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Via Media


Good Job

posted by awelborn

According to this poll, Catholics approve of torture in higher proportion than the general public does.

“This may be a reaction to 9/11, the horrible loss of life and the atrocities of those acting in the name of Islam,” says Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., member of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy. “Some people feel the situation is out of control. They feel a vulnerability and a temptation to respond in kind. We have to resist that.”

A survey by the Pew Research Center in October showed that 15 percent of Americans believe torture is “often” justified, and another 31 percent believe it is “sometimes” justified. Add to that another 17 percent who said it is “rarely” justified, and you have two out of three Americans justifying torture under certain circumstances. Only 32 percent said it is “never” justified, while another 5 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

But the portion of Catholics who justify torture is even higher, according to the survey. Twenty-one percent of Catholics surveyed said it is “often” justified and 35 percent said it is “sometimes” justified. Another 16 percent said it is “rarely” justified, meaning that nearly three of four Catholics justify it under some circumstances. Four percent of Catholics “didn’t know” or refused to answer and only 26 percent said it is “never” justified, which is the official teaching of the church.

(Whatever "Catholic" means in this survey – self-identified, practicing, weekly Mass-goers. Not evident from the data).

Distressing. And, one is tempted to say in regard to the Church’s catechetical efforts, the same thing that one wag rhetorically remarked to Woody Allen’s longtime psychotherapist after he married his adopted daughter: "Good job!"

But, my cycnical self says – this survey trumpeted in NCR(eporter) with the implication being that there is a failure here – a failure to communicate the teachings of the Church.

However, when NCR(eporter) does surveys that suggest that large proportions of American Catholics, have, shall we say, a "nuanced" view of abortion, the implied conclusion in those reports is not that the Church has failed to teach and support those truths, but that the Church needs to catch up with the sensus fidelium and get with the program and be where the people are.

Funny how that works.

(And, to be fair, the other "side" does it as well, particularly in regard to, say, economic issues.)



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Chris-2-4

posted March 23, 2006 at 1:40 pm


What economic issues are so finely incorporated into doctrine that policy differences become dissent?



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Todd

posted March 23, 2006 at 1:49 pm


I suspect there are varied voices writing within the NCR orbit with somewhat different takes on any number of issues. I have to say I’ve not read into the NCR in general any broad support for the pro-choice view. Their emphasis might differ from writer to writer, but I would say the general sense is that there are questions of policy, not the moral teaching of the right-to-life.
The glaring “failure” in catechesis has been fairly constant in Church history since perhaps 313, and maybe from the very beginning: some people just don’t get it. And their perceived lack of loyalty or poor grasp of theology isn’t a particular roadblock (for the most part) to being “members in good standing.”
When catechists (bishops, teachers, parents, whomever) approach their task with information to be dispensed, then yes: some people aren’t going to get it, others will reject it, and some will be faithful. Until these catechists move past the imparting of information and can formulate tools for people to make informed moral decisions, we’re going to continue a legacy that stretches back centuries.



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vox climantis

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:02 pm


“Until these catechists move past the imparting of information and can formulate tools for people to make informed moral decisions, we’re going to continue a legacy that stretches back centuries.”
Two things. First, not much reliable information (i.e., Truth) has been widely, clearly or consistently imparted in three or four generations. Second, satisfactory “tools”–I suppose this means critical thinking and prayerful discernment–will not be created ex nihilio; Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium are the true guides, but these guides must suffuse everything we do as living, breathing Catholics.
That said, I have high hopes for the Compendium of the CCC.



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Simon

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:13 pm


Honestly, I’m not sure what, when, or how the Church should have been catechizing the faithful about the morality of “torture” (especially since the serious debate is over what constitutes torture, not whether torture is okay).
Absent a special emphasis on torture in, say, Sunday homilies (which I certainly would view as a misplaced priority), and given that a majority of nominal Catholics don’t actively participate in the life of the Church anyway, why should the torture views of self-identified “Catholics” differ significantly from those of the public at large? And despite the lede here, the poll indicates that they really do not significantly differ.



