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Full Version: Should torture ever be allowed?
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It's situation dependent.

Bonifacius covered it pretty well, in my opinion.
(04-29-2009, 03:09 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-29-2009, 03:06 PM)WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-29-2009, 02:40 PM)cunctas_haereses Wrote: [ -> ]The answer to that question should be very easy. That it's not by erstwhile 'Christians' is an abomination and an indication of just how far off the rails the world is today.

The answer is NEVER.

And by the way, PEOPLE have rights - from God. Governments have NONE.

Seems man in NOT a 'rational being', he's a RATIONALIZING being.

Best post you've ever made.   :w2go:

I agree 

cunctas is probably nervous when we're the ones that agree with him about anything :laughing:

But torture makes strange, er, bedfellows.
SaintRafael,

What is the basis for your claim that torture is inherently wrong?  How are you defining "torture"?  When you cite the authority of "Catholic ethics," what is your source?  If you would like to see the testimony of Scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium, please see Fr. Harrison's examination of all the relevant sources.  

I have pointed out that two of the most-cited magisterial texts are, upon closer examination, ambiguous; "Gaudium et Spes" (from a *pastoral* Council) and "Veritatis Splendor" condemn "torture" in the same terms in which they condemn "slavery" and "deportation."  Now, I hope no one here thinks that every single practice we would call deportation is inherently evil.  The Church has never taught that slavery was inherently evil, or else St. Paul would not have told Onesimus to go back to Philemon.  Some stipulation is called for.  Likewise, it seems necessary to figure out what "torture" means in these documents.  
(04-29-2009, 03:17 PM)WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-29-2009, 03:09 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-29-2009, 03:06 PM)WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-29-2009, 02:40 PM)cunctas_haereses Wrote: [ -> ]The answer to that question should be very easy. That it's not by erstwhile 'Christians' is an abomination and an indication of just how far off the rails the world is today.

The answer is NEVER.

And by the way, PEOPLE have rights - from God. Governments have NONE.

Seems man in NOT a 'rational being', he's a RATIONALIZING being.

Best post you've ever made.   :w2go:

I agree 

cunctas is probably nervous when we're the ones that agree with him about anything :laughing:

But torture makes strange, er, bedfellows.

absotively!  :safe:
Any comments on Dirty Harry? Was he wrong to do what he did? What if he had been able to save the girl?
(04-29-2009, 03:20 PM)Rosarium Wrote: [ -> ]Any comments on Dirty Harry? Was he wrong to do what he did? What if he had been able to save the girl?

Mine said "Embedding disabled by request."  Sorry.
I'm glad you brought in Dirty Harry, Rosarium, as that movie seems to provide a better example than the movie Buchanan cited.  What Dirty Harry did seems just.  If "torture" is defined as something inherently wrong, then that wasn't "torture."  If torture is defined simply as the direct infliction of (severe?) pain or discomfort to coerce a response, then I'd say that was an instance of justified torture. 
(04-29-2009, 03:18 PM)Bonifacius Wrote: [ -> ]SaintRafael,

What is the basis for your claim that torture is inherently wrong?  How are you defining "torture"?  When you cite the authority of "Catholic ethics," what is your source?  If you would like to see the testimony of Scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium, please see Fr. Harrison's examination of all the relevant sources.  

I don't care about Gaudium et Spes. It is not magisterial, but pastoral.

My source comes from the infallible Catholic moral theology of the centuries, and the Magisterium.
This truth can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under CC # 2297, where it is listed as an offense against humanity.

Catholic ethics has always blasted the principle of proportionality or the idea you can commit evil for a greater good. No matter how great the good is, to do it by committing evil, would make it a moral evil. There is no justification for committing evil. evil is evil.

It is better to die in a terrorist attack, than to torture a criminal.
(04-29-2009, 03:28 PM)SaintRafael Wrote: [ -> ]I don't care about Gaudium et Spes. It is not magisterial, but pastoral.

My source comes from the infallible Catholic moral theology of the centuries, and the Magisterium.
This truth can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under CC # 2297, where it is listed as an offense against humanity.

Catholic ethics has always blasted the principle of proportionality or the idea you can commit evil for a greater good. No matter how great the good is, to do it by committing evil, would make it a moral evil. There is no justification for committing evil. evil is evil.

