response to his sin against the state. Now Aquinas may be wrong in this thinking, but his view on maiming is consistent with his other views on crime and punishment.

        • Mariana Baca

          Torture is not a form of maiming. Maiming is to permamently damage the human body. There is lots of maiming that is not torture and there is lots of torture that does not maim.

          However, even if that is the case, at no point does he say it is licit to maim to gather information from prisoners. He does not put “gathering evidence from a party without conviction” as a licit use of maiming. He limits it to punishment and therapy.

          Torture, in the “ticking time bomb” sense, and in any other sense people normally use it, is not a form of just punishment. It is normally used on those we might not even know are guilty to extract a confession. In none of the sections here in aquinas is the use of force permissible in that instance.

          • Dick

            You are missing the philosophical principles that St Thomas uses. The principles are these: (1) Maiming is related to torture if it is done contrary to the desire of the person maimed. (2) Maiming involves pain, both present and into the future. (3) Maiming is performed as a legitimate punishment. In the case of the “ticking time bomb” it is a punishment for not providing important information for the protection of the state. (4) It is an action done under authorization from a legitimate authority. (5) the person tortured does not have a right to retain his knowledge under the conditions set forth in #3.

    • Mariana Baca

      TLDR for my thing below: Aquinas is not wedging the door open to say: well if we can sometimes cause pain, it is plausible to cause greater pain elsewhere. He is restraining the more widespread use of pain to medical procedures and legitimate punishment and restraint only. (and is very specific about what punishments he is talking about and who can inflict them, and that it is not a matter of “getting to punish” but “punishing as little as necessary”)

  • DeBlasio

    Mark Shea’s statements are sorely mistaken and he should start his own religion since what he is saying is based on distorting the Holy Father’s words to begin with. Look up the Catholic Champion blog. In no way did the Catholic Church say all torture is forbidden, so take that up with the Church, not beating people over the head with the invection of what Mr. Shea is lying about the Church teaching. “In this regard”, pertaining to exact circumstances. Mr. Shea can be self-righteous but it is NOT what the Church teaches.

    • Dan F.

      ::head desk:: how about an actual refutation or some source to support your assertion? What’s that? Don’t have one?

      • DeBlasio

        Yes I do, Pope Benedict’s statement. Read it. http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2010/05/pope-benedict-xvi-and-condemnation-of.html Not reading things into it.

        • Andy

          http://catholicchampion.blogsp.. – Another blogger with no real authority – please cite what the church teaches, and not the interpretation of CatholicChampion..

          • DeBlasio

            So you concede the authority here is only Mark Shea, so be it.

            We all have opinions and so neither can assert its authority, however you can read the whole speech by Pope Benedict.

            • Andy

              Actually I said cite what the church teaches – I never said anything about Mr. Shea – what I said “another blogger within no real authority. I guess that is a problem for you – I have read the whole speech – actually read it and did not interpret it – and see that Pope Benedict was talking about anything that removes the dignity of humans – how the church defines torture is not to be contravened.

              • DeBlasio

                Andy: Thank you for your opinion as well but that is not an absolute as well. You are seeking to invoke authority when it is not there.

                • Andy

                  You lack of reading comprehension is incredible – I did not claim to be an authority, I cited what the Pope said – he spoke of dignity and the human being is not to attacked. Real simple!

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    It’s not lack of reading comprehension, it is selective comprehension…

          • DeBlasio

            Let your argument to be seen as attacking the messenger vs. the message.

            • Andy

              NOt attacking pointing out the obvious – neither Mr. Shea nor the “owner” of Catholic Champion are authorities speaking for the church – so let you comment be seen as lacking importance and coherence.

        • Mariana Baca

          This blog’s argument is that you can use torture that does not contravene the dignity of the human person, and goes to say “who even knows what contravenes this “dignity” of the human person”. ::head desk:: Benedict is saying it right there: torture does. All torture. Don’t do it. It seeks to treat human beings like machines who can’t choose or think, that when fed the right stimuli produce desired results (whether those results are true or false, often false).

          Torture is not just punishment, torture is not chastisement, torture is a desire to use pain or torment to disconnect the things that make our soul human, the will and the intellect (what one chooses and what one knows) from the body (what one wlll say without choosing or knowing).

          • DeBlasio

            That’s your view but that’s not necessarily what it says. “I always keep the Sabbath Holy, “in this regard, I never miss Mass”, does this mean I never miss Mass? No, it means I always keep my Sunday obligation.

            • Andy

              From the USCCB – as they quote Pope Benedict

              Catholic social teaching today opposes torture in the treatment of any detained or imprisoned person. For the Church is convinced that every human person bears a God-given dignity; respect for that dignity must always be present. The Church also is careful to point out that torture is illegal, prohibited under international law.

              Pope Benedict XVI talked about this in September 2007, when he addressed an international congress of Catholic prison ministers. . . . Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners must be eschewed by public authorities, he said. Immediately he added the following statement, which incorporates a quote taken from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: The prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstances (No. 404).

              Elsewhere:

              Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical, “Veritatis Splendor,” included “physical and mental torture” in his long list of social evils which are not only shameful but also “ intrinsically evil.” In their 2007 document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops argued: “A prime example (of intrinsically evil actions) is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. Direct threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as human cloning and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil. Other direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror war, can never be justified.”

              “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” asserts that the “prohibition against torture” is a principle that “cannot be contravened under any circumstances” (No. 404). It quotes Pope John Paul II as saying:” Christ’s disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing can justify.” Pope Benedict XVI, in a 2007 talk to Catholic prison ministers, directly quoted the “Compendium.” He asserted: “Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the dignity of prisoners” must be avoided.

              Don’t see where you say the church doesn’t condemn torture.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Lawyer, huh?

          • orual’s kindred

            who even knows what contravenes this “dignity” of the human person

            It is not surprising that a defense of torture would question the dignity of the human person (and apparently dignity in general), though it is still disappointing to see, to say the least; especially since that claim would imply that the unborn are of questionable dignity and humanity as well.

        • CatholicJames##Scott+~
        • Dan F.

          Try reading one, just one, of these resources: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/torture/
          and see if you can still justify torture under any circumstances. Pope Benedict was reiterating that the “prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstances.” What part of “any circumstances” is so hard to understand? He might be applying it to a specific circumstance as a reminder but he’s not limiting it to that circumstance.

  • gregory

    Begging all pardons, what is the ACC (American Catholic Church) referred to in the artical? Is it some kind of sspx tuber or new protestant division? I am not familiar with the designation. Please clarify. Thankyou.

  • susan

    I will do ANYTHING I need to do to protect my loved ones. And I will allow the military to do what it needs to do to protect them also.

    • freddy

      Germany, 1939.

    • chezami

      You will make an excellent slave to the first despot to promise you peace and safety.

      • Guest

        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

        Benjamin Franklin’s original quote, not the oft-butchered version.

    • orual’s kindred

      Since ‘anything’ here is typed out in all caps, I suppose rape, infanticide, converting to Islam and renouncing Christ are among the wide range of options to choose from.

