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« Mark Shea Needs More Time | Main | No New B5 Today. New B5 Tomorrow. »

December 02, 2006

Comments

SteveL

God is an awesome God!

Jeff

Dear Jimmy Akin:

Here's what I would ask on behalf of others.

Let's not forget the the "split" that matters is not just in The Catholic Apologetics Community. It's among all Catholics.

The reason some have been tempted to make much of this "split" between you and Mark Shea is because he has been making the same assumptions and accusations about others for years...people who have been raising many of the same points that you have raised.

It shouldn't be that Mark Shea gets to be uncharitable to Fr. Harrison, Christopher Blosser, and countless others, but only get objections from Jimmy Akin when he seems to slight Jimmy Akin personally.

Mark Shea has a lot to contribute to this discussion, but it needs to be as part of a discussion not a Fiery Call to Repentence in which everyone's motives are dissected and they are lectured to about What the Church Really Teaches in this area.

I wish--and it needn't be publicly--that you would take this and other upcoming opportunities to defend others who seem to you to be making reasonable points against uncharity and second-guessing and not just yourself.

Not just for the sake of justice and avoiding the impression that it's only some sort of solidarity among the Apologetics Establishment that matters, but because a reframing of the discussion in more charitable terms is what's needed here.

Mark Shea may be right or wrong in his views on torture. But one thing he is certainly right about: Catholics need to try to discover a way to approach this question together. How can we be any kind of witness for Christ if we do not? We will be a worthless bunch of garrulous fools who are incapable of influencing the debate in any direction if we do not find a way to come together as common seekers on this question.

I think this is the best opportunity that has presented itself for everyone to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. Why Mark Shea and Brian Harrison and Christopher Blosser and Zippy cannot sit "at one table" as it were, talking in terms of "what disturbs me", "what seems inappropriate in that approach", etc., etc., instead of the tones of "simply", "obviously", "what the Church just DOES teach" is not at all apparent to me.

Let's have the influence of the Catholic Apologetics Establishment (whatever exactly that may be) used to draw all Catholics together to begin discussing this issue without contention, without dictation, without assumptions about motive, without amateur lay excommunication. There is enough Persuasive Authority on all sides of this question that we should grant each other the Liberty of the Gospel and treat each other as persons in good faith.

What do you say, Mr. Akin? Won't you give it a shot? Let's all use this opportunity to come together on more amicable terms with apologies all round. Wouldn't it be great if everyone from Victor Morton to Zippy would come together on civil and fraternal terms in prayer and good-faith to look at the question afresh? It doesn't seem to me to be at all beyond reach. And I doubt that such a moment of introspection will come again easily or soon.

Brent Brown

Very classy of both Mark and Jimmy. Kumbayistic kudos to both of you!

Zippy

Wouldn't it be great if everyone from Victor Morton to Zippy would come together on civil and fraternal terms in prayer and good-faith to look at the question afresh?

I bear no ill will toward Victor whatsoever, and anyone who wants to know is welcome to ask his opinion of me.

Fr.Ben

Thank God for Mark and Jimmy. If they didn't exist, He'd have to, uh..., create them. "Let's all use this opportunity to come together on more amicable terms with apologies all round" Yep, Advent is here. Indeed, God is an awesome God.

Paul H

For a guy who doesn't have much time, Mark Shea sure writes some LONG blog posts! And I thought that some of Jimmy's posts were long. Wow. :-)

Zippy

For a guy who doesn't have much time, Mark Shea sure writes some LONG blog posts!

I think one of the things this particular post shows is that the demonstration of certain truths (in particular truths about the history of this discussion and its implications) some people were demanding as if such a demonstration could be accomplished by giving a trivial snappy answer were not, in fact, a matter of giving a trivial snappy answer.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

True, he wrote a long blog post, but he hasn't been blogging quite as much lately as he usually does, so that probably gives him a little extra time (IOW, he could use his time to post many little things or just one big thing, and he's been doing the latter more than the former lately).

Which is a little frustrating for those of us who read everything else on his blog EXCEPT the ongoing war/politics/torture saga, but oh well. :-)

In Jesu et Maria,

Mary

Have to say that I don't agree with him when he says, "First, I simply don't see anybody at St. Blog's overemphasizing the idea of loving the terrorist."

