Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Loudmouthed "Traditionalist" Kevin Tierney Again Exemplifies in His Article That Which He Condemns (e.g., Catholic Answers supposedly does "far" more bad than good)

See my Facebook article (open to the public).

Pope Francis Defended: Helpful Resources for Confused, Troubled, and Frustrated Folks

I wrote on 9-20-13:

For all of you out there worried about the pope. Relax; chill. All is well. We have a pope who says the unexpected: a lot like Jesus. And, like Jesus, those who don't get it and are outside looking in, will misunderstand, and those who are in the fold will grasp what is being said, in the context of historic Catholic teaching, if they look closely enough and don't get hoodwinked by silly media wishful thinking.
Those who are outside often hear only what they want to hear (God loves everyone, even sinners!!!) and not what they need to hear (stop sinning; stop this sin . . .).

I wrote in a letter to a friend:

It's the same old dumb misunderstandings: media misreports what the pope said; never understand what he means in context, and in context with past teachings. Don't fall into their trap! Pope Francis is a good Catholic; nothing to be alarmed about at all. The world wants Christians to renounce their teachings. We're the guys who have never done so. We keep the same moral teaching that the Church had from the beginning: no abortion, no divorce, no contraception, no same-sex "marriages," etc. Virtually no one else has done so! So the attack is against us to change traditional morality, and we will never do that.

1. Pope Francis' Notable Humility: Could it Possibly "De-Sacralize" the Papacy? (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 3-14-13)

2. Nine things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-17-13)

3. Should We Be Concerned About Pope Francis's Inaugural Mass? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-18-13)

4. Pope Francis on Homosexual Unions (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-20-13)

5. Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Crisis / The Wall Street Journal, 3-22-13)

6. How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-28-13)

7. Canon Lawyer Pete Vere on the Pope Francis Foot-Washing Controversy (Dave Armstrong's Facebook page, 3-30-13) 

8. Radical Catholic Reactionary Super-Site Rorate Caeli's "Cherished Friend" and Featured Pope-Basher, Marcelo González, is a Holocaust Revisionist (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 4-8-13)

9. Pope Francis and lying to save life  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 5-15-13)

10. Did Pope Francis Preach Salvation by Works?? (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head, 5-23-13)

11. Dreadful Misleading Headline of Catholic Online Pins Heresy on Pope (Brian Kelly, Catholicism.org, 5-23-13)

12. Did Pope Francis Say That Atheists Can Get to Heaven by Good Works? (Jimmy Akin, JimmyAkin.com, 5-24-13)

13. Did Pope Francis poke Protestants in the eye? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-4-13)

14. Pope Francis and the Vatican "gay lobby"—10 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-12-13)

15. From the IOR to the gay lobby: Pope Francis tells all on flight from Rio to Rome  (Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, 7-29-13)

16. Seven things you need to know about what Pope Francis said about gays (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 7-29-13

17. Pope Francis and the Franciscan Friars (Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers, 7-30-13)

18. Don’t Tell the Press: Pope Francis Is Using Them (Elizabeth Scalia, First Things, 7-30-13)

19. Misinterpreting Francis [Homosexuality] (Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, 7-30-13)

20. Franciscans of the Immaculate decree worries traditionalists (Catholic News Agency, 7-30-13)

21. Pope Francis on Homosexuality: Take a Deep Breath (Scott P. Richert, About.com Catholicism, 7-30-13)

22. On the Pope’s Remarks about Homosexuality (Scott P. Richert, Crisis, 8-1-13)

23. What Did the Pope Really Say about Gays in the Priesthood?  (Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap., Crisis, 8-5-13)

24. Pope Francis Uses the Terminology of "Extreme Traditionalism" (Some Quibbles with Kevin Tierney's Arguments) (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 8-5-13)

25. Pope Francis Will Enliven the Benedict Legacy (Jeffrey Tucker, Crisis, 8-12-13)

26. What should we make of Pope Francis bowing when greeting people?  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 8-30-13)

27. Is Pope Francis about to eliminate celibacy? (9 things to know and share) (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 9-12-13) 

28. What Pope Francis really said about atheists (Stephen Kokx, Catholic Vote, 9-13-13)

29. Did Pope Francis say atheists don’t need to believe in God to be saved? (9 things to know) (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 9-15-13)

30. Pope Francis Focuses on the Bigger Picture With New Interview (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register,  9-20-13)

31. Pope condemns abortion as product of 'throwaway culture' (Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service,