    • linda daily

      Then you are not a disciple of Christ who died vulnerable and tortured.

      • petey

        thank you linda, i was preparing to say something like that

    • IRVCath

      Anything? Including, say, abortion, or forcible sodomy?

    • Romulus

      Then you have resolved to sin against the First Commandment. Among others.

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      If that is really your true opinion, then you are a very sad and deeply misled person, and I call on you to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, it is possible that you don’t really mean this. If so, perhaps you should clarify?

  • $3285169

    The tortured logic of the Marxist left continues to amaze rational people.

    One can only look at this type of deception in the context of the Great Deceiver who would lull people into insanity in order to destroy the faith.

    Start with deception regarding what is and what is not actually torture. Then, with a faulty view of what constitutes torture, toss the just war theory in the trash, and refuse to defend innocents under attack by the demonic.

    Forget about the manner in which Jesus dealt with the demonic – pretend the accounts of his handling demons do not exist.

    Difficult to believe anyone takes this as having anything to do with Catholicism or any kind of rational discussion.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      I’d never seen Rorschach Prose before. Impressive.

      So are you pro- or anti- torture?

    • orual’s kindred

      From what I can tell, what torture actually is has not been mentioned in the above comment, and the blog post has nowhere tossed Just War Theory in the trash.

    • petey

      “the Marxist left”

  • W. Randolph Steele

    Reading an number of these comments shows why torture will not not be banned and why those responsible for it will not be held accountable. American’s of EVERY stripe, including Catholics, SUPPORTED and will continue to support what the CIA did. WHY? Because they are afraid. All this theological debate is about as useful as debating how many angels can dance on the head of pin.

  • Jonk

    Folks, torture is evil. Much of what is described in the report is torture. No, the evil Democrats did not just create those incidents out of thin air: omissions or added emphases are irrelevant to the facts described in it, which are, as I said, descriptions of torture. In most cases, waterboarding is torture: certainly as described in the report, it was carried out for torturous purposes.

    There. That about covers it. Can we all agree and move on?

    • David Naas

      Unfortunately, those with guilty consciences — those who defend and advocate torture — will vent their rage against those who call on them to repent from their sin as long as possible. If one wants to comprehend the insane rage of the demons, look at the torture defenders for a public example.

      Like the demons, torture defenders know they are in the wrong, but pride and fear make them refuse to admit their error. And, like the Devil, they can and will quote Scripture (or the twisted words of Augustine or Aquinas or the Magisterium) for their own purposes.

      It is amusing:
      A majority of Americans approve of abortion.
      A majority of Americans approve of gay “marriage”.
      A majority of Americans are OK with the NSA spying on Americans
      A majority of Americans approve of torture.

      Good company these Catholic “conservatives” are keeping.

      • Richard

        Respectfully, you might double-check your “abortion” figures, a slight majority was shown in one poll to be pro-life. This is in the past two years, whether that is a “constructive” majority or if the definition of what being pro-life is agreeable to others, might be another question.

        • David Naas

          If the situation is turning around, none should be happier than myself.

  • the baron

    Nonsense, this was not torture as punishment it is torture to gain information from a group of terrorists conspiring to commit mass murder. As such they are not protected by the Geneva Conventions or the US Constitution. I saw my fellow New Yorkers leap to their deaths to escape the inferno these monsters created. To stop another occurrence – water boarding? sleep deprivation? They got off easy.

    • Jon Fermin

      so when the Japanese waterboarded US sailors in WWII it was torture, but now it’s not?

    • chezami

      Did the 25% who were innocent get off easy? Did the innocent guy we froze to death get off easy? As to the lie that this was about getting intel, you make it abundantly clear that it’s about “prolife” Catholic thirst for blood, even when the blood shed is innocent blood. Unless you seriously believe that somebody who goes without sleep for 180 hours is going to be a useful source of intel. You just want some son of a bitch to bleed, and you don’t much care if he’s innocent. Prolife my eye.

    • freddy

      You know, I take the part of the Lord’s Prayer very seriously when we pray, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….”
      .
      It terrifies me that I can be so easily angry, and so violently angry as to wish harm to another human being. I beg Our Lord, through the Immaculate Heart of His blessed mother, to soften my stony heart that my first thought, when my brother has done evil, is to pray for his salvation and mercy, and not the terrible justice he (and we!) deserve.

    • jroberts548

      if they’re not covered by the constitution, what law gives US officials the right do anything at all to them?

      And even if they’re not POWs under the Geneva conventions, common article 3 imposes a humane treatment requirement on everyone.

      Eta: Specifically, if you’re hors de combat, common article 3 prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” even when the conflict is not between state-parties to the conventions.

    • capaxdei

      These sorts of comments make me wonder. Does the person not know that the ends do not justify the means, or does the person just not care?

      • chezami

        Fr. Harrison’s work is the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Fr. Denis Lemieux

        They don’t care.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Maybe for them it depends on the end…

  • David Naas
  • etme

    Torture is right because we are doing it to our enemies who want to kill us.

    What the torture defenders don’t understand, is that the sentence above applies to EVERY AND ANY conflict, war, military struggle – ever. Nazi Germany caused the death of 60 million people. That is, 60,000,000. Wouldn’t torture have been justified – then?

    This ahystorical type of thinking, that THIS enemy and THIS conflict is special, extraordinary – and thus justifies special, extraordinary measures, situating all our acts beyond good and evil is ridiculous. And let us not even mention the gross generalizations, exaggerations, manic extrapolations – for example, every single person captured somewhere in the Middle East is a TERRORist, or potential terrorist, and they ALL are just one second away from blowing up the world, literally seconds away etc etc. That includes the taxi driver caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time etc.

    And, apropos what someone wrote above, that “I would do ANYTHING to protect my family” etc – there are more Americans killed in one year in the US, by ordinary crime, and you are more likely to die that way, than by any of these TERRORists. I therefore suggest the use of torture for all criminals, actual or potential, since they are clearly a bigger threat to the safety of the American people, to “MY FAMILY”, on a daily basis, than anything else in this world (excluding driving)…

    It is not by chance that this torture defense is the same argument, and, I suspect, by the same group of people, as those who defend Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “This time it is different, because they are REALLY evil, and they are OUR enemies.”

    That sentence, as said, applies to ANY conflict, any time in history etc. Read some accounts about the wars between the Greek city states. The Greeks killed ALL men, and the ENSLAVED all women and children, after taking over Melos. But no, this time – it is different.

    • etme

      Let me just state quickly the obvious – that murderous groups like ISIS need to be fought and defeated by the civilized world etc. These are obvious statements. Capital punishment is not necessary, yet murderers need to be caught and imprisoned. Obvious statements.

  • Dastardly

    Accordingly then you can’t tell a lie to save a life, nor can you kill to save a life, nor can you do these things in defense of your country, religion or your self. It is moral absolutism and it is applied here to “Torture”.