I'm afraid that if you talk about a situation where you have duties to more than one person and you talk as if you have duties only to one of them, you are overemphasizing the idea of loving that person.

I have read, online, a woman talking about how much she loved her born children and how she didn't want to deprive them of their mother. That was how she justified her abortion. Because she talked only of her duty to her children who were already born -- yes, she was overemphasizing the idea of loving them.

Mary

Note, incidentially, if a woman is getting medical treatment while pregnant, she may be exactly in the situation of those who face the question of torture: where is the bright line in this situation between treatments I may licitly receive, and those I may not?

Telling her that if she concentrated on her child's dignity, she would not be in danger of sinning by accepting an illicit treatment would be wrong. It is a sin against her human dignity, and those of her family who would be deprived of her.

Zippy

Mary: I actually agree that "any" probably overstates it. I haven't looked, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some of that on the "progressive" Catholic St. Blogger sites.(There aren't very many prog St. Blog's sites of which I am aware, so even if they were all doing that it wouldn't amount to much). And there is certainly plenty of it on secular progressive political blogs, though it isn't entirely clear that what they are advocating is love of the terrorist as much as using the mistakes of the Bush Administration against it.

But in Mark's comboxes and on the blogs of conservative Catholics, the shoe fits very well. What Mark is taking issue with isn't liberal Catholics and secular liberals grasping at whatever issue they can to bash conservative Catholics. What he is taking issue with is conservative Catholics deserving the bashing.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Jimmy, don't be fooled. The same Mark Shea whom who are so willing to "forgive" would have rhetorically crucified you if your name was Victor Morton, Christopher Fotos or Joseph D'Hippolito.

All you have to do is wander off his reservation, one he "protects" with the rhetorical equivalents of gun emplacements, barbed wire and watch towers.

This has far, far less to do with positions on various issues (pace Zippy) than with Mark's inherently adolescent personality. Disagree with him on anything and you're "double-plus ungood," as Oceania's Ministry of Information would have said in 1984.

Shea is nothing but a selfish, immature ideologue who exhibits all the tendencies of a totalitarian utopian. Whether he's Catholic is quite irrelevant to the point; Shea would behave this way if he believed in anything else.

The fact that you and other Catholic apologists seem to refuse to hold him accountable for the vile way in which he treats people doesn't speak well for you or they.

Anonymous

Well, with that tone of voice, young man, I understand if Mr.Shea doesn't want to be your friend (eyes rolling).

Joseph D'Hippoltio

Anonymous, I have had too much experience w/Mr. Shea over the past four years to feel anything but profound contempt for the man.

Jeff

"What he is taking issue with is conservative Catholics deserving the bashing."

So says Zippy. I see that from him at least the bashing will continue. Despite the lack of "personal animus".

"Who me? I've got nothing to repent of!"

Realist

Is there a more authoritative "speaking with one voice" group we should consult on moral matters like torture? i.e. like Catholic priests, bishops and the Vatican. Or have these groups abdicated their authority to civilian apologists?

Jeff

Well, Realist, Fr. Harrison is a priest and a theologian.

Cardinal Dulles is a Cardinal, a priest and a theologian. A theologian of impeccably orthodox credentials who was made a Cardinal 1. by Pope John Paul II himself (the author of Veritatis Splendor, 2. specifically because he was a great, orthodox theologian whom John Paul admired.

All I propose is that the discussion be framed in such a way that people who have modest or zero achievements in moral theology don't end up saying that Harrison and Dulles are ignoramuses who don't know the basics of how to read papal documents or else disloyal Catholics, both of which are patently absurd.

It's reasonable for a layman to read Veritatis Splendor and think that there is a definitive condemnation of some clearly defined thing known as "torture", or "slavery" there. It isn't reasonable to continue to insist on that in absolute terms after you know that folks like Harrison and Dulles don't think so. You can disagree with Cardinal Dulles, certainly. You can't reasonably disagree with him in such a way that you end up painting him as an obviously unfaithful Catholic. You can't even do that if you are "upset" about torture.

A far clearer case can be made that "bashing conservative Catholics who deserve bashing" about these difficult and ambiguous issues is sinful than that torture is intrinsically evil. Especially when it is combined with idle speculations about their political motives and lack of integrity.

