However, as one astute reader notes in Mark's comments box, if Mark has any intellectual consistency remaining he should have issues with Jimmy's approach:
I HOPE Mark Shea and friends will take careful note of this from Jimmy:
"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.
So I don't think Veritatis Splendor is decisive on this question. Instead, I think that the evolution of the word "torture" will unfold in such a way in the future that the Magisterium will want it used of intrinsic evil."
This is the essential point, if not in the argument, then at least in how to conduct it.
Those of us who doubt that torture has been defined as an intrinsic evil in the technical sense have been derided not just as wrong, but as unfaithful Catholics who are using an OBVIOUSLY WRONG and dishonest method of textual analysis. That's what needs to stop.
Mark says that because of Veritatis Splendor, torture as intrinsic evil is WHAT. THE. CHURCH. TEACHES.
Jimmy Akin says, "without further qualification we cannot say that every item on the list is intrinsically evil."
I have no argument with Mark's position as a POSITION. I have tremendous problems with being told that any alternative view is a dissenting one.
So whaddaya say, Mark? Is Jimmy a dissenter? Or are we talking about a legitimate disagreement among Catholics?
Now none of this matters terribly much to me and Victor, who have been arguing this for some time. It does, howver, pose problems for the fundamentalist methodology being employed by Mark because it poses a direct challenge to his core proof text. When we tried to point this out, we were denounced and equated with abortion supporters and those sought to dissent from Humanae Vitae. Well Mark called the tune and now I think it's time for him to pay the piper.
I would also note that Jimmy says the following:
Just because something can be justified in at least some circumstances DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES and thus DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND DO IT. There may be many things that, while not intrinsically evil, are extrinsically evil in the vast majority of circumstances and cannot be done as part of the War on Terror.
Which is basically restating something I have tried to note here again and again. Even if torture is not intrisically evil, Mark is still quite able to oppose its application within the context of the war on terrorism. He can even continue to rant with glee against the evils of the Bush administration. But what he cannot do is use the type of rhetoric and shoddy argumentation that he has employed to date against those who dare to disagree with him on this issue.