32. Go Home New York Times, You’re Drunk  (Steven D. Greydanus, National Catholic Register,  9-20-13)

33. Francis’ Interview and the Unexpected Unity of the NY Times and the Francis Haters (Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It, 9-20-13)

34. Pope Francis Contradicts Himself! (Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It, 9-20-13)

35. Francis Confounds the Associated Press (Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, 9-20-13)

36. Francis and Benedict, Peter and John (Thomas L. McDonald, God and the Machine, 9-20-13)

37. The key to understanding Pope Francis: the 99 lost sheep (Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org, 9-20-13)
38. Pope Francis and His Critics  (Scott P. Richert, Crisis, 9-23-13)

39. Pope Francis Has Not Diluted the Pro-Life Teachings of the Catholic Church (Fr. Frank Pavone, LifeNews.com, 9-23-13)

40. The Mission of Pope Francis, S. J. (Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers, 9-23-13)

41. Report: Pope Excommunicates Priest for Supporting Gay Marriage, Female Priest (Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart, 9-24-13)

42. The Papal Interview: A Survey of Reactions  (Joseph Meaney, Crisis, 9-25-13) 

43. Pope Francis and ‘The Interview’ (Abp. Charles Chaput, CatholicPhilly.com, 9-25-13)

44. Pope Francis: Every Unborn Child Has the Lord's Face (Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq., Catholic Online, 9-26-13)

45. A Big Heart Open to God: The exclusive [complete] interview with Pope Francis (Antonio Spadaro, S. J., America, 9-30-13)

46. Did Pope Francis just say that evangelization is “nonsense”? 8 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 10-1-13)

47. The Pope, Abortion, Mercy and Context  (Fr. Frank Pavone, National Catholic Register, 10-1-13)

48. Is Pope Francis about to “rip up” the Vatican constitution? 12 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-2-13)

49. The Pope’s Pro-Life Declaration “in Context”  (Dr. William Oddie, Crisis, 10-3-13)

50. Random Thoughts on Rush Limbaugh's Comments on the Pope's Alleged "Marxism" (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 5 Dec. 2013)  

51. Vatican: Scalfari Interview Misses Details, Conflates Facts (Edward Pentin,  National Catholic Register, 10-5-13)

52. Atheist interviewer didn’t take notes, record interview with Pope Francis: Vatican spokesman  (John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com, 10-7-13)

53. Pope Francis’s new letter to homosexual Catholics (9 things to know and share)  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-11-13)

54. Is Pope Francis going to let the divorced and remarried receive Communion?  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-22-13)

55. Why the media keep getting Pope Francis all wrong (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 11-7-13)

56. Papal Style: Caring for Souls while Leaving Doctrinal Exposition to Others (Dr. William Oddie , Crisis, 11-19-13)

57. Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. III. Being All About the Legislators of Evil in Illinois (Scott Eric Alt, 11-20-13)

58. Pope's words in interview may not have been his own, Scalfari says (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency,  11-21-13)

59. Only Fools RUSH in Where Angels Fear to Tread: Limbaugh Excoriates Pope Francis Unfairly (Fr. John Trigilio, 11-30-13)

60. Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up? (Patrick J. Deneen, The American Conservative, 12-5-13; mostly about economics)

61. The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism Puts Out a Hit on Francis (Mark Shea,  National Catholic Register, 12-5-13)

62. The Controversy Over Evangelii Gaudium  (Rachel Lu, Crisis Magazine, 12-9-13)

63. Pope Francis addresses Marxism charges, women cardinals in La Stampa interview (Catherine Harmon, The Catholic World Report, 12-15-13)

64. Pope Francis takes on allegations and rumors about his papacy: 9 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 12-15-13)

65. Pope Benedict Defends Francis on Markets and Ethics (Andrew M. Haines, 12-16-13, Ethika Politika)

66. Pope Francis on the “parable” of the loaves and fishes: 11 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-1-14)

67. Don’t fall for this Pope Francis hoax: 5 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-2-14)

68. Dialogue: Has Pope Francis Changed the Constant Catholic Prohibition of Contraception? (Dave Armstrong, 1-2-14)

69. What did Pope Francis say about the children of homosexual couples? 8 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-4-14)

70. Does Francis Really Have a Marxism Problem? (David Byrne, Crisis Magazine, 1-10-14)

71. Did Pope Francis baptize a baby whose parents aren’t married? 12 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 1-12-14)

72. "Those who are willing to understand Pope Francis, can and will do so. Those who aren't willing, won't, and possibly can't as well." (Dave Armstrong, Facebook,  1-18-14)

73. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part I. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli Speaks Untruths With Acid Certitude (Scott Eric Alt, 1-30-14)

74. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part II. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli Waxes Doltish on the Humanity of Popes (Scott Eric Alt, 2-1-14)

75. Il Papa’s Not a Rollin’ Stone  (Christopher Manion, Crisis Magazine, 2-3-14)

76. The War on Pope Francis (M. Anthony Mills, Real Clear Religion, 2-3-14) [economics issues]

77. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part III. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli is Introduced to Some Catholic Social Thought He Had Overlooked  (Scott Eric Alt, 2-4-14)

78. Quotes from Pope Francis [great website that notes the massive distortions and spin taking place about the pope; added on 2-8-14]

79. Judge Not (Tim Staples, Catholic Answers, 2-14-14) [Same-sex couples and homosexuality]

80. Vatican’s Cardinal Burke: Media is ‘mocking’ the Pope by creating a liberal caricature (Hilary White, LifeSiteNews, 2-25-14)

81. Does Pope Francis Think that Jesus was Literally a Sinner in a Sense Beyond Bearing Our Sins on the Cross (Partaking / Entering Into Sin)? (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 2-27-14)

82. "The New Gnosticism": The Outrage of Checking Translations of Papal Homilies (+ Elliot Bougis' Claims that Pope Francis is Heretical / Modernist / Liberal, or Reasonable Facsimile Thereof (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 2-28-14) 

83. Did Pope Francis just diss apologists? 9 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-9-14)

84. Francis and Traditionalist Catholics (Alberto Carosa, The Catholic World Report,  3-12-14)

85. The Media’s Fictional Francis (John Paul Shimek, The Catholic World Report, 3-13-14)

86. Pope Francis’s First Year (George Weigel, National Review Online, 3-13-14)

87. Did Pope Francis tell a divorced and civilly remarried woman she could receive Holy Communion? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 4-23-14)

88. Vatican responds to Francis’ call to Argentinian woman; more details emerge (Catherine Harmon, The Catholic World Report, 4-24-14)

89. Pope Francis: Zacchaeus and “legitimate redistribution” (Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, 5-9-14)

90. Breaking: Pope Francis is not an anarcho-capitalist (David Freddoso, Conservative Intelligence Briefing, 5-9-14)

91. Totally Missing the Pope Francis Story, Yet Again (Kathryn Jean Lopez , National Review Online, 5-9-14)

92. Reply to the Ridiculous Bum Rap that I (and Many Apologists) are "Ultramontanists" Who are Special Pleading and Defending the Pope No Matter What (as if his favorite color or ice cream were infallible, binding decrees) (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 5-12-14)

93. Muslim Prayers in the Vatican…Shock Horror?!!? (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing On My Head, 6-7-14) [+ follow-up article]

94. Pope Francis on Sound Doctrine, Memory, and Adoration (Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, 7-10-14, Views from the Choir Loft)

95. Ten Things to Remember if Pope Francis Upsets You (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing On My Head, 7-15-14)

96. Reply to a Critique of My Book, Pope Francis Explained, by Dr. Phil Blosser (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 8-24-14)

97. No scandal here: How the 20 couples married by Pope Francis were legit (Kevin Jones and Ann Schneible, Catholic News Agency, 9-15-14)

98. Sorry, But Media Coverage of Pope Francis is Papal Bull (Elizabeth Dias, Time,  10-29-14)

99. Is Pope Francis Duping Liberals on Marriage? (Paul Kengor, American Spectator, 11-21-14)

100. Pope Francis As Reformer, Evangelizer — And Doctrinal Conservative (National Public Radio; All Things Considered: review of The Great Reformer by Austin Ivereigh, 11-30-14)

101. What Hierarchy Really Means (By Eric Johnston, Crisis Magazine, 12-1-14)

102. The Pope's True Agenda (William Doino, Jr., First Things, 12-1-14)

103. No, Pope Francis Did Not Call the Koran a “Prophetic Book of Peace” (Thomas L. McDonald, God and the Machine, 12-5-14)

104. Pope Francis on Cardinal Burke (+ Discussion) (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 12-8-14)

105. Sorry, Fido. Pope Francis did Not say our pets are going to heaven (David Gibson, Religion News Service, 12-12-14)

106. Exchange on Pope Francis and the Church (Dave Armstrong vs. Tony Jokin; Facebook, 12-17-14)

107. Documentation: Pope Francis is Orthodox, Pro-Tradition and Against Modernism (Dan Marcum, Catholic Answers Forum, 1-9-15) 

108. Are We Called to be Hated by the World? Pope Francis and the Problem of Likeability (John Clark, Seton Magazine, 1-15-15)