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Mike Petrik

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:15 pm


As to torture I am not that surprised. First I suspect that those who regard torture as sometimes morally permissable have a pretty narrow understanding of the facts that would allow such behavior — indeed probably facts that are far more common on TV (read “24″) than in real life. Second, the notion that torture is morally impermissable in the context of these types of rare situations is not morally intuitive, but must be acquired by virtue of careful (some might even say “tortured” reasoning) or simply obedience to the Magisterium, the contents of which is of course poorly understood by most Catholics and irrelevant to many.
I agree that catechesis is in poor repair and that has probably been chronically so through the ages. But the abandonment of the Baltimore Catechism in the US did render the situation especially awful, and it remains to be seen to what extent the CCC will remedy the situation. The Baltimore Catechism was designed to be a teaching text (imperfect and incomplete to be sure, but true and effective nonetheless), whereas the CCC (which is certainly more comprehensive) is designed to be a reference tool, thereby somewhat limiting its effectiveness in catechesis in my view.



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:26 pm


I think it comes down to a basic failure to explain church teaching in a consistent manner. Catholics need to understand the entire social teaching, how it all weaves together, why the dignity of the individual and the rejection of consequentialism underpins everything. If you pick off one or two teachings, you run the risk of aligning yourself too closely with a certain political ideology. Both sides are guilty of this (though the right really ratcheted up the rhetoric over the past few years). Both sides elevate their own issues to “principle” and downgrade others to “prudence”. Convenient. This survey shows me very clearly that the cafeteria is wide open, and the doorway on the right hand side is heavily traversed these days.



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TSO

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:31 pm


The survey results aren’t too surprising given that obedience isn’t our strong suit. The flouting of Humane Vitae comes to mind, and acceptance of the Real Presence in the Eucharist isn’t as high as it could be. One thing I didn’t learn in my 1970s-era catechisis was that you couldn’t do evil in order to accomplish good. I can see how a misguided person might think that torturing one person in order to save thousands of human lives would be permissable; it’s far harder to abortion permissable since an abortion never saves lives. As for secular types being against torture, it’s too bad President Bush can’t suddenly turn pro-choice – one can imagine the mad dash of progressives into the pro-life camp. (I kid. :-)



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Gregg the obscure

posted March 23, 2006 at 2:39 pm


Torture is a serious sin against life. That being said, how many Catholics actually engage in torture on a daily basis?
How does this compare to the number of Catholics that have abortions? That use abortifacient contraception? That make ill-informed decisions regarding euthanasia? That endanger the lives of others by reckless driving? Even that perpetrate child abuse?
Should we not focus energies on the most frequent wrongs than on the ones we find most outrageous?



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tk

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:12 pm


well, in the days when most catholics attended elementary schools run by Sisters, this would not have been so unusual – already conditioned that way, ya know?
But with today’s catholics, thats surprising.



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Nick

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:24 pm


Two thoughts come immediately to mind.
First, is it fair to say that within the demographic of Americans who identify themselves as Catholic, there are two groups (among others) that could identify themselves as “Americans who happen to be Catholic” and “Liberals/progressives who happen to be Catholic”?
The former group’s thinking is filtered through an American realpolitik lens that condones/supports torture and capital punishment.
The latter group’s thinking is filtered through a worldly, secular relativism that is reluctant to call out evil because it might offend the international community.
Not trying to be scientific, just wandering.
The second thing that comes to mind is just what constitutes torture? Is it playing loud rock music? Is it yelling and screaming. Threats of physical harm? Physical discomfort? Threats of any kind?
Or is it sexual humiliation/degradation? Violence? Chinese water torture?
I suspect that one person’s definition of torture will much different than the next.
Anyone here ever watch NYPD Blue? Do you think Detective Sipowicz’s interrogation methods were torture? Again, just wandering.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:29 pm


Their emphasis might differ from writer to writer, but I would say the general sense is that there are questions of policy, not the moral teaching of the right-to-life.
Policy questions are part of the moral teaching of the right to life. Catholics are called upon to outlaw abortion, as “the inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority.” (CCC 2273)
Until these catechists move past the imparting of information and can formulate tools for people to make informed moral decisions, we’re going to continue a legacy that stretches back centuries.
The Church teaches that torture is gravely immoral. Yet I suspect most Catholics who responded to the poll never gave Church teaching a second thought. More than likely, either the information wasn’t dispensed or after thirty years of lectures by parish catechists over absurdities like fair trade coffee, they simply have tuned the Church out.
Moreover, on the salient issues of the day, e.g., contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and now torture, the only “tool” informed Catholics need is the ability to say “no.”