Zippy

A far clearer case can be made that "bashing conservative Catholics who deserve bashing" about these difficult and ambiguous issues is sinful than that torture is intrinsically evil.

Jeff: I quite agree that discussion should be civil. The point is that when some - a small, very vocal group, not actually inclusive of (e.g.) Cardinal Dulles despite this small group's attempt to hitch themselves to him and claim that every criticism directed at them is also a criticism of Cardinal Dulles - are confronted with the facts on the ground of the death of captives while undergoing torture by the CIA - this small group responds with such verities as that "torture" (in scare quotes) is an "anti-concept" and that people who oppose it are Pharisees who should be nobly opposed by those who are "anti-anti-torture". (I note for the record that this substantive position is not taken by either Cardinal Dulles or Father Harrison. I am not aware of either of them claiming that torture is a meaningless anti-concept nor that those who oppose it are Pharisees). This posture has the effect - the objective effect in reality - of painting a large target on their foreheads for criticism by, shall we say, the progressive Kumbayistic wing in addition to just plain old ordinary reasonable people.

I am fairly amazed at how much gravity is being attached to the opinions of Mark Shea, by the way. I noticed a debate raging in a Coalition for Fog combox about whether Jimmy should be "pressured" to come down on Mark for being so mean** - very ironically - to this small group, whose central thesis is that we aren't hard-headed enough about using "coercive techniques" to interrogate prisoners. I conjecture that if we wanted to make at least some of them crack under interrogation all we would have to do is expose them to Mark's disapproval.

If a Saint ultimately arises from these discussions, she should be the patroness of irony.

[**] A sample comment excerpt:
I agree 100% with what he says about the need to boycott Shea, encourage parish and other Catholic groups to boycott him, and pressure Keating, Akin, and the rest of the Catholic Apologetics establishment to hold Shea accountable.

If people don't want to be a part of a group upon whose agenda that particular item comes up, they certainly don't have to be. But "anything you say about the Coalition for Fog you are also saying about Jimmy Akin and Cardinal Dulles" is, I suggest, an invalid proposition.

Jeff

But Zippy, you are not being forthcoming.

You have yourself been a point man for this notion that the Church teaches incontrovertibly on torture and have levelled accusations at me at times and at Jimmy Akin right here on this very blog!

I'm not trying to "hitch" myself to anyone. All I'm doing is pointing out that neither Dulles nor Harrison believe that there is any binding magisterial teaching that torture is an intrinsic evil and that that is a hugely strong argument--even apart from their reasoning--from what is called in law "persuasive" authority that such an approach is at least a valid one for a faithful Catholic.

Aren't YOU the one who is lumping the Coalition for Torture together with anyone who dissents from your party-line on the magisterial status of torture teaching? I've had VERY strident disagreements with them on a number of points.

It seems to me that the groundwork has to be laid for any discussion about torture to be effective. So far, your side has put an inordinate amount of effort into proving that torture involves absolute, crystal-clear Church teaching, just as abortion does. I think that effort has failed.

Look, a discussion about war can reach a similar impasse of consciences among Catholics. Those who are willing to accept large numbers of civilian casualties indirectly (I'm NOT speaking of city-wide targetting here) and those who are quasi-pacifists can stare at each other in mutual incomprehension, one side wondering how any group of Catholics can be so bloody-minded and indifferent to innocent suffering and the other amazed at the impractical softness of those who would unwittingly deliver all of us into the hands of tyranny and destruction. But they are both legitimate ways for Catholics to look at things and "magisterializing" the conversation looking for a definitive answer doesn't help.

I would propose that the immediate use of Veritatis Splendor to come up with a "Catholic Absolute" about torture should be shelved for the time being as at least unpersuasive to a large number of good Catholics who are no more "enthusiastic" about torture than Dulles is about slavery. You're going to come up with either a. a definitional problem, b. a problem of "internal" versus "external" circumstance, or c. a problem of the nature of magisterial teaching--or all three! These are going to take some time to work out, if indeed they can be worked out. Nothing wrong with patiently running through them from different angles as Jimmy is doing to see what you can come up with.

