Does the Church Have a ‘Just-Torture’ Theory?
read repeatedly Church leaders’ criticisms of
I have never heard of any media accounts of inhumane treatment of children by American interrogators. I expect the Register to fully document Mr. Shea’s sources of these changes.
I, too, desperately desire to
As a practicing Catholic, I know I need a lot of practice before I can come anywhere near to understanding the lofty thoughts of theologians and saints. So I must confess I have little regard for the human dignity of mass murderers.
Which leads to
the larger issue of the
The just-war theory is inadequate because one man with one weapon can cause tens of thousands of casualties in an instant. No longer can it be expected that an adversary will give notice of impending hostility by amassing forces for weeks in advance.
The economic embargo of
As for dialogue, it is impossible to negotiate with people whose sole goal is your demise. Even God did not engage in endless dialogue with the master of lies and murder, Lucifer. Sometimes evil must be confronted by force.
seems to have forgotten that, on 9/11, the
The brutal and ruthless enemy we face today is not aligned with any particular nation and invokes the name of God and religion in its attempts to impose its ideology on the rest of the world. Since 9/11, the people in this country, except for our brave men and women in the armed forces, have been perfectly safe because of all the stopgap measures that have been put into effect by President Bush and Congress to disrupt this enemy’s planning and execution of further attacks.
This process has worked flawlessly
to keep the citizens of this country safe. Now is not the time to equivocate on
the methods used to get intelligence to keep our citizens safe from the next
attack, which undoubtedly will be of unimaginable proportions using weapons of
mass destruction. The methods used by the CIA that Mr. Shea characterizes as
torture pale in significance when compared with those used by the Axis powers
in WWII, the North Koreans during the Korean war and
those used against our pilots at the Hanoi Hilton in
Mr. Shea’s conclusion of applying Christian morality when interrogating these ruthless fanatical terrorists is a farcical solution to the toughest challenge for survival our nation has ever faced.
Mr. Shea, we are dealing with monsters who strap bombs on their own children to further their political agenda. So stop this sanctimonious pontificating and leave it to people who have the expertise to handle these matters of national security.
Thomas J. Magner
Colonel USAF (Ret.)
Mark Shea responds: The account of the questioning of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the threats made against his children comes from Ron Suskind’s book The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of its Enemies since 9/11. You can read it for yourself. The book documents its claims quite well.
In my column, I restricted myself to just a few things done in our abusive treatment of prisoners: cold cells, waterboarding and “long time standing.” All of these techniques are things that any reasonable person would call “torture.” They and other techniques (including “Palestinian hanging”) have resulted in the injury and even death of prisoners in our charge.
These letters take the standard torture-apologetic tactic of insulting the Church’s teaching on just war while giving carte blanche to whatever brutalities the administration might wish to commit.
No, the reality is this: According to the Church, torture is intrinsically immoral. (See Veritatis Splendor, No. 80.) That means it cannot be justified under any circumstance. Our country has practiced and is practicing torture, thinking that it will keep us safe. It will not. It will only breed more evil, in no small part because a not-insignificant number of victims were innocent, as at Abu Ghraib.
The question is not, “What is torture?” or “How close can we get to torturing people without crossing the line?” The question is: “How do we obey the Church’s teaching and treat prisoners humanely while still getting the intelligence we need?” This was the question in every previous war and absolutely nothing, except for a coarsened American attitude to human life and dignity and a false notion that brutality equals “efficiency,” has changed that.
Reading the commentary “Culture of
Life Takes a Beating in
Miraculously, despite an
anti-incumbent tidal wave,
Pro-life Pennsylvanians are grateful to U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and Congressional Representatives Melissa Hart, Mike Fitzpatrick, Don Sherwood and Curt Weldon for their pro-life stands. Their defeats appear to have nothing to do with the pro-life issue, but can be attributed to a host of other factors, as reported in the major news media.
Rather than focusing too heavily
on the defeats of individual candidates, it’s time to redouble our efforts to
ensure that we are ready for the day when Roe
v. Wade will fall — as most assuredly it will. And
Evangelize the Electorate, or Else
Your front page reads, “Catholic Voters Abandon Republicans” (Nov. 19-25). Why is that?
There are multiple reasons, but two are somewhat self-evident. The Catholic Church, with all its priests included as well as all Catholic publications, fell down on the job. They didn’t make the case with the American Catholics. They didn’t emphasize the issues well enough. They were too wishy-washy, afraid that they might offend someone or not be politically correct.
Read the breakdown in Paul Kengor’s column on how Protestants and Catholics voted in
It may be that the Church is no longer relevant to its parishioners. They go to Mass on Sundays only to leave and lead their secular lives the other six days and 23 hours. If it fits, I’ll do it; if not, I won’t. I can accept what I want or I can take or leave it. It’s in one ear and out the other. One priest says it’s okay, the other says maybe not so. There’s no longer any oneness in the Church on many issues. The Church may be trying to be flexible in an attempt to please everyone. Ask yourselves: Why is attendance at Mass falling to new lows?
Not only do Catholics have to come up with tough answers, but so does the clergy if our Church and its followers are to become a relevant force in our country. Otherwise we will become a Godless, socialist state.
Dr. John D. Wolski
A Register news story, “Catholic
Voters Abandon Republicans” (Nov. 19-25), inaccurately depicted Sen. Mike
DeWine as opposing a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.
In fact, the pro-life Republican senator from