109. The predictable provocations of the Pope of Rome ["Rabbits" controversy] (Deacon Scott Dodge, 1-19-15)

110. More Liberal Denial and Despair Over Pope Francis (Scott Eric Alt, 1-20-15)

111. Pope Francis and Catholic Rabbits–5 Points to Consider (Dr. Greg Popcak, Faith on the Couch, 1-20-15)

112. Don’t Pick Political Fights With Pope Francis (Rachel Lu, The Federalist, 1-20-15) 

113. Feeling Devastated by What Pope Francis Says? Try These 3 Helpful Keys (Thomas Peters, Catholic Vote.org,  1-21-15)

114. Christ "Became the Sinner": Pope Francis and Bad Translators (Dave Armstrong, Seton Magazine, 1-21-15)

115. Catholics Reproducing Like "Rabbits": The Essential Silliness of the Clueless Perceptions of Pope Francis' Perfectly Catholic and Orthodox Remarks (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 1-21-15) [+ Facebook discussion]

116. Rick Santorum Should Read the Transcript of Pope Francis’s “Rabbits” Remark. So Should Everyone Else (Scott Eric Alt, 1-21-15)

117. Jeremiad About Catholics Behaving in "Dumb" Ways with Regard to the Words of Pope Francis (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 1-22-15)

118. Debate About Pope Francis Supposedly Having "Foot-in-the-Mouth" Disease (Dave Armstrong, Facebook,  1-22-15)

119. On rabbits and number of offspring: What the Pope did and did not say (Vatican Insider, 1-22-15)

120. Pope Francis Shocks Liberals on Same-Sex “Marriage” (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 1-23-15)

121. Was Pope Francis Correct in Publicly Rebuking as "Irresponsible" a Woman Who Had Had Seven C-Sections? (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 1-23-15) [+ Facebook discussion]

122. Critique of Anti-Catholic John Bugay's Attack on Pope Francis Regarding the "Rabbits" Controversy (Scott Eric Alt, 1-23-15)

123. Pope Francis surprised by misunderstanding of his words on family (Catholic News Agency, 1-24-15)

124. When Pope Francis rips ‘proselytism,’ who’s he talking about? He really may not be talking about, or to, Catholics at all (John L. Allen, Jr., Crux, 1-27-15)

125. Anti-Papal Malarkey and Damnable Schism. Or, Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. X. Maureen Mullarkey Edition. (Scott Eric Alt, 1-28-15)

126. Understanding the Apocalyptic Vision of Pope Francis: The Church at war with the world underlies all (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Aleteia, 1-29-15)

127. Is the Left’s Honeymoon with Pope Francis Finally Over? (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 2-17-15)

128. VIP treatment for LGBT group at the Vatican? Not really (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency / EWTN News, 2-19-15)
129. Facebook Threads Regarding Whether Pope Francis is Being "Bashed" (Dave Armstrong + Part Two / Part III / 2-19-15 and 2-21-15)

130. "Why is Pope Francis so loved by the liberals?" (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 2-21-15)

131. I’m Shocked, Shocked to Find That There is Orthodoxy Going On In This Papacy [Market Watch and Daily Beast] (Scott Eric Alt, 2-23-15)

132. Is Pope Francis' Papacy a New Front for the Left? (Kate O'Hare, Breitbart, 1-3-14)

133. A Counterblast to Rush Limbaugh on Evangelii Gaudium 54 (Scott Eric Alt, 12-3-13)

134.   The game changer nobody has noticed [Pope Francis' closing remarks to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops] (Joe Garcia, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, 10-21-14)

135. Here We Go Again or "Lousy English Translations, Pt. CCXVIII" (Joe Garcia, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, 11-26-13)

136. Pope Francis: An Agenda Behind his Back? (Andrea Gagliarducci, MondayVatican, 2-23-15)

137. Concerning Recent Reports from the Blogosphere on the State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (Fr. Angelo M. Geiger, Mary Victrix, 2-18-15)

138. Pope Francis Defends Human Nature Against Gender Radicals (Anne Hendershott, Crisis Magazine, 2-25-15)

[see also my book, Pope Francis Explained: Survey of Myths, Legends, and Catholic Defenses in Harmony with Tradition; especially the Introduction]

* * * * *

Updated periodically with new relevant articles. Last update: 25 February 2015.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Books by Dave Armstrong: Cardinal Newman: Q & A in Theology, Apologetics, and Church History

 [in progress]


Facebook Excerpts

On the "Argument from Longing" [10 May 1828]