Mark Shea still manages to talk persuasively about the war in Iraq without being an absolutist. He brings up salient points about the numbers killed, etc. Whatever one's opinion is, they are impressive appeals to conscience. However right he may be, he simply has to live without the Lay Excommunication bit and his commentary is all the more thoughtful and powerful without it. There are lots of true things in the world that you will not be able to "bind" people to.

People give weight to what Shea says because he is a prominent guy. And he "bashes" not only the Coalition for Fog, but big guys like Harrison and little guys like me and many others in the most obstreperous and strident terms. It doesn't bother me all that much; I can keep a sense of perspective about it. You and Mark are Catholic brothers (I'm assuming you're not a sister, Zippy! Though it occurs to me I don't really know for sure) and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the Great Things.

But many people are hurt that someone they originally loved and admired has treated them in such brutal and careless fashion and accused them of all sorts of vileness when all they were doing was trying to figure out the status of a teaching. When you try to influence and persuade with your writing, you will often succeed, if you're as good as Mark is. People will look up to you.

So, you have to be gentle and charitable or you will cause great pain. Mark has caused GREAT pain to a number of people and it would be a great thing if he could be persuaded to take a different tack. I can quite see that he thought he was saying something incontrovertible and unexceptionable, but it turns out that it was controvertible and exceptionable after all. Time to find a different approach despite the passion, that's all.

Zippy

But Zippy, you are not being forthcoming.

Yes I am. Any time someone has objections to something I specifically say, they are welcomed and encouraged to quote it back to me and state their objections.

You have yourself been a point man for this notion that the Church teaches incontrovertibly on torture and have levelled accusations at me at times and at Jimmy Akin right here on this very blog!

I do think that the Church teaches incontrovertibly that torture is intrinsically evil, that Jimmy is wrong when he says that waterboarding is licit in the case of a TTB, and that the discussions people publicly have on those topics have moral effects in the world irrespective of their intentions.

That isn't an accusation, it is a disagreement.

Aren't YOU the one who is lumping the Coalition for Torture together with anyone who dissents from your party-line on the magisterial status of torture teaching?

Nope. Neither is Mark, as far as I can tell.

Jeff

I wonder what Mark apologized to Jimmy for, then, Zippy? Didn't you notice that he lumped them all together:

I've repeatedly cited examples to you, which you pass over.

Zippy, if I have a disagreement with you over whether or not you are a faithful Catholic and I persist in levelling the charge in a variety of ways, then it's not just a disagreement, it's an accusation. And insinuating that someone lacks integrity because they disagree with you isn't just a disagreement either. Nor is speculating that the reason why they think the Church doesn't teach incontrovertibly on torture is because they have a political agenda. That's hardly a mere "disagreement." It's an accusation of bad faith.

I don't mind your saying "I think" the Church teaches incontrovertibly about torture, so long as you recognize that other Catholics of intelligence and good faith DON'T.

As far as not lumping the Coalition together with everyone who disagrees with you on torture, what was the meaning of your last post? You don't confine your exclusionary and motive-speculating rhetoric to the Coalition. Are you suggesting you'll quit impugning people's honor or good faith as Catholics if they aren't part of the Coalition? Does that mean Fr. Harrison gets a pass from you? Or just Cardinal Dulles (maybe)?

I don't see why you put the Coalition center stage at all. I brought up Cardinal Dulles to show that it's unfair to accuse people of being unfaithful dissenters just because they don't read VS as you do. Do you agree with me, is that what you are saying? Is the discussion of whether torture (or slavery) is intrinsically evil within the bounds of legitimate disagreement among Catholics or not? Or is it your OPINION that it is not in a way that you can distinguish from, say, dissent on contraception? (You have been at pains heretofore to say that they are the same.)

Do YOU see a difference? What difference do YOU see between Akin and Dulles on the one hand and the Coalition on the other? Is it an essential difference? If your general rhetoric is not a "lumping together", let's see some distinctions. Of whom are you speaking when you talk about people who "justify" torture desiring a "cafeteria Catholicism of the right"? Does that include Dulles? Harrison? Me? Akin? Or don't you know? And if you don't, why do you bring it up in discussion continually? Why not give it a rest?