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:31 pm


Both sides elevate their own issues to “principle” and downgrade others to “prudence”. Convenient.
Cite examples.



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Caroline

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:52 pm


For centuries we have taught Catholics that most of them immediately after death can expect to be tortured in an inconcievable and non bodily way in Purgatory until they have suffered enough to pay in the currency of pain for all their sins and imperfections. We call it being purified but the imagery is always one of being tortured. And any suffering here on earth can deduct from the bill in the hereafter. Torture is part of popular Catholicism. Novembers are built around it. What is there to be surprised about here?



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 3:53 pm


One thing I didn’t learn in my 1970s-era catechisis was that you couldn’t do evil in order to accomplish good.
From my experience, this teaching is news to most Catholics simply because it isn’t taught.
God Bless



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:15 pm


One last thing, lest anyone thing I merely fisked Todd. This observation — some people just don’t get it — is spot on.
During the runup to Terri Schiavo’s state-sanctioned murder, I recall discussing Church teaching at length with a Catholic doctor who lives in my neighborhood. He was utterly contemptuous that it would or should play any role in public discourse. Of course he now is in the process of “discerning” which parish ministry to join this Spring. There is little risk that a subject like euthanasia will be brought up to trouble him.



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:15 pm


Cite examples? Oh that’s simple. Abortion, same-sex marriage, stem cells versus death penalty, poverty, just war.



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Mrs. Nash

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:23 pm


I guess this is what happens when you have people who watch Fox News far more then they read the Bible.
Sadly its not just the Catholics but Evangelicals too.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:23 pm


Abortion, same-sex marriage, (embryonic) stem cells
Subjects which permit no discretion or prudential decision-making
death penalty, poverty, just war
Subjects which do



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Sr Lorraine

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:36 pm


Caroline, I really doubt that the Catholics in the survey who said they approve of torture are even remotely familiar with Church teaching on purgatory.



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Tony

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:45 pm


I think a huge problem is what the MSM has redefined “torture” to mean. Is torture:
o Breaking someone bones?
o Embarassing them?
o Making them stay awake?
o Touching their Koran?
o Feeding them the wrong food?
o Pulling out their fingernails?
o Tickling them with a feather?
o Stripping their skin off from nape to heel.
Define “torture” and I’ll tell you whether I’m for it or against it.



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:53 pm


Thank you, Rich, you are the poster boy for what’s wrong on the Catholic right! I would note that rigidity is not to be equated with orthodoxy.
On your point, note that while abortion is an intrinsic evil, how to deal with it legally and politically entails prudential issues, including: would a repeal of Roe v. Wade lead to a reduction in abortions? Should we focus more on economic incentives? Conversely, the matters you dismiss so readily (just war, capital punishment, poverty and other social issues) touch on the principle of life in a way that one should not dismiss all arguments as mere prudential judgements. Of course, one can be a faithful Catholic and take different positions of these kinds of issues, but there is still a set of core values underpinning Catholic social teaching that should guide us all. For some, I fear, they use adherance to a seculer ideology to guide their beliefs on these matters, and conveniently dismiss church teachings as mere “prudential judgement”.
It may sound like a broken record, but we need the consistent ethic of life, the seamless garment. There’s a reason Gaudium Et Spes tied it all toegther.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 23, 2006 at 4:53 pm


This doesn’t surprise me at all. There is a longing for security in our culture and the fact exists that religion often comes into play during those times of transition.
Anything that gives people the security that they or their loved ones won’t be harmed will probably be overwhelmingly favored in any survey. Expect to see this trickle into other surveys as well.



