Monday, October 02, 2006

Also ...

For those who would invoke Veritas Splendor as evidence that torture is intrisically immoral, I would once again note that Magisterial documents are not to be interpreted in a vacuum, historical or doctrinal. One can make the argument that Veritas Splendor made the same argument about torture that the Church did about slavery in In Plurimis and other documents and hence should not be practiced in modern society, though I think that such an interpretation again runs into the problem of falling into functional (or actual) pacifism if taken to its logical conclusion since then we would be given to understand that any attempt to coerce the will is now intrisically immoral - if nothing else, this would seem to rule out participation in most democratic processes, to say nothing of law enforcement. Since Mark himself has acknowledged the need of coercion as it applies to domestic law enforcement ("Put your hands on your head," for instance), I think that harmonizing Veritas Splendor with Gaudium et Spes is best done by recognizing that there are definite intrisic evils mentioned in the quote but that not all of them fall under that category.

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