Is it within the bounds of civil discussion to say slavery is not an intrinsic evil but not torture?

You are apparently a regular reader of the Coalition blog. I am not. I occasionally correspond with some of the members and we often have heated disagreements. But my thinking on torture developed in complete isolation from them and I'm sure Fr. Harrison's and Cardinal Dulles' thinking did too. I don't know if Jimmy Akin has read them, but I'm sure he came to his own conclusions and hasn't been "under their sway" in any way.

Jeff

Sorry, I left this out.

The second sentence of the first paragraph should have read:

"Didnt you notice that he [Mark Shea] lumped them all together:

'[N]o small effort, ranging from the Coalition for Fog, to Against the Grain, to (now) Jimmy's blog has been put into figuring out some way to redefine it so that it's not torture, or shout down those who oppose it as "Pharisees" or otherwise figure out a way to overlook the bleedin' obvious in favor of the highly abstract and hypothetical.'

Zippy

I wonder what Mark apologized to Jimmy for, then, Zippy? Didn't you notice that he lumped them all together:

Yep. I have the impression that that occurred because they - or some of them, at least - are trying to adopt Jimmy to be their godfather or something, to go make Mark behave himself. I suppose we don't always manage to resist buying into that nonsense, silly as it is. And if I've bought into any of that myself, or even given the impression, well, I apologize Jeff.

It is true that Jimmy Akin agrees (though he may change his mind) with members of the CFF that waterboarding isn't torture in the case of a TTB. But he hasn't tried to throw cold water on the idea of the word "torture" meaning anything at all. He's even said outright that the Church is moving toward treating torture being understood as intrinsically evil and trying to work toward what that would imply. It just ain't the same kind of deal as what took place in Mark's comment boxes over the last year or two.

And insinuating that someone lacks integrity because they disagree with you isn't just a disagreement either.

You seem to be imputing a lot of things to me without actually quoting what I said. It is difficult for me to respond to what you think I said, since I can't get into your head to see what you think. I don't know how I would respond directly to being told I am insinuating this or insinuating that, I can only respond to comments or questions on what I actually said. Someone asked me about that specific comment before and I already clarified it, as I recall.

You are apparently a regular reader of the Coalition blog.

Not at all. I merely followed the links from Mark's article. But most of those fellows are former commenters at Mark's blog, I believe, and I've certainly interacted with a number of them over the years.

I did comment there to post a correction of a factual error that one commenter made about a time I was briefly banned from commenting at Mark Shea's blog quite a long time ago. My correction was deleted and I got an email from Victor Morton, the owner of that blog. I don't recall the precise specifics of his email, but in essence he kindly requested that I not comment there again and suggested that my comments would be deleted if I did.

Obviously, Jeff, you think I've said something to you that you took as a personal assault on your intentions. What was that, exactly? What did I say to you that you took that way?

As far as I can tell, I don't get to decide where people come out in this. Everyone has to decide for himself. I think waterboarding is torture, it is always wrong, and that saying it isn't in public has bad effects on the common good. As always I might be wrong, but I don't think I am or I wouldn't say it as a commitment to a definite proposition.

And finally, I do want to compliment Jimmy on his approach, as strenuously as I disagree with him, which I do. On the one hand he wasn't at all heavy-handed in it: his approach was cautious. But on the other hand, he wasn't shy about committing to a position. That tells us all outright where he is coming from, cards on the table. You've got to respect that. Even though he's wrong, hah!

Josiah

Zippy,

This is the sort of argument I usually try to avoid (not always successfully), but it is seriously misleading, at best, to say that there is a "debate raging" at the Coalition blog about whether to "pressure" Jimmy Akin to confront Mark about his behavior.

The idea to "boycott" Mark Shea and "pressure" Jimmy Akin to do likewise was suggested by Joseph D'Hippolito - a man who nearly everyone in St. Blogs regards as a crank. (Mark has tried to do similar things to D'Hippolito in the past, which probably explains how he got the idea). D'Hippolito's suggestion provoked exactly three comments: one in support (which you quote), two against (including from one of the blog moderators). That's hardly a raging debate, nor is it much of a reflection of the blog itself.