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Adam

posted March 23, 2006 at 5:08 pm


Caroline++



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Adam

posted March 23, 2006 at 5:17 pm


During the runup to Terri Schiavo’s state-sanctioned murder
Incorrect, as a matter of fact. This was state-sanctioned suicide.
Ignorance always irritates.



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Joe

posted March 23, 2006 at 5:22 pm


I used the Baltimore Catechism in grade school too many years ago, and I own a hardbound CCC. Both of these references have content that is formulaic, definitional, and rule-bound. For many of us who have perused these publications, we have found them to be — quite simply — boring. For catechesis to be worthwhile, I suspect it must involve discussion (at age-appropriate levels) of how Jesus’ teachings might be applied to current issues, whether putting bubble gum in the hair of the girl who sits in front of you in class or torturing someone who quite possibly has valuable information that, if used, can save hundreds or thousands of lives. We need to go back to the sources of Judeo-Christian morality found in the Old and New Testaments, especially the teachings of Jesus.
I like the insights on torture vis-a-vis its influence (purgatory, etc.) in the history of the Church. “Punishment” certainly helps explain our traditional warped notions of a vengeful God who keeps tabs on our lapses and wrongdoing. Others (including JPII) have stated that hell is not a place as understood in the conventional meaning of the word but, rather, is a state of mind that prompts us to seek and obtain God’s forgiveness: we consign ourselves to hell but know that God is ready to forgive us in a heartbeat if only we ask.
I am not against official teaching subsequent to the gospels, but it needs to be dynamic and engaging in both text and word.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 5:38 pm


Thank you, Rich, you are the poster boy for what’s wrong on the Catholic right!
Facts are stubborn things, Tony. Your problem is with Catholicism and its moral vocabulary, not me.
Incorrect, as a matter of fact. This was state-sanctioned suicide.
Nonsense, as a matter of course. You’re willing to call a woman’s off-hand comment over a bowl of popcorn a decision to commit suicide?



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Kevin Miller

posted March 23, 2006 at 5:50 pm


There are, unfortunately, Catholics on the “right” who not only agree with the Church that prudential judgments are involved in decisions about whether to use the death penalty or to go to war, but also dissent from the principles the Church’s Magisterium has said need to be the basis for those judgments (e.g., that the death penalty is permitted only when it’s the only way to protect society from future crimes by the convict; that war must be defensive).
As for the very first comment above – I would say that there are some doctrines regarding economic morality. For instance, it’s been the very clear and consistent teaching of popes for 100+ years that just because an employee agrees to a wage, it doesn’t automatically follow that the wage is just, that the employer’s offer of that wage rather than a higher one was morally acceptable. There are some people who’ll dissent from that. (One could also say, though, that the principle of subsidiarity is a matter of doctrine, and some of the Catholic “left’s” arguments for a welfare state probably amount to dissent from that.)



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:01 pm


The results are based, as many have said here, on the lack of a definition of torture. Some may have in mind an iron maiden, others may think psychological pressure is or is not torture. If one looks at the Catechism, one may well have to close down every police interrogation room – it prohibits ‘frightening people’ – if you take the Catechism in an ACLU mindset, anything that’s not tickle a prisoner’s fancy is torture.
“CCC 2297. 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.”
What IS moral violence ? And why should one not frighten a prisoner if innocent lives are on the line? Certainly ‘satisfying hatred’ is wrong – but ‘frightening opponents’ ? What’s that? Sure you can construe it this way ‘don’t use physical violence to frighten opponents’ but you can’t use ‘moral violence’ to frighten opponents? That sure sounds very nice, but good luck fighting a war that way. You shouldn’t do horrible things to a prisoner but doesn’t it make sense to have him think you will?



