Sunday, August 30, 2015

Liberals, Pope Francis and the Torture Debate

So we have another article reflecting the Left's understanding of Pope Francis and how he will ultimately change the Catholic Faith.  Again, most are no longer imagining that Pope Francis will stand on high and personally overthrow Catholic Doctrine.  But they are becoming aware of a Catholic principal that has been crucial to the Catholic Blogosphere and those who defend the here and now of awesomeness without trashing the history of the Church.

Remember the Torture Debates.  This was a major, and I mean major, debate about torture in light of the whole Waterboarding controversies of the Bush administration.  For my part, torture is wrong.  It's what the bad guys do.  Just like removing offensive facts  from the public forum and erasing them from our collective memories.  It's what the Nazis, the Communists, the Indians (yeah, really), the Vietcong and all those other baddies did.  It's not what we should ever have done.

So I was against torture.  But I enjoyed the Catholic debates.  Those Catholics who, for whatever reason, were trying to argue for the Bush policies often looked back to the darker periods of Church history when, to be honest, people were tortured by Church command.  How many were tortured is tough to say.  But one person tortured in the name of Christ by Holy Mother Church is a travesty.  If you want to believe millions were, go ahead.  Given Catholics on the blogosphere who believe the worst about the US or Western Civilization, I'm more willing to accept the inflated numbers.  But that's irrelevant.  People were tortured by the Church.  It's a fact. Let's move on.

And yet opponents of the practice were quick to point out the Church never actually officially doctrinally proclaimed a dogma about torturing people.  Therefore, you can't say the Church actually taught it was OK.  What the Church did was irrelevant to what the Church actually, officially, doctrinally taught.

See where this is going?  The fact that the Church raised armies, launched wars, slaughtered heretical sects, tortured people to death was irrelevant.  That it happened over the course of centuries was irrelevant.  That was just the times.  The Church - Official Church Doctrine - never changed.

Explain how that brings comfort to anyone who died at the hands of the Church during those years.  Tell that to anti-Catholics who bring that back at the Church time and again.  It doesn't matter.  Because if in the old dusty law books, the Church still taught turn the other cheek, in all the world that Catholics and the human race knew, you defended Christendom with the sword.

And that, children, is just what a growing number of liberals are expecting.  Pope Francis won't change Church Doctrine.  Just like the Medieval Church didn't officially alter the whole 'Love your neighbor as yourself' teaching.  It redefined it.  It rethought it.  It turned it on its head to allow armies and inquisitors to do the unthinkable for countless centuries.  And just like that, the growing liberal conclusion is that Pope Francis will do the same.  God will forever have declared that a man should leave his parents and cleave unto this wife and the two shall become one flesh.  But in the day to day living of Catholic life?  In the new understanding of who is awesome, and who simply isn't keeping with the times of where Beautiful Catholics should be? That sign proclaiming the old teaching about marriage between a man and woman will hang right above Ted and Ted as they tie the knot in the corner Parish and Commons.

This growing number of liberals might be wrong.  But we're waiting for some clear indicators from Pope Francis to make it obvious that they are wrong.  And at least as of now, not seeing them.


  1. Here's my brief thing on the torture debate.

    Maybe I'm mistaken since I'll admit a lot of this stuff I learned from the show "Burn Notice" but it had several interrogation scenes, and one thing repeatedly pointed out was that it was more psychological than physical. So for example, in one scene one of the good guys takes out a knife, and cuts HIMSELF, not the target. The explanation? "If that's what you're willing to do to yourself, you get the suspect panicking over what you'll do to him." Torture in the show becomes far more about threatening it than ever actually doing it.

    So my opinion is always: Do I want us torturing? As a rule, no. But I want our ENEMIES convinced that we will. Because if it becomes generally known that we can't and won't touch them, what then? How do the anti-torture people propose we get information out of the enemy? Ask nicely?

    I admit, I don't really know how to get a nation-wide acting gig going but if it was up to me, I would trumpet from shore to shore that we put MIT graduates on calculating out the greatest amount and variety of pain we can do to a person.

    Oh I wouldn't do it. But I want our enemies to be convinced that we're crazy, and there's no telling what we'll do. Because I'll guarantee you that whatever their imaginations come up with will probably be better than anything we actually could.

  2. I don't know that it has been a threat to our enemies. I think if there was some sort of universal 'gee, you've really pissed off the US, now watch out' from the world and our own media, then possibly. But basically our media and the world have almost joined with the terrorist movement and said, "that is horrible that the US has done this, you're absolutely right to kick up the killings and attacks!" So it has fueled their fire and left us with scant few allies. Perhaps that comes from doing something we have always declared to be an evil. Which is why I think taking the higher road - as we have in the past, at least officially - is the better way.


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