Should torture ever be allowed?
#29
(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. 
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Messages In This Thread
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Walty - 04-29-2009, 10:29 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by DrBombay - 04-29-2009, 03:05 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 03:09 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 03:12 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 03:14 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 03:19 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by DrBombay - 04-29-2009, 03:23 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Bonifacius - 04-29-2009, 03:51 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 04:31 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 05:00 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 05:03 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Melita - 04-29-2009, 05:23 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 05:32 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Walty - 04-29-2009, 06:57 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 07:33 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Texican - 04-29-2009, 07:45 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 08:20 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 08:26 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 08:45 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by SCG - 04-29-2009, 09:07 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by Marc - 04-29-2009, 09:40 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 04-30-2009, 08:14 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 04-30-2009, 09:45 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 04-30-2009, 10:27 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 04-30-2009, 11:01 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 09-02-2009, 11:19 AM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by glgas - 09-02-2009, 01:50 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 09-02-2009, 03:16 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 09-02-2009, 09:05 PM
Re: Should torture ever be allowed? - by INPEFESS - 09-03-2009, 01:16 AM



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