It is better to die in a terrorist attack, than to torture a criminal.

While I am glad you don't care about "Gaudium et Spes," its teaching is fundamental for modern Catholic opposition to torture.  Strike that out as irrelevant, and most statements by subsequent Popes against torture also go down.  You cite "infallible Catholic moral theology of the centuries, and the Magisterium."  Okay then, please find the infallible doctrinal definitions by the Magisterium that support your position.  Fr. Harrison lays out the Magisterial teachings, and they do not seem to rise to the level of the solemn Magisterium.  As for Catholic moral theology, for centuries Catholic theologians (like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Alphonsus di Liguori) supported torture in instances that the Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns -- for punishment and for the coercion of confessions (though Pope Nicholas I condemned the use of torture to extract confessions of guilt).  See Fr. Harrison's work.  Furthermore, catechisms are not infallible, and likely the catechism is relying upon Gaudium et Spes (I don't know the Denzinger # cited -- a little help?).  Additionally, in the Catechism, torture is not condemned as *inherently* evil; rather, it is condemned when used for four purposes:  extracting confessions, punishing the guilty, frightening opponents, and satisfying hatred.  *IF* you define torture merely as corporal punishment, then it is hard to see how torture can be wrong for punishing the guilty.  In the question of extracting confessions, the Magisterium has never said that this includes the ticking timebomb situation.  You see, there is a moral difference between extracting a confession in order to prove someone guilty of crime so as to hold him legally responsible for that crime (this has been the question that Pope Nicholas and Catholic moral theologians dealt with) and trying to extract time-senstive information necessary to save lives.  In the latter instance, the point isn't to extract a "confession" of guilt so much as to get intelligence to thwart continued evil actions.  I think there is enough of a question there as to justify debate.  Fr. Harrison, who has studied these things, says that the Magisterium hasn't addressed the ticking timebomb scenario. 

"Catholic ethics has always blasted the principle of proportionality or the idea you can commit evil for a greater good. No matter how great the good is, to do it by committing evil, would make it a moral evil. There is no justification for committing evil. evil is evil."  But you still haven't proven 1.) that the direct infliction of pain to coerce a response (which is how I'm defining torture) is inherently evil, nor 2.) that it is evil in the ticking timebomb situation.  So yes, I agree that evil is evil, but you need to prove that what I'm talking about is evil.  Proportionality *is* relevant in determining whether non-inherently evil actions are morally acceptable.  For instance, proportionality is part of just war theory.  Killing is not inherently wrong, and in war it may be proportional.  Now, if *killing* can be proportional, why can *causing pain* not be proportional?  If I can defend my life by shooting a guy in the arm instead of in the heart, I am to shoot him in the arm.  That means that there are instances where I can use pain and even injury in self-defense.  If someone is trying to drown me, I can try to drown him to save my own life.  But if I can swim away to safety after holding his head under water for only 20 seconds or so, I am supposed to let him live and save myself.  But if someone is trying to blow up a city, I cannot hold his head under water to save that city?

It  is better to die in a terrorist attack than to *sin* against a terrorist, and if we're defining torture as the *sinful* infliction of pain, then it is better to die in a terrorist attack than torture a terrorist.  But the question is whether all infliction of pain is sinful. 
(04-29-2009, 11:46 AM)QuisUtDeus Wrote: [ -> ]The main problem with torture is that it usually doesn't work.  Someone who can't be convinced by reasoning isn't going to be convinced by the threat of torture.  The torture has to be such that it will actually break his will, but at that point, most people will say anything just to get the pain to stop.  If you can't proceed with a reasonable belief that the torture will make a difference towards the common and greater good, then certainly you should not use it.  On the other hand, torture sometimes does work, and if the good to come from the information greatly outweighs temporary pain, then I think it could be justified.  Of course, then you have to consider how much and what kind is reasonable.  It shouldn't be any more than is necessary to get the information in the time period needed.

There are people very adept at retrieving/ verifying information through 'torture'.  Also, what is actually done, as opposed to what people normally think is done, is usually quite different.  The "tell me everything you know" scenario that is quite popular in movies, is not indicative of what professionals do, although, that is a method used by many, who think that sheer physical pain is the only way to get someone to talk.  That sadistic method, has been proven to be very ineffective, time and time again.
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