Here's the link to the comments thread, so anyone who wishes can judge for themselves:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=30405512&postID=116508306680722663

Zippy

I am more than happy for people to go read and reflect rather than accepting summary perspective from an individual person's, Josiah. The more from the horse's mouth the better AFAIAC.

Josiah

Fiendish acronyms. Work of the Devil, IMHO.

Zippy

ROFL! (As Far As I Am Concerned :-/ )

Paul H

Zippy wrote:
"And finally, I do want to compliment Jimmy on his approach, as strenuously as I disagree with him, which I do. On the one hand he wasn't at all heavy-handed in it: his approach was cautious. But on the other hand, he wasn't shy about committing to a position. That tells us all outright where he is coming from, cards on the table. You've got to respect that. Even though he's wrong, hah!"

Zippy, I'm very glad to hear you say that. The main thing that has bothered me about your various comments here over the past week or so has not been that you disagree with Jimmy, but rather that you seemed to be imputing a sinister agenda to him. (I could be completely wrong in my interpretation of your comments, but that's the impression that I got.) So it's wonderful to see you make the statement that I quoted above!

Esau

PAUL H:

The main thing that has bothered me about your various comments here over the past week or so has not been that you disagree with Jimmy, but rather that you seemed to be imputing a sinister agenda to him.

Therein lies the rub!

Jimmy Akin

And finally, I do want to compliment Jimmy on his approach, as strenuously as I disagree with him, which I do. On the one hand he wasn't at all heavy-handed in it: his approach was cautious. But on the other hand, he wasn't shy about committing to a position.

Thanks for the compliment, Zippy! I would characterize the matter in slightly different terms. I haven't committed to a position. What I've done is proposed a definition for comment, though the cautious way in which I am exploring the issue means that I am not committing to this proposed definition. It can undergo modification if people propose what strike me as better criteria or criteria that should be added to it.

Zippy

I haven't committed to a position.

OK. Thanks Jimmy. I took this:

I would not say that [waterboarding] is torture if it is being used in a ticking time bomb scenario and there is no other, less painful way to save lives (it is proportionate since there is not a better solution).

... to be a definite statement. In the light of this clarification (and barring further clarification) I will interpret it to be qualified by "If this definition is correct, then ..."

Seamus

The idea to "boycott" Mark Shea and "pressure" Jimmy Akin to do likewise was suggested by Joseph D'Hippolito - a man who nearly everyone in St. Blogs regards as a crank.

Whether or not he's regarded as a crank, that certainly was a crank proposal.

Ironic that he should accuse Mr. Shea of being someone who, had he lived in the USSR during the 30s, "would [have been] writing endless paens to Stalin and engaging himself in airbrushing 'political non-persons' out of photographs," and then turn around and issue a Stalinist call to purge Mr. Akin and others, not for being dissenters from the party line, but simply if they should fail to enforce with sufficient vigor the purge he calls for of Mr. Shea.

Sounds like the flip side of Mr. Shea's "if-you're-not-100%-with-me-you're-giving-aid-and-comfort-to-evil" position.

Zippy

Whether or not he's regarded as a crank, that certainly was a crank proposal.

I initially was going to dismiss the comment (I skimmed them rather quickly) as isolated crankdom until I saw the supporting comment I posted, and then another comment by one of the blog editors which failed to support the proposed boycott in the following way:

As far as organizing a boycott or what not, if you guys want to do that then go right ahead. My primary concern has always been his rhetoric towards those who disagree with him on this and other issues than it is anything else.

Jeff

Well, Zippy, you answered a few of my questions but left most of them unanswered.

You THINK waterboarding is torture: fine. Catholics THINK all sorts of things. But they don't say that people are Unfaitful to the teaching of the Church because they THINK something. They think it because the Church has made itself CLEAR.

Do you claim that the Church has DEFINED waterboarding as torture or clearly indicated it is torture? Or do you just consider it "bleedin' obvious"? Do you regard those who disagree as dissenters or tantamount to dissenters?

Do you claim--CLAIM, not just think--that anyone who doubts that the position that torture or slavery is intrinsically evil is clearly established in Catholic teaching is an overt dissenter--like someone who doesn't accept Catholic teaching on abortion? The same as Charles Curran, for example? Because, like it or not that is a serious accusation, not just a "disagreement."