    • chezami

      Re: lying to save a life: correct. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3110.htm#article3

      Re: killing to save a life, familiarize yourself with just war teaching: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/12/having-to-kill-vs-getting-to-kill.html

      • Marthe Lépine

        Would I be out of line to suggest that such arguments as the need for lying to save a life ignore something that every Catholic should know: All of us, we are only passing on this earth and our real life is awaiting for us in Heaven. So, when instead of our best efforts while staying within the teaching of the Church a person gets killed, that person is going to meet Christ’s Mercy while the person who did the killing is responsible for taking a human life. Unless it can be argued that it is ok to lie, in order to save the killer from mortal sin…
        As for killing to save a life, the Church has clear teaching that you are correctlu referring to.

    • freddy

      You may be a bit unclear about what the Church teaches regarding the things you mention. I’m no expert, but may be able to help a little.
      .
      1. You can’t tell a lie to save a life. True, but not all deceptions rise to the level of a lie. For example, if you lie to the judge that Mr. X was with you at the time of the murder because you believe capital punishment to be wrong, and the case against Mr. X hinges on your testimony; that would be a “lie to save a life” and as such, wrong. If you tell the crazy gunman intent on killing everyone in the building that your part of the building is empty, you don’t know how long that bathroom’s been locked and you couldn’t find the key even if you wanted to; well you might be deceptive, but not actually lying.
      .
      2. …nor can you kill to save a life…. Actually, you can kill in defense of yourself or another innocent person or persons. No one is arguing that.
      .
      3. …nor can you do these things in defense of your country, religion or yourself…. A soldier may take lives in a just war. Under what circumstances would you lie or take a life in defense of your religion, I wonder?

    • entonces_99

      About lying to save a life, Bl. John Henry Newman observed that “The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.”

      • Dave G.

        At that point I hope we’ve all sold everything we have and given every penny to the poor.

        • Fr. Denis Lemieux

          No, because the moral law does not require that. The moral law DOES require that we do not lie, steal, torture. Understand the difference?

  • Dastardly

    Funny these same people seem to be silent regarding or support those that have no problem breaking other church rules or morals and thereby seeming to accommodate those who would like to bend/change those moral rules.

    • chezami

      Only a complete idiot or illiterate thinks I’m silent about the preferred mortal sins of the Left.

  • Katalina

    My understanding of torture is that it is condemned in the Documents of Vatican II. I forget which one but think it was Guadium et Spes. Which says murder genocide abortion euthanasia, mutilation, TORMENTS INFLICTED ON BODY OR MIND, which I think refers here to torture. It also mentions attempts to coerce the will itself, subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution the selling of women and children and dangerous working conditions.

  • IRVCath

    Even if we took Harrison’s arguments as valid, what the CIA did still falls far short of the standard. Where was the tribunal? Or the notarized records? They weren’t certainly in the field.

  • OBJ15

    Robert George re-posted a good comment from Patrick Lee on this topic. Strikes a different rhetorical tone than Mark Shea (while being entirely in agreement on the relevant moral issues).

    “I have said, along with others (for example Robert P. George) that
    torture is intrinsically evil, the end does not justify the means, and
    our enemies retain inherent human dignity that we must respect. I also
    added–as did others–that some types of treatment of prisoners are
    obviously torture, others are obviously not torture, and some types of
    treatment are such that reasonable people of good will might disagree
    whether they are torture or not. Some posts however seem to presume that
    anyone who makes such distinctions is defending torture.”

    • bosco49

      In explaining why the material under scrutiny in the Jacobellis v. Ohio case (1964) was not obscene under the Roth test, and therefore was protected speech that could not be censored, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote of pornography: “I know it when I see it”.

      I suppose that’s Mr. Shea’s take on torture. While there’s no theological definition of ‘torture’, Mr. Shea nonetheless knows it when he sees it.

      • Andy

        From USSCB
        Catholic social teaching today opposes torture in the treatment of any detained or imprisoned person. For the Church is convinced that every human person bears a God-given dignity; respect for that dignity must always be present. The Church also is careful to point out that torture is illegal, prohibited under international law.

        Pope Benedict XVI talked about this in September 2007, when he addressed an international congress of Catholic prison ministers. . . . Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners must be eschewed by public authorities, he said. Immediately he added the following statement, which incorporates a quote taken from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: The prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstances (No. 404).

        So removing dignity, demeaning another person’s dignity using physical or mental means for the purpose of confession … is how the church defines torture.

        • bosco49

          Ok, Andy, where does Church Law clearly state that every instance of “removing dignity, demeaning another person’s dignity using physical or mental means for the purpose of confession … is how the church defines torture.”

          I fear it’s a tad more nuanced than that. The Church has no problem justifying temporal punishment for sin. Unless you subscribe to the belief that God tortures men to effect satisfaction for our moral shortcomings.

          Incidentally, the Church has no problem with the use of force to repel unjust aggressors and the use of force may be applied in proportion to the threat.

          Peace.

          • Andy

            Good Morning – First bring just war and self-defense into this issue is wrong – torture has nothing to do with just war and/or self-defense. The church has no trouble justifying temporal punishment – true – the church requires a proportional response – it has in recent history moved to say that the death penalty is not a proportional response if there are other alternatives, which today we have.

            I don’t see the nuance with regard to torture – you are equating proportional punishment with torture. Punishment – penal activities require some regimentation and control.

            The purpose of prison is as Vatican Information Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI told prison chaplains that prison authorities must reject “any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners”.

            The Holy Father was speaking at the Twelfth World Congress of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care. The event has as its theme “Discovering the Face of Christ in Every Prisoner”.
            He said prisons “must contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders, facilitating their transition from despair to hope and from unreliability to dependability”.

            He put forward the prisoner’s sense of worth as the measure of success of the institution.
            “When conditions within jails and prisons are not conducive to the process of regaining a sense of a worth and accepting its related duties, these institutions fail to achieve one of their essential ends.” Again we see the need to not debase human dignity.

            It would be hard to suggest that anything that the CIA did as reported was not an insult to human dignity. AS to your question about church law – from the Catechism:

            2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizationsperformed on innocent persons are against the moral law. 91

            2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

      • chezami

        There are numerous defintions of torture: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2009/05/the-definition-game.html They are all sniffily rejected by Torture Defenders who offer nothing to replace them because they seek, not clarity, but the continuation of torture. Torture Defenders are People of the Lie, not people seeking truth or clarity.

        • bosco49

          In a rational society, “the Church” included, the burden is on the accuser to authoritatively (not emotively and imprecisely opine) reference the specific relevant definition of the sin/offence, i.e. ‘torture’, and those specific conditions necessary for the sin to have been committed.
          The burden in this instance is on those who say this that or the other unique instance is defined as ‘torture’ under Church Law.

          • chezami

            If you are too much of a moral imbecile or a liar to acknowledge that the crimes documented in the Senate Report are torture http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/12/what-torture-broke-was-us-an-examination-of-conscience-for-american-catholic-torture-defenders.html then there is no point in having a conversation.

