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Michael Sean WintersFebruary 19, 2010

My colleague and friend, Father Jim Martin, S.J., posted below on the subject of EWTN's "Cafeteria Catholicism" regarding torture. He included a clip of a recent interview in which Raymond Arroyo discusses the use of torture with Marc Thiessen, who just wrote a book of agitprop defending the use of torture. I noted former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent defense of water boarding. At least Cheney had the decency to adopt a serious tone. The laughing banter between Thiessen and Arroyo is chilling in the extreme. Which leads me to put forth a modest proposal. Let Cheney, Arroyo and Thiessen be water boarded on national television and then let us know if they think the procedure is intrinsically evil.

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12 years 3 months ago
Oh come on.  You're better than this.  Really?
And why no coverage of Frs. Hesburgh, Jenkins & Scully's letter to Pres. Obama protesting the shuttering of the DC school vouchers program?  Seems like it would be more worthy of comment than EWTN.
James Lindsay
12 years 3 months ago
DC School Vouchers are less important with the Chartering of a number of former parochial schools in the Archdiocese of Washington. What is shocking is how, in other DC news, no one has reported the local Charities agency pulling the plug on foster care services (which means they won't get money from me this year).

As for a proposal to waterboard Cheney et al, it is in the same class as the modest proposal by Swift to serve up Irish children for dinner during the great famine (not that Mr. Cheney does not deserve what he so heartily endorses).
David Cruz-Uribe
12 years 3 months ago
Passing over the "modest proposal"  (with apologies to Jonathan Swift), I think it is worth noting that today is the feast of St. Conrad of Piacenza, a 14th century nobleman turned Franciscan hermit.  This is from the St. of the Day mailing from AmericanCatholic.org:
"One day while hunting he [Conrad] ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. The fire spread to nearby fields and to a large forest. Conrad fled. An innocent peasant was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. Conrad confessed his guilt, saved the man’s life and paid for the damaged property."
In the 14th century there was nothing unusual about what happened to the peasant:  judicial inquistion under torture was a well established and legal practice.   But I find it sad that on this feast day, when we remember a man who saved the life of another convicted based on a false confession, we could still be discussing the morality of torture. 
12 years 3 months ago
Maybe, Mr. Winters could explain what is meant by intrinsically evil.  This is not a joke question.   I am curious how he actually defines it.  He uses evil, immoral here freely.  Which I find ironic based on what follows.
Has more harm been committed to human beings by water boarding then the programs of the Democrat Party for the poor of this country and the world.  We find an extremely dysfunctional culture in the poor areas of the United States.  Can one then point to the policies of the organizations that led to this as intrinsically evil?  I personally think so.
I would spend the soul searching expressed on this site more on what has caused the problems of inner cities, the spread of a culture of sexual freedom that has led to large numbers of abortions and the spread of STD's, the tens of millions that have died because of the lack of effective insecticides in this world, the high unemployment rates etc.  All of these I can point to the Democrat Party and their policies which either condone or facilitate these phenomena. Policies, Mr. Winters and other authors on this site so eagerly embrace.  Then there is the massive loss of faith in our society and one of major players overseeing the spread of faith is the organization represented by the editors of this website.  I would not be so eager to cast blame on others for such a minor thing as the water boarding of a few hardened mass murders when there is a massive failure to do their fundamental mission.
Mr. Winters and others here seem to want to score some small political points more so than solving what their basic mission should be.  That is saving souls.  Has certain political views replaced their basic religious mission?
I say this as one educated in the Catholic School system which included 16 years of wonderfully dedicated nuns, Christian Brothers and Jesuits from first grade to a college graduate.  I find the shallowness of the opinions of the authors here alarming coming under the auspices of one of the supposedly intellectually giants of thought over the last four centuries.
Jim McCrea
12 years 3 months ago
I'll agree with Jeff on one thing:  EWTN is not worth of comment - ever.
Eugene Pagano
12 years 3 months ago
Mr. Landry,
Mr. Winters blogged about that topic yesterday on NCR Today:
Tom Maher
12 years 3 months ago
EWTN's Raymond Arroyo did a very professional job of interviewing author Marc Thiessen. Winters and "Fr. Jim" should have no quarrel with EWTN or Arroyo both of whom were doing a fine job in allowing author Thiessen in his own words to explain his new book, titled " Courting Disaster". The main thesis of Thiessen's book is that the Obama admisistration has left the country more vunerable to terrorist attack by dismantleing key CIA and Homeland Security programs that were proven efective in stopping numerous attempted terrorist attacks since 9/11/2001. Fair criticism that the readers of America magazine should know about.
In a country that beleives in free speech and press it is crude and unreasonbable to suggest that an interviewer, an author and the entity that telivised their interview should be held up to ridiculed or censored for allowing the expresstion of views on national security.
david Scott
12 years 3 months ago
Yeah! Because it shouldn’t  be okay to abduct people, illegally torture them for years without due process, and not have to tell anybody about what we did to them. What kind of Nazis could be in favor of that! Thank all that is righteous for the ACLU! There is no more freedom in this country, but they keep trying anyway. Take a look at this: http://pltcldscsn.blogspot.com/2009/04/is-waterboarding-torture.html
Beth Cioffoletti
12 years 3 months ago
JS GROVE writes: "Has more harm been committed to human beings by water boarding then the programs of the Democrat Party for the poor of this country and the world.  ... 
Mr. Winters and others here seem to want to score some small political points... "
A pretty clear case of the pot calling the kettle black, if you ask me. 
Jim McCrea
12 years 3 months ago
It's amazing that Christians of any stripe - even Catholics - can and will defend torture.
Confession time, folks!
12 years 3 months ago
I wonder if Mancow and Hitchens would volunteer to have rats nibble a hole through their abdomen to determine if this is torture.  If not then why?  Is there something different about rats nibbling and scratching through the abdomen compared to waterboarding?  Why would someone even subject theirselfs to intrinsic evil of torture?  I was against waterboarding but now I am wondering whether this might not be as bad as some might claim.

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