Reply to Concerns (Briefly)
Yesterday's post resulted in some questions that are tough to answer. Nevertheless, the fact that I am up particularily early gives me a chance to address them.
1. I realize that an absolute condemnation of torture could be considered relativist or "taking things out of historical context". In judging morality, however, one needs to make such judgements. Absolutely speaking, torture is NOT a good thing. The fact that it happened sometimes in a supposed "defense of the Faith" does not make it a positive good. In Christian morality, the ends can never justify the means. Perhaps it is this attitude that brought Christendom down. This society is a direct product of that intolerant one. If one would like to argue that the only reason things fell apart was because we didn't torture enough heretics and burn enough people at the stake, be my guest. The fact is, Franco's Spain was proceeded by La Movida Madrileña, in which people threw off the restrictive mores of "Catholic Spain". And all the laws in the world couldn't have prevented this.
2. Connected to this is the fact that coercion is not a means to convince someone of your point of view. The idea that their is a spiritual good that transcends the material good of some people is not Christian:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2: 14-17)
To destroy the body of someone in order to save his soul is foolishness. Yes, I am passing judgement on the past. But if you want to argue the contrary opinion, be my guest. Just don't whine about it when you end up on the rack.
3. Yes, we live in a bad society. One absolute abomination is the ease by which women destroy their babies in their own wombs. One of these days, we are going to have to answer for this. Remember, every nation has an angel according to the Fathers of the Church. What must our angel think?
However, unless we are prepared to lynch homosexual couples in the street, ban artificial birth control, and force women to stay home to raise the kids, we are just going to have to deal with it. If we are to sow the Kingdom of God here and now, we have to do it by persuasion and example and not by force and counter-productive nostalgia. I am glad that our Church in this day and age does not have to use instruments of violence in order to get its way. There are many things that are wrong with this society, but also many things that right. Let us just be thankful that we are where we are.