          • Benjamin2.0

            Not to pile on to our dear host’s picturesque reply, but you do realize you’re playing the “we don’t have a clear definition” response against a “the thing in question meets every definition in every way and every degree in all of history, ever” assertion, right? This throws your intellectual honesty or rigueur into question and demands no response whatsoever beyond mere ridicule. You clearly are failing to take the subject seriously in any respect. The time average of this “””argumentative”” style” being not only the most common but the only one offered by your side of this debate causes me to reject all temptation to play devil’s advocate in this case.

            It’s too bad for you guys. I’m the best at what I do.

            *SNIKT*

            • chezami

              The legal positivist demand that every single possible form of torture be spelled out in a collossal list or “we can’t know what torture is” is BS that only gets trotted out by torture defenders desperate to lie by pettifogging. Nobody pretends that because the Church has not dogmatically defined that suction aspiration is abortion, we cannot know what abortion is. Torture Defenders have nothing but lies left. Nothing.

              • Benjamin2.0

                Indeed! The weirdest thing is that the falsehood of their lies, when demonstrated, fails to convince them of their advocacy of falsehood. They’re pathological liars. I’ve seen it so many times and with regard to so many issues that it presents itself as a profound argument against the idea of man as a rational animal. Our certainty that he is rational leads us to become angry at those who choose to be otherwise. That we’re demonstrably correct makes our anger justified. This position flows directly from undisputable logical and moral axioms. Every single modern error, when you get right down to it, is nothing more than an arbitrary choice to call a certain evil good, regardless of any demonstration to the contrary — the very essence of Original Sin. It only makes sense that every sin flows from an error, and nearly every error is a rejection of (not a failure to apply) man’s most essential natural faculty: reason.

                It kinda’ makes the years of honing one’s skills as an amateur hack moral philosopher seem like a waste of time. Getting to a point where one can disassemble the majority of modern moral sophistries only to find that they aren’t held for the sake of any perceived truth reminds me of the end of that Twilight Zone episode about the bespectacled bibliophile. “It’s not fair.”

                • chezami

                  I can understand how people new to the conversation can have confusion, question, and doubts about the matter. But what amazes me is the adamant will to lie on behalf of torture from people who consider themselves the Greatest Catholics of All Time. It’s demonic.

                  • Benjamin2.0

                    Every formal heretic knows, deep down, that he’s wrong and will not admit otherwise even to himself. It’s so mind boggling, so self-destructively contrary to human nature, it has to be demonic. I’ve learned how to argue only to find that arguments are useless. I’m tempted to take up a role as a lay exorcist. Even that’s a waste of time without willful repentance, though. All I’ve learned, for years of learning reason, philosophy, and theology, is how to laugh boisterously and mockingly in the face of the argument from evil. I suppose that’s something.

                    Consider that this whole matter is just the nature of sin. If sin is a rejection of God, and God is Truth, sin is a rejection of truth per se. A man who rejects truth to begin with will most commonly not be convinced by citing more truth. He’s being wrong deliberately. He’s exercising his illicit and fallen “knowledge” of good and evil.

                    • Benjamin2.0

                      I spotted this on that British guy’s blog. I think it serves as an appropriate final thought.

                      Who hated sin more than the saints? But they did not hate the sinners at the same time, nor condemn them. But they suffered with them, gave them remedies as sickly members, and did all they could to heal them.”

                      – St Dorotheos of Gaza

                      Some material heretics, when confronted with their heresy, repent. Others become formal heretics. “There, but for the grace of God” and all that.

  • MBinSTL

    Coming at the issue from a slightly different direction, it seems that a strong historical case can be made that torturous forms of capital punishment can have a place. See Fr. Rutler’s article in Crisis Magazine from 2013:

    Hanging Concentrates the Mind
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/hanging-concentrates-the-mind

    The main point being that “hanging, drawing and quartering” and execution with the “mazzatello” were practiced in the Papal States with the express approval of Pope Bl. Pius IX, as recently as the late 19th Century. Can that fact be used to extrapolate a justification for torture as a method of information extraction? I’m not saying it does (in fact, I don’t think so), but it does seem to imply that one cannot absolutely rule out the just imposition of physically torturous (capital) punishments by a legitimate authority.

    • Jacob Suggs

      Unless, of course, for instance, a fairly recent pope and all the current bishops says/say so. Now, Pope Benedict XVI didn’t infallibly declare torture intrinsically evil, but neither did Bl. Pius IX infallibly declare it acceptable in some cases.

      Which is to say that if you want claim that there is some wiggle room for, in an academic (read: not to be applied unless/until accepted as correct by the Church) setting, discussing the position that torture might possibly be justified in some cases, then I won’t bother to argue with you. Mainly because an argument made in such a setting will fail horribly because it’s wrong, and so – again, in such a setting – there is little problem with discussing it, except possibly that we might be wasting time.

      But when it comes to actual practice, even if the views of those in authority in the past make such discussion seem less than totally ridiculous (in the case of torture they clearly don’t, but even if they did), the fact that a Pope a long time ago can be construed to at least not have vocally opposed torture does not mean that we can torture people in this time where the Church clearly (if possibly not infallibly) says that we cannot.

      Or in other words, we have our shepherds, our bishops and our Popes, and if you think their universal teaching is wrong, then it is your job to a) try to convince them of what you think to be true and b) follow whatever they teach, even if you struggle with it, even if you fail to succeed. So long as our leaders NOW tell us that torture is immoral, the fact that past leaders seemed to be ok with it at times in the PAST does not excuse doing it NOW. It may excuse talking about it, but not doing it. Guiding us in these matters is kind of a large part of what Bishops are for, and ignoring them in practice because it might be possible to disagree with them in theory is to… kind of miss the point of the whole set up we have here.

      We all know Sola Scriptura based upon personal guestimations of what the bible means doesn’t work, and it should be clear that it works no better when it is extended to Sola Scriptura-and-select-things-from-the-past-cherry-picked-to-support-my-point-of-view. That is, in matters of practice, it doesn’t matter whether you think past use/support of torture justifies present use unless and until you bring the current leadership around to your point of view.

  • Brentle

    Not to sound naïve like so many others here……..but just how far can an interrogation go without slipping down the steep slope of “torture”?
    I find it sadly amusing that high-horse self righteous types against “enhanced interrogation”, similarly to those who oppose any use of Capital Punishment, NEVER offer a valid and realistic alternative in place of what they reject.
    Feel good about yourselves, deluded fools. When we capture the next IslamoFascist intending to bomb any city, we can feel good about ourselves that we judge proportionally his life as valuable as the millions killed when the bomb goes off, because we won’t fully interrogate the little *&%%$*
    So answer me……How far can an interrogation go before it’s TOO FAR?

    • capaxdei

      Sorry, but you do sound naive, or at least unaware that books (not to mention military manuals) have been written, by professional interrogators, on how to interrogate prisoners without torturing them. And Mark alone has responded to the “how far is too far” question, I don’t know, twenty times? Thirty?