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Mike Petrik

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:01 pm


“I used the Baltimore Catechism in grade school too many years ago, and I own a hardbound CCC. Both of these references have content that is formulaic, definitional, and rule-bound.”
I’m afraid, Joe, that this is how knowledge is rationalized and expressed in understandable form.
“For many of us who have perused these publications, we have found them to be — quite simply — boring.”
I suppose morally parsing vignettes may be fun, but one must apply rules to facts in order for instruction to occur. We have spent the last 40 years avoiding rules in an effort to avoid boring anybody. The result is that we have several generations of Catholics who know little or nothing about their faith. Of course, we have several generations of Americans who cannot write, cypher, or tell you whether Wyoming is a city, state or country either. But the reason is precisely the same — we have substituted “teaching how to think” for actually imparting knowledge. The result is millions of Americans with strong opinions unencumbered by relevant knowledge.
“Others (including JPII) have stated that hell is not a place as understood in the conventional meaning of the word but, rather, is a state of mind that prompts us to seek and obtain God’s forgiveness: we consign ourselves to hell but know that God is ready to forgive us in a heartbeat if only we ask.”
While Catholic teaching has never identified Hell as necessarily a physical place, we have always believed that consignment to Hell is permanent. To the extent you are suggesting that JPII taught or suggested otherwise, I think you are mistaken.
“We need to go back to the sources of Judeo-Christian morality found in the Old and New Testaments, especially the teachings of Jesus.”
Joe, you do realize that Christ established the Church before the Church determined the canonical composition of the Bible. Morality is discerned not just from earnest efforts at reading the Gospels, but via Tradition that includes serious exegesis of Scripture as well as the extra-Scriptural application of reason to the human condition.



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:02 pm


On the contrary, Rich, I have you an argument based on Catholic moral philosophy, and you chose not to respond.



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Rich Leonardi

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:13 pm


but also dissent from the principles the Church’s Magisterium has said need to be the basis for those judgments e.g., that the death penalty is permitted only when it’s the only way to protect society from future crimes by the convict …
Right. Like that notorious dissenter Cardinal Avery Dulles.
On the contrary, Rich, I have you an argument based on Catholic moral philosophy, and you chose not to respond.
Verbose speculation isn’t an argument.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:43 pm


There you have it Rich.
From Gerald Augustinus at Mar 23, 2006 6:01:26 PM.
Open dissent from the Catechism.
No wonder the appalling results in the Pew Survey !
God Bless



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 6:53 pm


Verbose I may be. But catholic moral philosophy is not mere speculation, my friend.



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:03 pm


Oh please, can the high and mighty, Chris Sullivan. It’s a question of definition – what constitutes moral violence? what constitutes frightening. By some interpretations, every police interrogation in America would be against the Catechism.



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:10 pm


I’m against physical torture – but psychological means are a different story – and that’s a matter of definition. Is anything that is not pleasant against the Catechism?



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Tony A

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:22 pm


Gaudium Et Spes (27):
“Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every individual, without exception, and to take positive steps to help a neighbor whom we encounter, whether that neighbor be an elderly person abandoned by everyone, a foreign worker who suffers the injustice of being despised, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin of which the child is innocent, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers or sisters, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
The varieties of crime are numerous: all offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide; all violations of the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures; all offenses against human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, degrading working conditions where people are treated as mere tools for profit rather than free and responsible persons: all these and the like are criminal: they poison civilization; and they debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the creator.”
This wonderful passage gives us two great lessons for the topical issues of today. First, torture is a violations of the integrity of the human person, and is right up there next to genocide, abortion, and euthanasia. And note, Gerald Augustinus, the prohibition on “mental torture” and “undue psychological pressures”.
Second, the caution that we must care for the “foreign worker who suffers the injustice of being despised” tells us that we should support Cardinal Mahony and the USCCB on the immigration issue. For Catholics, “neighbor” does not just mean fellow citizen. It means everybody.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:49 pm


It’s a question of definition
CCC 2297 clearly defines torture. It is that which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred.
Gerald has it right – if you use moral or physical violence to frighten people then it’s torture in the eyes of the Church and it’s intrinsically evil.
what constitutes frightening ?
I would have thought that is pretty obvious – when the person being frightened feels frightened.
By some interpretations, every police interrogation in America would be against the Catechism.
So what’s the conclusion ?
The Catechism has to change to reflect the brutality of the American police system ?
Or the brutality of the American police system has to change to match the teaching of Christ’s Church ?
God Bless



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:53 pm


what is mental torture, what is undue psychological pressure ? If a terror attack is immanent, and you interrogate the guy in a tough way, is that not due? If a guy buried alive a girl, can you not use impolite interrogation technicques? I’m afraid it’s impossible to make general rules on psychological issues. It’s probably pointless to even discuss the matter since we may in fact agree without knowing it :)
As far as immigration goes – I think the USCCB got it right.