On the "Rule of Secrecy" ("Disciplina Arcani") and Development of Doctrine [26 Jan. 1834]

On How the Indwelling Holy Spirit Works in Us [29 Jan. 1835]

Prayer for the Dead is as Well-Attested in the Early Church as the Canon of Scripture [16 May 1838]

No Fundamental Difference Between Written and Oral Tradition [23 May 1838]

On the Definition of Grace [22 Jan. 1841]

Table of Contents
[tentative and in progress; the following is from 2-19-15, with the book 65 pages long]



Bibliographical Sources

I. Apologetics (p. 15)

Does Proclaiming Theological Truth Offend Some People?
Does the “Argument from Longing” Suggest that Heaven Exists?
How is Faith Related to Apologetic Inquiry?
Is Apologetics the Same as Proselytyzing?

II. Philosophy of Religion

What is “Philosophical Theology”?
Does Certainty Derive from Demonstration or Probabilities?
Is the Epistemology of Religion Primarily Subjective?
Must Christianity Necessarily be Proven, to be Rationally Held?
What is Rationalism and its Fundamental Deficiency?

III. Church History

IV. Development of Doctrine

What is the Rule of Secrecy, or “Disciplina Arcani”?
Does Development of Doctrine Tend to Lead One to Rome?

V. Anglicanism

Do Anglicans Regard Themselves as a Species of Protestantism?
Are the 39 Articles “Protestant” in Nature?
What Was the State of Anglicanism in 1835?
Has Anglicanism Unnecessarily Discarded Catholic Elements?

VI. Ecumenism

Can a Person Have Faith Without Having Heard the Gospel?
Can a Good Man in Another Religion Espouse Christianity?

VII. Lay Participation

VIII. Bible, Tradition, and Authority

How Fundamental is Revelation to Religious Truth?
Does Revelation Tend to be Unpredictable By its Very Nature?
What is the Relationship Between Revelation and Faith?
Does Revelation Have Rational Evidences in its Favor?
How Do We Come to Best Understand Scripture?
Are Church and Tradition Necessary to Understand the Bible?
Is the Canon of Scripture Based on Tradition Only?
Is Sola Scriptura (“Scripture Alone”) a True Principle?
Does Prior Bias Influence Scriptural Interpretation?
Should we Memorize Scripture?
In What Sense is the Authority of Scripture Supreme?
Is the Bible Materially Sufficient for Salvation?
Is the Bible Formally Sufficient for Salvation?
Does the New Testament Preclude Oral Tradition?
Is Oral Tradition Superior to Written Tradition?
Are Oral and Written Tradition Fundamentally Different?
How Should we Regard Extrabiblical Tradition?
What are Creeds?
Did the Jews Pass Down the Notion of Tradition to Christians?
Were the Apostles Ignorant of Tradition Until Pentecost?
Can One Possibly be Saved by Conscience Without Revelation?
Is Conscience an Autonomous Authority?

IX. Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology)

Is There Such a Thing as a Visible, Institutional Church?
Is the Church Infallible in Her Dogmas?
Is the Church Indefectible?
How Did Church Government Originate?
What are the Shortfalls of Contradictory Religious Opinions?
Who Tends to Jettison Orthodoxy in Order to Foster “Unity”?
How Shall we Regard Denominationalism and Sectarianism?
Should the Presence of Sinners in the Church Alarm Us?
Does the Bible Teach the Concept of Excommunication?
Is Excommunication a “Spiritual” Thing?
Is Christianity Difficult and a “Narrow Way”?
What is the Principle of Unity in the Church?
Must Bishops Always be Obeyed?

X. Theology of Salvation (Soteriology)

Are we Saved by Verbal or Creedal Professions Only?
How Do we Prove that we Have a Genuine Faith?
What are the Fruits and Objects of Faith?
What is “Fiducial Faith” or “Faith in Faith”?
Can we Obtain Absolute Assurance of Salvation?
How Can we Discern Another Man's Spiritual State?
How Important are Good Works According to Scripture?
How Close Is Anglican Justification to St. Robert Bellarmine's?
How Should Evangelists Approach Dying Persons?
What is Antinomianism, or “Cheap Grace”?
Is Preaching a Primary Instrument of Saving Faith?
What is the Goal of Preaching?

XI. Jesus Christ (Christology)

How Central is “Christ Crucified” in Christianity?

XII. God the Father (Theology Proper)

How Shall we Regard God's “Superintendence”?

XIII. The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) and Trinitarianism

How Does the Indwelling Holy Spirit Work in Us?
How Does the Holy Spirit Interact with Christians?