      • chezami

        My dear Wormwood: Do remember we are there to *fuddle* the hairless bipeds. From the way some of you tempters talk, anybody would think it is our job to *teach*. Torture defense is about *lying*, not telling the truth.

      • Brentle

        didn’t answer the question. You people are either gutless, ignorant or both

        • capaxdei

          You’re right, I didn’t answer the question. I told you the question has already been answered dozens of times. If you wanted to know the answer, you could find it out.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I know of, and I have seen a video of, a difficult interrogation of a murderer where no threats or violence was used, but the suspect ended up getting mixed up in his own lies. That video has been found to be so good that it is being used to train police interrogators in Canada. I don’t have the time to go and get you the link right now, but it can be found on the cbc.ca Web site and is related to the case of some Col. Russell Williams.

    • orual’s kindred

      I have been called naïve several times. So perhaps that qualifies to me to ask about the seeming focus on the IslamoFascist combatant. If ‘going too far’ is too vague a concept to be a serious concern, why is there so little discussion about pursuing relatives, friends and others who make contact with the enemy? Is supposing that they know nothing really the shrewd thing to do? And whether to interrogate or use them only as bargaining chips, women and children tend to be useful pawns. How can feeling good about yourself be pleasant when you know you weren’t as quick and efficient as you could have been?

  • Seamrog

    I cannot understand why the editor continues to run anything by Mark Shea.

    I look at how he responds to those who do not share or reinforce his opinion and the insults he so easily throws around and I shake my head.

    We should strive for, and expect better.

    • HornOrSilk

      So why don’t you act better? While Mark does get into it, he admits he does and, unlike many, he doesn’t pretend he is superior and above it, but actually apologizes when he finds out his passion got the best of him. He is not the Pharisee looking and saying “I’m glad I don’t get angry and insult others like him,” for the Pharisee who says that needs to look closely at what they just said and did.

      I say this as one who often disagrees with Mark, and Mark often disagrees with me. I understand passion. I just don’t understand passive-aggressive attitudes which act superior to all of it while acting exactly in the same way they decry.

      • Seamrog

        My guess is the editor is just looking for clicks to keep the Adblade revenue coming in.

        Geraldo gets ratings too, but I don’t waste my time on it.

        Investing ‘passion’ in internet arguments is (not to be superior) silly.

        • HornOrSilk

          My guess is you didn’t get the point of my comment.

          • Seamrog

            Your comment was irrelevant to mine, and I ignored it.

            Sorry.

            • Benjamin2.0

              MMMbbggtthhhk!

              What?!

      • Benjamin2.0

        You’re in rare form, Mr. Silk. I’m giving you today’s high-five.

        • HornOrSilk

          Ty.

      • Dave G.

        In fairness, he apologizes – sometimes. Second, a continuing pattern of do/apologize, do/apologize is not regarded as healthy in most circles. For my money, I’m no fan of the fundamentalist street preacher shtick that has become too common in a blogosphere that often sees itself spewing contempt on the likes of fundamentalist street preachers. Just replacing a KJV with a Catechism doesn’t mean the style and form isn’t wrong in one case if it is seen as wrong with the other.

        For my part, I still see Mark make great points, and when he is writing for actual publications, he can still unpack Catholic teaching with some of the best of them. And I think Mark to be a good person overall. Why his blog has become so many things that his very blog once condemned is beyond me. I tolerate it, but will never excuse it, as I wouldn’t excuse anyone who said ‘I know it’s wrong and I keep doing it, but at least I sometimes apologize.’

        • Marthe Lépine

          The way I see it, it is probably extremely frustrating to have to keep repeating the clear teaching of the Catholic Church to people who absolutely refuse to listen and who keep coming back with all kinds of excuses, old, worn out or new, to claim that the Church is wrong and they are right. And I can see clearly how such frustration can occasionally explode in terms that would not be used in a normal discussion with honest opponents. I use the term “honest” here because the members of the fan club of torture do not act like honest debaters here. Eventually, frustration and impatience do seem to get the better of Mark – but in my opinion Mark is fully justified. If you don’t like the way he debates something that should be fully obvious to any faithful Catholic, you can go to other blogs that agree with you, since you are wasting your time trying to get Mark to accept what the Church condemns as an intrinsic evil.

          • Dave G.

            Welcome to ministry. I’m sure those street preachers who used to come to our college campuses and meet debate with insults and false accusations may have excused it in similar ways. Didn’t make for a good witness then. Except for a certain group that followed them around.

    • jroberts548

      What editor? The editor of this blog? Yes, I too am puzzled as to why the editor of Mark Shea’s blog keeps running articles by Mr. Shea.

      Are his insults too tough for you? Did he huwt youw widdel feewings? I’m amazed at people who simultaneously claim to the the only ones brave enough to take the hard stand that we should sodomize prisoners yet whine like whelps whenever someone insults them.

  • Cypressclimber

    Yesterday, I went to see “Unbroken,” the story of Louie Zamperini. It shows him as a captive of the Japanese during World War II. They beat him, made him (and other prisoners) stand at attention for long hours, once while holding a very heavy weight; they threatened to kill him at various points. They kept him in isolation for very long periods.

    All of which would be considered acceptable behavior by those who defend what happened at Gitmo. After all, the torture defenders say, our folks didn’t kill people, they didn’t do any permanent harm, and they only threatened to kill the prisoners, they didn’t actually do it.

    • Dave G.

      Not to change the subject, but was it good? I’ve been wanting to see it since I first heard of it.

    • Eric

      If you and others want to see innocent people killed, women and children, be my guest to complain.

      • JM1001

        If you and others want to see innocent people killed, women and children, be my guest to complain.

        It’s comments like this that made me give up talking about torture a long time ago.

        Let’s forget for a moment that torture is intrinsically evil, and that an intrinsically evil act can never be morally permissible, no matter what good consequences result.

        It has already been empirically proven that torture is an ineffective means of intelligence gathering. Therefore, the use of torture will make the intelligence community ineffective in carrying out its job. And a less effective intelligence community means a nation that is less safe, which then leads to more “innocent people killed, women and children.”

        (All of this is assuming, of course, that “safety” is the highest value at all, and that we should subordinate all other values to it, going so far as to commit intrinsically evil acts for its sake.)

        • Eric

          Did the Church ever practice torture itself? Yes, it’s not so easy as to say “torture is intrinsically evil” if the Catechism says this, likewise, we know we are commanded not to kill but there are times we can, in self-defense.

          In fact, saving others is being pro-life.

          • Andy

            From the Catechism:

            2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizationsperformed on innocent persons are against the moral law. 91

            2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

            Please read.

          • JM1001

            Did the Church ever practice torture itself?

            Yep. Sure did. But so what? The Church has done all sorts of awful things in its history. That doesn’t make those things any less awful, nor does it morally justify them. There have been popes, for example, who have prostituted themselves to an aristocratic family, committed murder, taken from the papal treasury for their own enrichment, or engaged in sexual acts.