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Apostate

posted March 23, 2006 at 7:59 pm


CCC 2264 – Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.
So the Church says it’s okay to kill someone in self-defense; just don’t scare him too much. ????
Maybe the disagreement is not about what the definition of torture is; it’s about the definition of self-defense. Clearly, if someone is about to kill me or my neighbor, it should be morally licit that I repel that attempt with appropriate force, no?
Is the problem with torture, then, that it typically involves too much distance between the attempted murder and the act of self-defense? Fair enough; but that’s a gray area for sure.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:06 pm


If a terror attack is immanent, and you interrogate the guy in a tough way, is that not due?
You can be tough, but you can’t use physical or moral violence. A threat is moral violence.
If a guy buried alive a girl, can you not use impolite interrogation technicques?
You can be impolite, but you can’t use physical or moral violence.
I’m afraid it’s impossible to make general rules on psychological issues.
The Catechism lays out the general principles. It’s up to individual conscience informed by the Church to decide exactly where to draw the line and that’s where good Catholics can and do differ in good faith.
Where we ought not differ is on the broad principles the Church lays down.
God Bless



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:07 pm


Chris Sullivan
“what constitutes frightening ?
I would have thought that is pretty obvious – when the person being frightened feels frightened.”
Isn’t anyone who gets arrested frightened ? Should we snuggle them so they are less scared? I think your interpretation is a bit too high and mighty for the real world.
“Boy, you’re going away for a LONG time” – that’s frightening, no? Is that immoral, too ?



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:14 pm


So the Church says it’s okay to kill someone in self-defense; just don’t scare him too much. ????
You can kill, but only if forced to, in self defense because the good being defended is one’s own life.
One may not torture because the good being defended isn’t one’s own life but to “extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred”.
One can’t equate one’s own life with extracting confessions, punishing, or frightening.
And note, one may only kill in self defense if forced to. One is never forced to torture. One chooses to torture. The moral acts are entirely different.
Clearly, if someone is about to kill me or my neighbor, it should be morally licit that I repel that attempt with appropriate force, no?
OK. But torture is never appropriate force because it doesn’t secure the desired end, which is to save life. There is a difference between using “force” to defend life and using “violence”. Violence is never acceptable. Force can be under strict conditions.
God Bless



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:17 pm


Isn’t anyone who gets arrested frightened ?
Read the first part of CCC 2297.
What is proscribed is the use of “physical or moral violence” to “frighten opponents” etc.
Everything that frightens is not proscribed. Only physical or moral violence which is intended to frighten etc.
Hope this helps.
God Bless



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:20 pm


what is moral violence ?



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Gerald Augustinus

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:24 pm


Surely you will allow that people’s definitions of torture can vary within certain limits.



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Eileen R

posted March 23, 2006 at 8:29 pm


Torture is a serious sin against life. That being said, how many Catholics actually engage in torture on a daily basis?
Well, theoretically we vote for the people making those decisisons.
Which isn’t to claim that American Catholics have been voting for torturers, but it *is* kind of important that they understand torture is wrong.