XIV. The Blessed Virgin Mary (Mariology)

XV. Angels and the Communion of Saints

How Eminent is Rome as a Place of Saints and Martyrs?
Was Prayer for the Dead an Apostolic Practice?
Was Prayer for the Dead Well-Attested in the Early Church?
Is Prayer for the Dead a Biblical Teaching?

XVI. Purgatory

Are There Experiences in This Life Analogous to Purgatory?

XVII. Penance and Asceticism

Should All Clergymen be Celibate?
Is Celibacy a “Higher” Calling?

XVIII. The Holy Eucharist

Is the Holy Eucharist Necessary for Salvation?
What Did Newman Believe About the Real Presence in 1834?

XIX. The Sacrifice of the Mass

What Does it Mean to Say That the Mass is a Sacrifice?

XX. Devotions, Liturgy, and Worship

What is the Relation of Faith and Emotions?
How Shall we Prevent Formal Prayers from Becoming Trite?
Are Shorter Form Prayers Preferable to Longer Ones?
What Makes The Lord's Prayer so Unique and Special?
How Relatively Important are Sermons for the Clergyman?
How Does Kneeling Help Us to Receive Christian Truths?
How Much Does Scripture Teach About Public Worship?

XXI. The Sacrament of Baptism

What is the Relation of Baptism to the Church?
How is Baptism Related to the Holy Spirit and Justification?

XXII. Sacraments and Sacramentals

How Do We Define a “Sacrament”?
What is the Relationship of Preaching to Sacraments?
What is the Sacrament of Confirmation?
Is the Sign of the Cross Permissible?

XXIII. Heaven and Hell

XXIV. Marriage, Divorce, and Annulment

Should Unbaptized Persons be Married by Christian Clergymen?
What Did the First Protestants Think of Polygamy?

XXV. Education

XXVI. Atheism, Agnosticism, Liberalism, and Secularism

What is Philosophical and Theological Liberalism?
How Should We Regard Theological Liberalism?
Are There Jewish Analogies to Christian Theological Liberals?
What is the Result of Resisting Theological Liberalism?
Where Does Accommodation to the “Spirit of the Age” Lead?
Is Atheism Fundamentally Bigoted Against Christianity?
Do Skeptics Assume Certain Premises Hostile to Christianity?
Will Atheism Satisfy the Deepest Longings of the Soul?

XXVII. Conversion (to Catholicism)

What Was Newman's View of the Catholic Church in 1834?
How Far Was Newman from the Catholic Church in 1837?

XXVIII. Science

XXIX. Miscellaneous

How Should Christians Regard Great Riches?
Is Exorcism a Legitimate Christian Practice?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The James Swan Insultapalooza Post

See my latest Facebook post about the outrageous double standards of Anti-Catholic James Swan, when it comes to insults of others.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reply to Kevin Tierney's Self-Described "Rant" About Lay Apologetics and Apologists

Kevin is a writer for the Catholic Lane and Catholic Exchange websites, and a "traditionalist." He posted this on his Facebook page on 1-27-15. I will cite his words in their entirety, in blue., and provide my $00.02 worth. I am one of these "professional lay apologists" that Kevin refers to (have been since December 2001). All "professional" means is that it is my "profession." I make my living by means of it. In my case, probably two-thirds to three-quarters of my (thus far, very meager) income is derived from book and article royalties, the rest from generous donations. Most of those who contribute to my work, I believe, credit it with having a direct influence in their own conversion or reversion to Catholicism.

I do "have a job," pay all my bills, have good credit, have been paying a mortgage for 15 years, support a wife and four children (who have all been home-schooled), don't use credit cards, and take a nice family vacation every year. We live in a typical lower middle class bungalow in the suburbs (though I just inherited a higher-grade house in even nicer suburbs). I mention this stuff only because criticisms of apologists who make their living at it are so prevalent and usually wrongheaded (I'm not referring to Kevin here; I am talking generally). I'm paying my bills and being perfectly responsible, and no one has any "right" to blast me for my chosen profession than they do to blast anyone else in any profession.

* * * * *

One of the more distinctly American developments in American Catholicism of the last 25 years has been the explosion of lay apologetics as not just an aspect of one's ministry/apostolate, but a ministry and apostolate unto its own. Bloggers style themselves "professional apologists" 

Yes they do. As I noted in the introduction, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. In fact, it is perfectly understandable since there are so many amateur apologists (anyone can call themselves one; what's to stop them?), it is sensible to let readers know that the person in question has studied more than the amateurs and does the work full-time. Most who are "professionals" do far more than just blogging. So Kevin is already setting up a bit of a straw man there.

and individuals like Dr. Taylor Marshall even will certify you an "expert" apologist if you attend his classes. 