            Because the Church is made up of fallen human beings, there are endless of examples of the Church, at some point in its history, doing or sanctioning evil acts. That doesn’t make those acts any less evil.

            • Dave G.

              Which is why I tend to cut some slack to mere human institutions that end up with people who do the same things. I figure if the Church can produce such things, what chance does a human institution have of doing any better?

          • chezami

            CCC 2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

            So, Eric, that excuse is gone.

            Re: your “we get to kill, so why don’t we get to torture?” reasoning: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/12/having-to-kill-vs-getting-to-kill.html

            And nobody but you and your fellow torture defenders are taking the pope’s words out of context. You have nothing left but lies. Repent.

          • JM1001

            One more thing. You say this:

            …we know we are commanded not to kill but there are times we can, in self-defense.

            In the case of self-defense against an aggressor, your intention is never the death of the aggressor, but rather to stop or neutralize the threat posed by the aggressor. This is still true, even if your attempt to stop the aggressor results in their death. Your intention is never the aggressor’s death. This helps explain why the Catechism states that the fifth commandment forbids “direct [or indirect] and intentional killing.”

            Torture, on the other hand, is evil in itself: the breaking down of the one being interrogated, physically and psychologically. This helps explain what Pope John Paul II wrote in Veritatis Splendor:

            the Church teaches that “there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object”.

            As a result of its very nature, torture can never be morally permissible. But even more than that, an interrogator using torture intends enough harm sufficient to “break down” a detainee psychologically, destroying his essential humanity.

            In fact, saving others is being pro-life.

            I couldn’t help but notice how similar this is to the argument often used by pro-choice advocates to justify abortion — namely, that abortion is moral because it ultimately “saves lives” or what have you. But even if that were true, would that make abortion morally permissible?

          • Marthe Lépine

            Do you mean that you don’t believe that any repented sinner is never entitled to later condemn his or her sins, because the fact that such sins have been committed by that person negates any credibility of such condemnation? The quote given by Andy from # 2298 of the Catechism does recognize that the Church did, at some point in the distant past, not object to practices accepted in Roman Law, and that some members of the Church applied such practices, including torture, but that the Church now recognizes that these cruel practices were wrong.

      • Andy

        And of course you know that torturing someone will lead to actual truth? But then again that is not true – so we torture person X and to get out of pain he says that the terrorists are going to “bomb” the Mall of America – security goes up there and the terrorists act somewhere else – how many lives were saved? Even though torture works for Jack Bauer – it doesn’t work in the real world.

      • chezami

        The braindead answer of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife coward.

        • Eric

          Oh, what an insult by the censorer and the person who takes the Pope’s words out of context to go on his imposition. Total joke. At least you are allowing some people’s words to stand.

          Ad Hominems is the best Mark Shea can debate with. At least we didn’t see cuss words added.

          • Andy

            From the USSCB:

            Catholic social teaching today opposes torture in the treatment of any detained or imprisoned person. For the Church is convinced that every human person bears a God-given dignity; respect for that dignity must always be present. The Church also is careful to point out that torture is illegal, prohibited under international law.

            Pope Benedict XVI talked about this in September 2007, when he addressed an international congress of Catholic prison ministers. . . . Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners must be eschewed by public authorities, he said. Immediately he added the following statement, which incorporates a quote taken from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: The prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstances (No. 404).

            From the Catechism:
            “In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture” (No. 2298). The catechism includes a compelling critique of the practice: “In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading.”

            Anotgher source:
            The first formal moral teaching on torture came from the Vatican in Pope Paul VI’s Gaudium et Spes:
            They [i.e., acts of murder, torture, kidnapping, and terrorism] poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury (27.3).

            December 2005 article in USA Todaydiscusses a press conference held by Renato Cardinal Martino, head of the Vatican’s pontifical council on peace and justice. Asked if one could torture a terror detainee to gain information about future terrorist activities, the cardinal “replied that there was no justification for using torture, which is the ‘humiliation of the human person, whoever he is. The church does not allow torture as a means to extract the truth.'”

            I could go on – however, I won’t as you seem to need to do some serious reading – what did Mark Shea take out of context?

          • jroberts548

            It’s not an ad hominem. “You’re braindead, therefore you’re wrong” is an ad hominem. “You’re braindead” is an insult. An ad hominem is a logical fallacy; an insult, is, at worst, an act of bad taste.

            For instance, it would be fallacious for me to say “You’re an idiot, and therefore Shea did not engage in an ad hominem.” The premise “you’re an idiot” isn’t connected to the conclusion. You are an idiot, and Shea didn’t make an argument ad hominem, but those two propositions are unconnected.

      • Cypressclimber

        Well, I’m a Catholic, so while “ends justify the means” thinking may be OK in your religion, it’s completely non-acceptable for Catholics.

        After all, if torture is OK if you can claim to save lives, why not do these to terrorists:

        > Rape
        > Mutilation
        > Medical experimentation

        The first two might well induce confessions even better than the current methods you defend; and the life-saving benefits of medical experimentation are obvious.

        • Thomistmuse

          The maxim of the tradition is this: “The end does not justify any means whatsoever”. To say that the end doesn’t justify the means is something different: means are for ends, so either the end is worthy of being sought or not, and either the means is proportionate to the end or not. If the end is good and the means is proportionate, then the act is licit. The argument about torture is that the means is disproportionate, and this is why clarity about the nature of torture–in what it consists–is very important.

          • chezami

            Another “How close can we get to mortal sin without quite committing it” approach. It never ends.

            • Benjamin2.0

              Yes, this abuse of “proportionate” boggles the mind. While there are acts which can be good only when proportionate (e.g. shooting a man posing an active threat to your children versus shooting a man taking too long in the checkout line), there can never be a case wherein an inherently evil act can be proportionate. When could it be good or even acceptable to brutalize a man tied to a chair, or threaten to brutalize his family? Even mobsters leave family alone. The only possible response to this jargon is a tautology: it is always wrong to do that which is always wrong; or perhaps axiomatic: pursue the good and avoid evil. Because his position is self-evidently wrong, his error can’t be logical. Therefore, logic won’t correct his error. It has to be pathological. His disordered fear of physical death by terrorists may be blocking his attaining an ordered unwillingness to perpetrate evil acts. Perhaps his pathology is something else. Either way, addressing it is beyond internet comments by mere mortals. You see this with heretics all the time. Refute all his points, and he’ll just come ’round again with the points you’ve already refuted.

          • Fr. Denis Lemieux

            Not at all. The problem with torture is that it is intrinsically evil in se – there is no ‘proportionate’ end that can justify an intrinsically evil means. Questions of proportion do not enter into this matter. Thou shalt not torture – the Church has spoken on this matter as clearly as it possibly can.

      • orual’s kindred

        Is the term ‘innocent’ here used without qualifiers? Are combatants the only assets that the enemy forces depend on? To find food and resources, the enemy will have to make contact with other people. Is it to be taken for granted that they have no knowledge of the enemy’s plans and/or whereabouts? Will no one make sure?