I mean for the life of me I can't see any essential difference between what Dulles and Harrison say--that Pope John Paul didn't mean to bind Catholics to some new "teaching" that torture is an "intrinsic evil" and what I am saying. The idea that the Church is "heading toward" some binding definition in the future may be true, but I'm sure that Jimmy Akin would be the first to admit that it is mere speculation. He also praises Dulles' approach like this:

"In Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II quoted a list of social evils--including torture--from Gaudium et Spes and seemed to apply the label "intrinsically evil" to this list. This does not strike me as sufficient to settle the question, though, for as His Awesomeness Cardinal Dulles has pointed out, John Paul II's use of this passage from Gaudium et Spes appears to have important unstated qualifiers and thus some of the items on the list (e.g., deportations) do not on their face appear to be intrinsically evil without further qualification. The possibility is thus raised (and I view Dulles's article as turning the possibility into a probability) that the pope was speaking in a general rather than a technical way and without further qualification we cannot simply say that every item on the list is intrinsically immoral."

Now I fail to see how this proposal of Jimmy's differs substantively from what anyone else is saying. This is precisely the kind of statement that got many of us condemned by Shea when he said This. Is. What. The. Church. Teaches.

Do you regard that statement as legitimately arguable among Catholics? Or not? I mean, this is the nub it seems to me. If it absolutely isn't--not just as a Zippy opinion, but as a fact--then everyone from Dulles and Akin to the Coalition for Fog are essentially in the same doctrinal boat.

No, I'm not terribly concerned if you want to make faces at me and call me names. I hardly know who you are! But I am concerned that whole groups of Catholics--not just the Foggers--get called Unfaithful for saying that the Church in fact DOES NOT teach in any clear and binding fashion that torture is intrinsically evil. ON THAT SCORE, as far as I can see, all of us are in the same boat.

What do you make of that boat, Zippy? Are we dissenters? All of us? Or do you really mean to say that if we say that we THINK the Church MIGHT be heading toward a binding definition of torture as intrinsically evil--EVEN IF IT CONTAINS BUILT IN CIRCUMSTANCE ESCAPE CLAUSES--that is sufficient to make us Catholic. Is THAT your distinction?

Delta

Maybe we should simply treat terrorists like we treat felons under the Constitution and U.S. law. "No cruel and unusual punishment," remember?

Then valuable ASCII could be freed up for better things.

Esau

Maybe we should simply treat terrorists like we treat felons under the Constitution and U.S. law. "No cruel and unusual punishment," remember?

If that's the case, what about the hanging of Saddam Hussein? Is that act intrinsically evil?

Jimmy Akin

Jeff, let's keep it calm. Same for everybody.

LarryD

I've been reading all the comments on this topic and the related threads, and really, doesn't this come down to a case of "He said, Shea said"?

And a collective groan rises out of the audience....


Couldn't resist.

Esau

"He said, Shea said"?


A story about 2 Catholic Apologist Intellects pitted against each other in what immediately deteriorates into a life-threatening struggle, surreptitiously manipulated by the rampant mob mentality of an insane world, where in the end, one clings to the ideals of reason and faith while the other to that of an ancient creed. The only question is: who is clinging to what?

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You!!!

[Disclaimer: The characters in this movie are purely fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons are purely coincidental.]

Esau

Sorry... I couldn't resist! ;^)

As someone once suggested, folks need to kick back and relax from all this TORTURE.

"It's Miller Time!"

Tim J.

Make that a Fosters, Esau, and I'm with you.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Zippy and Seamus,

My call to boycott Mark Shea and to encourage other apologists such as Jimmy Akin to hold him accountable for his behavior has nothing to do with his position on torture, nor is it a Stalinist attempt to silence somebody. It is an attempt to hold somebody accountable for his vile behavior, regardless of his opinions and views.

Zippy, suppose you and Shea had differing positions on torture (or, for that matter, any other issue) and you expressed yourself forcefully yet charitably. Do you seriously think that Shea wouldn't treat you with the same self-righteous contempt that he treats everybody else who disagrees with him?

Seamus, suppose Shea took the exact opposite approach to torture (or, for that matter, any other subject). Do you seriously expect him to behave any differently? If he were a died-in-the-wool secular atheist or dyed-in-the-wool Protestant fundamentalist, would he behave any differently.