I think a guy with a PhD can make such a claim, and that it is not unreasonable.  Is this somehow objectionable, too?

For various reasons, you mostly see this in America, or the very least, in developed countries. Starting with Karl Keating's Catholicism and Fundamentalism a cottage industry has grown out of apologetics, some even becoming millionaires off of "defending the faith." (Another distinctly American phenomena)

I don't make much money, yet I see double standards in how the more "well-off" apologists are criticized for having the money that they do. They have not taken a vow of poverty. Others in various professions are not also lambasted for making lots of money. Why center on Catholic apologists as if this is somehow inherently questionable? The assumption seems to be that they are doing something wrong simply by making good money, as if they haven't earned it or somehow should be faulted, by that fact alone. Riches are not condemned in the Bible; only the idolatry of riches.

While this movement had sustained growth, it has run into a bit of decline lately. For many, apologetics isn't as profitable as it once was. Working as an editor for a small Catholic website (and one who writes for a much larger one as well) I also know the market for strict apologetics is also down. 

This is true. I live with that reality every day.

When I have pointed this out in the past, I have been accused of "hating apologetics" and having some sort of disdain towards apologists.

I don't know why. It's a simple fact. Now, if it is said that I should somehow stop doing what I do and have been called to because "the market is down," then I would object to it as irrelevant -- as long as I can pay my bills, doing what I've been doing.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have had apologists write for me. Having originally made my bones in apologetics, I carry a deep respect for it. I still to this day have a working relationship with several apologists, and they often serve as idea men for my columns. Whenever I begin a new series, I ask them to be my critic. 

I have described Kevin's views about apologetics and apologists in the past as a "love-hate relationship."

The critically acclaimed (ironically by several prominent apologists) Bad Evangelist Club came about because of discussions I had with a pretty well known apologist blogger who suggested I use my writers to explore the subject of common errors apologists make or have seen, as told by those apologists.
It is not apologetics that I have opposed. Rather, it is a certain commercializing of apologetics that has helped divorce it from its original purpose. 

Fair enough. But that is a very complex topic: not given to simplistic treatment. People have to make a living, and there is a business aspect to things, just as with anything else; as with every parish. If a person is qualified and called to it (determined by others in authority over them), they should make their living doing apologetics.

I also oppose the polarization of apologetics that is practicing apologetics from ideological factions, rather than for the service of the Church as a whole. 

So do I.

In place of this I support and advocate those who are beginning to return to the proper roots of apologetics, who I'll mention more of. I'll just briefly touch on all of these topics. I don't want to hear "well I don't do such and such." That's good. Want a cookie? You're not getting a donation, a cookie will have to suffice. Nobody cares what you are doing. Seriously, they don't. You being innocent has no bearing on the fact it's a real issue, and something that needs to be considered.

There is some of the "anti-apologetics" (and rather silly and frivolous) strain in Kevin's thought:  "Nobody cares what you are doing."

I also hope my words can help put into context recent statements by Pope Francis opposing the "apologetics approach" when dealing with non-Catholics. A lot of Catholics are worried or troubled by these statements, but they really shouldn't be. While I'm not sure his "ecumenism of encounter" is the right idea, or that people are actually doing what he calls for, I really think there's something to what he says that, even if we end up disagreeing, we shouldn't dismiss it right away.

He was not opposing apologetics. The remark was made in a homily on 25 January 2015. The context was "past controversies between Christians": where apologetics is not appropriate, but rather, ecumenical striving after unity ought to be front and center.

The woman of Sychar asks Jesus about the place where God is truly worshiped. Jesus does not side with the mountain or the temple, but goes deeper. He goes to the heart of the matter, breaking down every wall of division. He speaks instead of the meaning of true worship: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24). So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity – we are convinced – will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realize that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonizes diversities, overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences.

Pope Francis hasn't "dissed" apologetics, as Jimmy Akin shows.

1.) Apologetics is a reasoned case for "the hope that lies within" that must always be conducted with charity, so says the Apostle Peter. 

Yep. 1 Peter 3:15.

This is different from evangelization (pronouncing the message) and catechesis (showing how that message can lead to a better life as a Christian), but it cannot be truly separated. 

That's correct. They all go together.

Indeed, to separate them is to present apologetics in a vacuum. It is something all Christians are called to, not a few, not the experts, everyone. 