        As to women and children, are the enemy combatants all unmarried, with neither family nor friends? Or is the presumption now that wives, mothers, sisters and children have no idea whatsoever about the doings of their terrorist husbands, brothers and fathers? Even just holding them captive can draw the enemy out of hiding, especially if it is demonstrated what kind of treatment they can look forward to while in captivity. In fact, this would seem to work as a kind of torture as well. And again, will no one make sure that they really don’t know anything?

    • chezami

      What kind of prolife Catholic are you, Father? 😉

  • Dan13

    Just a format question: why is it Father Brian Harrison and not Fathers Charles Curran and Hans Kung (since all three are priests)?

    • chezami

      Sloppiness.

  • Balin

    I’ve been watching this discussion and have been wondering if the pro torture Catholics understand how they are seen by many outside the faith looking in, many who may actually be interested in the faith to some degree or another.

    Let’s see, homosexuality evil, torture good. We’ll let ya torture people just not have sex with them. And if ya do do anything sexual with people make sure it’s torture otherwise it’s an intrinsic evil.

    Ya been remarried? Better stay away from communion. Ever torture an innocent person to death? Hey, shit happens, come on down.

    Masturbate between games of world of warcraft? How dare you. You’d been better off torturing people.

    The average person is being told that their sins/disorders are worse than torturing people. Is this really how you want to be seen?

    Do you really want to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Torturers? This is how you’re being seen. The Church has a tough enough time having her teachings taken seriously without also having to be the defender of torture.

    I challenge every pro torture Catholic to go up to a homosexual couple and tell them to their faces that they are worse than he who tortures innocent people to death. I challenge every pro torture Catholic to go up to any pimply faced kid with an over active libido and right hand and tell him/her that his/her behavior is intrinsically evil while torture can and will be explained away, defended, justified and promoted. Don’t be surprised if they want to torture you.

    • jroberts548

      I think we all know it only counts as sodomy when it’s between two consenting adults, but not when being done to foreigners against their will. That’s what’s in Genesis, right?

      But seriously, these pro-torture “Catholics” aren’t just pro-torture. They are sodomites. We should call them that. They are pro-torture sodomites.

    • chezami

      Balin: It’s very true that God’s name is blasphemed because of torture defenders. But, of course, do bear in mind that torture defenders speak *against* the Church’s bloody obvious teaching and are therefore no excuse for rejecting the Church. And not all of us buy their lies.

      • Balin

        I’m not sure I understand. I simply asked pro torture Catholics if they
        can see how they look to others outside the Church looking in. I asked
        if they can see the stumbling block they are. I make no mention of
        excuses for rejecting the Church or about buying into lies etc. I
        simply asked if they can see how difficult they make things by there
        stance. And if they can’t I suggested that they go out and practice
        what they preach and see what happens. Maybe then they will see that
        they should change their minds.

        • chezami

          And I agree with you completely. The witness of Torture Defending Catholic is appalling and present one of the ugliest faces American Catholicism has ever presented to the world. It is an absolute scandal and I am appalled by it. My only point is that, as Newman says, ten thousand difficulties don’t amount to an actual doubt. The fact that Catholics behave like craven cowards and lie through their teeth to save their miserable skins does not alter the truth of Jesus Christ at all. It simply highlights the fact that we are indeed sinners in need of saving.

      • petey

        “torture defenders speak *against* the Church’s bloody obvious teaching and are therefore no excuse for rejecting the Church”

        true, but that sets a high standard. these are some (and not a few) of the people you’ll be hanging with if you enter. it is not contemptible that the tenor of your potential co-religionists would be taken into consideration by someone interested.

        “And not all of us buy their lies.”

        indeed we don’t, but what does it say about the Roman church to an interested party that we need to have this discussion at all? the catechism is clear, the popes have been clear, so what is it the allurement that causes catholics, some very public catholics, to adhere to violent posturing? please don’t say “Satan.” (i’m not forgetting the likes of Catholics for Choice btw though they’re a good deal less strident.)

    • Thomistmuse

      It is fairly clear what the Church means by sodomy and why–both in terms of sources (scripture, tradition) and in terms of moral analysis (sodomy is disordered with respect to the divinely ordained purpose of the generative powers)–it is taught to be wrong. “Torture” is viewed by some very widely, and by others very narrowly, and so there is a definitional problem from the start that is more difficult. But I have yet to meet anyone who simply “defends” torture as a genus. But: does prison count as torture? Solitary confinement? Short rations? Is a murderer who is sleep-deprived in the effort to put him off guard in interrogations to identify murderous plots in motion being “tortured”? A term that covers everything from what was done in Algeria to what occurs in prisons as such needs to be clarified rather than simply hurled around.

      • HornOrSilk

        Actually, what sodomy is, is not so clear when you study the tradition, nor is it clear in the Bible. Many people are raised, today, to consider it only one thing, but what they think of sodomy is actually much less than tradition thought (St Peter Damien puts forward many types of sodomy, for example, not just one). And Scripture really doesn’t define the English term of “Sodomy,” and indeed, if you look in Scripture, the “Sin of Sodom” is many things including lack of charity (which one would say is what torture is.. funny that..).

      • jroberts548

        What the torturers did was sodomy. They anally raped detainees with hummus. That’s sodomy.

      • chezami

        “How much abuse can we heap on somebody before it tiptoes over the line of torture?” is a corrupt question. Just treat prisoners the way we did before 9/11. It’s only complicated because torture defenders are seeking to rationalize torture. Stop being stupidclever.

  • Roland

    Mark Shea is a moron and bully, with all of his name calling, cussing and so forth, since his position is such BS.

    • chezami

      God bless you, Roland.

    • W. Randolph Steele

      I frequently disagree with Mark Shea. However, he is NOT a moron or bully. Nor is his position BS. If ya can’t stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen.

    • Benjamin2.0

      Sometimes, when I hear a valid conclusion I don’t want to hear, I fixate on all the niggling little things, and tug at them, not accepting the dreaded conclusion on the basis of minor, well-accredited insults (which may or may not be in bad taste) and bachelor of science degrees (which, these days, often are).

      You don’t have to be like me, though. You can be better. Take life by its more sensitive appendages and pull it to the ground, beating it about the head with an improvised sap. Don’t give in to the strange passions which drive us to ignore obvious truths for the sake of our cowardly self interest. Sure, it feels good to hit people tied to chairs, but you do yourself more harm than you do them, believe it or not. That taint even translates to those who farm the business out. That’s what whiny foppish jerks do. Nobody needs the help of jerks. Nobody wants the help of jerks. “Salvation by any means necessary” is the surest road to damnation. A real man stares evil in the face, refusing to submit even at the cost of his life. A nation which will sacrifice principle to defend itself is unworthy of defense. Stand up. Be a man. That’s the only way we can come to know anything.

      And knowing, as they say, is half the battle.

      The other half is calling torturers whiny foppish jerks. One part logic, another part rhetoric. To reject the latter for not being the former in the presence of both is just dumb. That’s why I rarely type these things after hitting the sauce. I advise you adopt this tactic. Friends don’t let friends post drunk.