The issue with Shea isn't his opinions but his behavior. Nobody, Catholic or otherwise, should have to put up with his vile rhetorical excrement.

Christ Himself said that "by their fruits, you shall know them." It appears to me that Shea is producing some awfully bitter fruit.

Esau

Make that a Fosters, Esau, and I'm with you.

Sure, so long as you're buying! ;^)

Bless ya, Brutha... and Keep Paintin' them great art!

Zippy

Note: the fellows at the CFF have taken exception to the excerpts I posted here.

Seamus

The issue with Shea isn't his opinions but his behavior.

Well, obviously, since your threat to boycott Mr. Akin and others like him isn't contingent on any opinions they would express, but simply on their behavior, in failing to join in your boycott.

Seamus

I should have spoken more precisely: Mr. d'Hippolito did not call for a "boycott" of Mr. Akin, et al., but to apply unspecified "pressure" on them. Mutatis mutandis, my point still holds.

Joseph D'Hippolito

No, Seamus, my premise is to have Catholics take economic action against Shea for his never-ending bullying -- and to have Catholics take economic action against Akin, Keating and other apologists until they hold Mark accountable for his bullying. "Holding accountable," in this context, would mean refusing to link to his blog and publishing anything he has to say on their blogs or publishing houses until he repents of his bullying.

Seamus

No, Seamus, my premise is to have Catholics take economic action against Shea for his never-ending bullying -- and to have Catholics take economic action against Akin, Keating and other apologists until they hold Mark accountable for his bullying.

So you *are* threatening a boycott of Messrs. Akin, Keating, etc., unless they join in your purge of Mr. Shea. Well, pardon me if I find that repugnant and Stalinist.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Seamus, pardon me, in turn, for finding Shea's bullying and lying repugnant and Stalinist. Apparently, you believe that as long as someone is Catholic, then anything goes. That was the same mentality that allowed the clerical sex-abuse crisis to metastacize.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Besides, Seamus, why should I or any Catholic support people who not only refuse to hold a bully accountable, but actually enable him to act as a bully?

Seamus

Besides, Seamus, why should I or any Catholic support people who not only refuse to hold a bully accountable, but actually enable him to act as a bully?

For the same reason that I continue to support people who continue to provide you with an outlet for your repugnant, Stalinist proposals.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Seamus, why is the attempt to hold a bully accountable, either by addressing that bully directly or by addressing those who enable him, "repugnant" and "Stalninst"? Assuming that you see the need for bullies to be held accountable (let alone to stop bullying), what would you recommnend (besides prayer)?

Esau

Seamus, why is the attempt to hold a bully accountable, either by addressing that bully directly or by addressing those who enable him, "repugnant" and "Stalninst"?

I can't believe I'm doing this considering my previous encounter with Mr. Shea, but, Joseph, isn't what you're doing the least bit bullying to you?

Also, to actually attempt to bring about the demise of a Catholic Apologist, you might as well contribute to such efforts as Jack Chick's!

In spite of the past tussle with Mr. Shea, I still find some aspects in his arguments worthy of respect, despite what he had implied about me in a certain post of his.

Yet, it cannot be overlooked that he did proceed to apologize as in the case with Jimmy, especially given the public manner he did, which seems to suggest good faith on his part.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Esau, there's a big difference in my behavior from Shea's. If I were bullying, I would be issuing personal attacks en masse against those who oppose my idea or against those who continue to enable Shea. I challenge you to find even *one* example of such behavior on my part on this issue.

Insisting that people act in a decent fashion or endure the consequences is one of the things that keep people from breaking the law. Granted, Shea isn't breaking any *specific* laws. Nevertheless, a lot of playground bullies don't, either. Neither do the people who enable such bullies (indulgent parents and teachers, for example). Does that mean that they shouldn't be held accountable?

Shea's backhanded apology to Akin doesn't relieve Shea of the responsibility to apologize to others whom he has insulted and defamed, others with whom he doesn't have the kind of personal relationship that he has with Akin. Moreover, Akin's acceptance of that backhanded apology doesn't relieve him of the responsibility of rebuking a brother in Christ when he acts like a jackass with others.

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