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Scherza

posted March 23, 2006 at 11:16 pm


On the immigration issue — what the good cardinal and others have (to my knowledge of the situation) failed to take into account is that if we provide material support for illegal immigrants, we also indirectly support the truly despicable characters who make their money off of ferrying poor desperate souls across the border.
Ought I, as a good neighbor and sister in Christ, encourage my fellow human beings to sell themselves in indenture, to submit to dangerous treatment, to risk life and limb crossing inhospitable territory, enticed on by the promise of aid and succor if and when they arrive? I fear greatly that by offering such aid and engaging in such civil disobedience, we are keeping the coyotes who prey on these people in business, and that strikes hard against my conviction that the ends do not justify the means — no good comes from supporting evil.
Also, in justice and fairness, should those who break the laws of a sovereign nation get a free pass and a jump in line over those who have waited patiently and leapt through hoops in order to come to this country through legal channels and obtain their citizenship? That seems to me that we would advocate a preferential option for *some* poor and not others, as not everyone has the dubious good fortune of being able to find a way to enter this country illegally. Punishing virtue — and I guarantee you, speak to anyone who’s had to deal with the INS or whatever they’re calling themselves nowadays and they’ll tell you that it IS punishment — and rewarding vice (and most people do categorize lawbreaking as vice, generally) hardly seems to fall in line with Catholic social teaching.
Something must be done and the system is in desperate need of reform, but I don’t think Cardinal Mahony’s got the right of things.



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Katherine

posted March 24, 2006 at 12:20 am


Well, don’t worry, you’ve done your annual torture-is-bad post, are in full communion with the church, and can go back to paying no attention whatsoever.



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Meredith

posted March 24, 2006 at 1:33 am


I would assume that moral violence is putting a person in an excruciating ethical dilemma: say, “Tell us such and such or we’ll kill your daughter.”



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Mike Petrik

posted March 24, 2006 at 7:01 am


Meredith,
But if (i) “such” is information needed to save an innocent life and (ii) killing the daughter would be morally wrong, where exactly is the moral dilemma?
Just because someone makes another feel badly, like Amy apparently does to poor Katherine, does not mean he has committed moral violence, or does it? I assume not since it does not appear that Amy was trying to frighten Katherine, although I’m really not sure about that either.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted March 24, 2006 at 9:04 am


Powerline this morning gives a real life example of what we are discussing from the rescue of the “peace” activists in Iraq.
“This morning, the Scotsman has more on the operation that freed the three hostages:
As efforts were made to open negotiations, the SAS and MI6 tried to get a lead on the kidnappers by studying hostage videos released to Arab TV stations, while eavesdropping teams from the Intelligence Corps attempted to intercept mobile phone calls.
Acting on this, the SAS was able to launch a snatch raid on Wednesday night to seize two of the kidnappers or their associates. It seems that the prisoners were “persuaded” to give up information on the whereabouts of the hostages. This might have been done with the offer of a financial inducement or the use of some of the more extreme interrogation techniques criticised by human rights groups.
A strike-force was then organised by the SAS. It also involved elite Canadian anti-terrorist units. The actual assault operation turned out to be an anti-climax, with the hostages apparently being left unguarded in the house.”
What techniques would you consider morally licit in this situation? Myself, I would draw the line at beating them, or threatening to execute them or someone else in order to make them talk. I would have no problem with sleeplessness, white noise, screaming at them, psychological manipulation, etc.



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marie

posted March 24, 2006 at 10:22 am


“So the Church says it’s okay to kill someone in self-defense; just don’t scare him too much. ????”
Brilliant.
The use of the term “undue psychological pressures” in setting out crimes against our neighbors in Gaudium et Spes suggests there are cases in which “psychological pressures” may be due, and would not amount to the “physical or moral violence” referred to in the CCC’s torture definition. I



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inhocsig

posted March 25, 2006 at 1:35 am


Sometimes people miss the obvious.
I was raised a Congregationalist and became an Episcopalian after I married a Catholic woman. Last year on Divine Mercy Sunday, I swam the Tiber.
Given many of you haven’t attended services at a mainline Protestant church let me tell you what you’ll find. First off the place will be empty. The attendees will mostly be women. A few with children sans husbands; some in comfortable shoes; others alone (talking to them for 5 minutes at coffee hour and you’ll know why). The men, if any, will be less than 12 yrs old; over 60; or light in the loafers (gay or an Alan Alda type at best).
So now I go to Mass and besides worshipping with 400 instead of at most 40, what do I find? Well I find all of the above too but I also find something else. There are plenty of other guys around me. The type you could trust to watch your back. The kind who believe part of their Christian duty is to defend the women and children entrusted to them. So if you asked these guys what should we do to a terrorist, you shouldn’t be suprised at the answer.
We’ve got the CCC and we’ve also got confession.



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