    • jroberts548

      How dare this moron and bully engage in name-calling! What sort of moron and bully calls people names? AD HOMINEM!!!!!!11!!1!1!

      • chezami

        One of the most hilarious features of Torture Defender rhetoric is the complete lack of irony as the Defender cries out “O the humanity! All I did was defend ramming hummus up a man’s butt and freezing him to death and now I’m being called a fiend! *Sob*! Ad…. hominem! The emotional pain! So… intense! Boo hoo hoo!” Torture defenders are thin-skinned cowards who would not last 10 second under the horrors they would have others inflict on their behalf.

    • petey

      i see what you did there.

  • Thomistmuse

    The difficulty with torture is definitional: there is an element of torment in all grave penalties. Solitary confinement; or confinement at all; separation from loved ones; banishment–all have elements of torment. The same is true of the death penalty, which has never been identified as a malum in se and which still is not (indeed, it would be hard to do so, given the teaching of the Fathers and Doctors, and of many popes, expressly on the subject–e.g., Pius XII, who defined the validity of the death penalty as true for all cultures–not, one notes, necessarily prudent for all, but valid). So is there any case where a penalty could be applied for a prior crime, whose medicinal effect would be to make more information available to prevent terrorist acts? Pretty clearly the torture practiced, say, in Algeria (where death was a foregone conclusion), is ruled out by way of its systematic degradation of the person. But what about penalties for crime from which people walk away without permanent biological harm (psychological harm accrues to things like prison sentences, too)? There is a great wish to condemn, say, water-boarding. Perhaps it should be condemned. But identifying precisely what is condemned as “torture” and why requires much more careful thought than Shea seems to realize…

    • HornOrSilk

      The problem of being definitional is the definition of definitional…

    • Benjamin2.0

      While I’ve seen the question of whether these things are torture done well, I’ve never seen effective denial of the wrongness of the “”interrogation” tactics.” The perpetrators would be condemned by any federal or international body’s rulings on the matter. The acts clearly differ from only the most rigorist definition of torture by degree rather than kind. Such behaviors are therefore legally and morally criminal and are clearly so to all who seriously approach the question. Furthermore, the inclusion of jail time and the death penalty in your questions draws a moral equivalence which tugs at the contents of my, and perhaps many others’, stomach. You seem to be trying to establish a torture spectrum which begins at ordinary jail time and ends at Algeria, as though nowhere exists a difference in kind along your timeline of increasing punishment. If your picking at the nits of the definition of torture manages to disgust any and all hearers, this is why.

      That’s the serious, respectful response. Here’s my sarcastic one:

      The difficulty with condemning Dachau is definitional: there is an element of torment in all grave penalties. Solitary confinement; or confinement at all; separation from loved ones; banishment–all have elements of torment. The same is true of the death penalty, which has never been identified as a malum in se and which still is not.

      The blurring of distinctions in order to whitewash a clearly evil behavior is a sickening sight to those of us with souls. Don’t blur distinctions, especially these kinds of distinctions. People will deposit partially digested materials all over your shirt — especially if you focus on psychological consequences rather than the wrongness of the particular act, using the epidemiologist’s fallacy rather than measuring the thing actually in question. That’s how wild dogs and jackals argue. Such sophistries are so unreasonable, no reasoned response is sufficient. This is why I never debate with wild dogs and jackals.

    • chezami

      The difficulty with torture is that Torture Defenders routinely pretend to seek a definition but reject all definitions offer and supply none of their own since they seek to justify, not avoid torture. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2009/05/the-definition-game.html

  • Jcar

    There is no question about whether to or not torture, The big question these days is knowing exactly what is torture. There are fine lines between some forms of harsh interrogation and torture. For example in water boarding. The person being water boarded is not dying or even being phtsically hurt, but in their minds they think they are. Is this torture? Okay, this may be an extreme example. What about putting an empty gun to a person’s head and telling him that if he doesn’t tell you where the bomb is located he will die. Or that his family will die, while in actuality they are being well cared for. These are the big legal questions that must be answered. To torture or not? That is a hands down type of question. To answer honestly how far can a law abiding catholic can go to get life saving information from a known terrorist or criminal? That is tough.

    • capaxdei

      “To answer honestly how far can a law abiding catholic can go to get life
      saving information from a known terrorist or criminal? That is tough.”

      “Tough”? Why, it’s downright diabolical.

      People are constantly asking for clarity on “how far” an interrogator may go. They rarely ask for clarity on the “from what” the interrogator is going.

      • Benjamin2.0

        Ha! A citation of the failure or unwillingness of Liberal ideology to identify the nature of the good it claims to pursue! Legality is subject to morality rather than the converse!

        You’re getting the first high-five of the new year.

    • jroberts548

      “But what is torture? Can we rape people with hummus? Who knows?! ¯_(ツ)_/¯”

    • chezami

      “The person being water boarded is not dying or even being phtsically hurt, but in their minds they think they are. Is this torture?”

      An excellent defense of rape.

      That “prolife” Catholics should come to this. Repent.

    • Cypressclimber

      In all charity…

      What part of “do unto others…” is unclear?

      Or, “whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to ____?”

      Fill in the blank and reflect.

      • Marthe Lépine

        And there is also “Love thy enemy…”

      • Andy

        There is also love your bother as yourself for the love of Me.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      I came up with a really easy way to determine what is and isn’t torture. All it requires is someone being honest with themselves. If someone were doing this to my children, to my spouse, to my siblings or parents, would I hesitate all to call it torture? If waterboarding my mother is torture, then waterboarding any human is torture.

  • Marthe Lépine

    From the hundreds of comments, here and elsewhere, about this perfectly clear thorny issue of torture, I get the impression that some people have the unfortunate tendency to consider, or claim that, the enemies in this particular case are less than human, therefore anything can be inflicted on them. But, as Catholics, we have to recognize that each and every human person has been created in the image and likeness of God. Maybe some of them appear to be stuck in the “bronze age”, but they still have the right to be treated humanely. And, I wonder… When we see the Gospel quote of “anything you do for the littlest among my children”, we tend to assume that it means the poor, or the physically very small unborn children, or kids in general. But could it possibly also include the people who are spiritually and culturally less advanced than we think we are? Could it be that people who practice another religion and have been deluded by such ideas that it is honouring Allah to kill infidels in his name, are also included among the smallest of God’s children because of their spiritual ignorance and poverty? In addition, Jesus did say clearly that we should love our enemies and do good to those who hate or hurt us, and from that it should be clear that torturing them is certainly not “doing them good”…

  • Marthe Lépine

    I was just reading the January issue of Christian Democracy until a few minutes ago, and it contains an excellent article on the subject of torture. I would recommend that you check it out.

  • Thomas

    Lots of energy spent on the relatively few that have been waterboarded. How about spending some time addressing the multitudes of chreaster catholics that receive our Lord sacrilegiously at Christmas. Crickets…