Yes. But it doesn't follow that some should not devote their lives to it, as a profession. Because I have hours and hours of time, doing this all day, I can develop work that folks who are employed elsewhere would never have the time to do.

All should be able to give an accounting for why they have hope in Christ, and to understand the basic doctrines of the Gospel. This is why calling yourself an apologist does not make you one, nor does receiving a certificate from some university make you an expert at said apologetics. Some are obviously better at it than others, but that does not make them apologists as say one may call themselves a licensed catechist or a licensed theologian.

It depends on how one defines it. Was G. K. Chesterton an apologist? Most would think so. He had no "license." He had no formal theological education. He had hardly any college education at all (a few art classes for part of a year and no degree).  Frank Sheed was a lawyer (so was Karl Keating originally). Malcolm Muggeridge was a journalist. Thomas Howard was an English professor and Peter Kreeft is a philosophy professor.
2.) In today's apologetics subculture, apologetics is turned into a specialized discipline where little attention is paid to catechesis or evangelization. Or, even worse, they equate apologetics with evangelization, so when they engage in an internet forum war, they are really doing the work of evangelization.

I see nothing inherently wrong in specialization, as long as the importance of these other aspects is not denied.

3.) Another danger in apologetics is it presents the Catholic Faith primarily as a set of ideas and doctrines to be defended. 

Again, since apologetics deals largely with the rational component of religion, this is to be expected. In that respect it is similar to systematic theology.  It doesn't follow that the apologist is therefore minimizing other aspects of the faith, anymore than a monk who concentrates on prayer is against theology or apologetics.

As Fulton Sheen famously said, Catholics do not worship a dogma, we worship a person. That person is Jesus Christ. All of our missionary outreach, whether apologetics, catechesis or evangelization must be firmly grounded in two persons: Jesus Christ, and the individual we are speaking to. Apologetics is a manner of relating to the spiritual needs of an individual, not combating or defending a set of intellectual propositions against this or that group. 

Absolutely. This is why St. Paul said, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by any means save some of them."

How much of internet apologetics is based off of this relational approach? When we do apologetics, how often are we friends with the person we are explaining the faith to? I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that this relational approach has almost evaporated from apologetics, just like it has evaporated from so many other facets of our "self-referential Church", to use the words of Pope Francis.

I think that is true many times, but not of those who know how to do apologetics well. Facebook, for all its faults, does cultivate a lot of personal relationships. I certainly feel that that is true on my page. I talk to my friends every day and interact with their concerns.  I try to be friends with those I am dialoguing with, because Plato and Socrates stated that friendship and mutual respect were required in any constructive dialogue.

4.) Since it is often done without this relational approach, it often loses its ability to speak to who needs to hear that message. While the apologetics subculture boomed, did conversions follow? 

Yes. Anyone can verify this by asking any Catholic (especially converts) who influenced them on their journey. I myself can produce multiple hundreds of reports that my work helped people become Catholics or more confident, educated Catholics.

Did relationships improve between Christians because of the apologetics movement? 

I don't know. It's tough to judge that. I hope so!

How often did Protestants come away with a better understanding of apologetics because of the work of Catholic apologists? 

I think the ones who are not hostile have learned a ton of things in this way.

Sure, it reached a wide audience, but how much change occurred? This isn't to say it did nothing. Just that its a discussion worth having. 

I believe it has had a wide influence, and for good. It's easy to sit on the sidelines as an "armchair quarterback" and simply take shots. Kevin is out there writing articles and trying to influence people, just as we are. What sense would it make for me to sit here and say, "what impact do Kevin's articles have? How much did they change people?" That's in God's hands. His job is to write about Catholic truth as well as possible, according to the gifts that God gave him. The true and the good have their own inherent power and will produce good fruit.

While many profited, did the Church always benefit as a result? 


The shrinking of Catholicism in the modern era cannot be blamed on apologetics, but it does tell us that there needs to be more. 

Of course. There are a host of problems in the Church. But where people know their apologetics, their faith is usually thriving and vibrant.

Apologists shouldn't get so defensive whenever this is pointed out.

I'm not defensive at all. 

5.) There are ultimately limits to apologetics. In order for apologetics to work, there needs to be crystal clear truth, and crystal clear error. While this might happen with those outside the Church, adopting an apologetics approach with those inside the Church is a lot trickier. One cannot adopt an apologetics approach when discussing the Latin Mass and traditionalists (or charismatics and others for that matter) because the debate is often not between truth and error, but (provided it is done properly) between positions that Holy Mother Church has deemed acceptable to hold.

I agree.
6.) Applying this approach to other matters leads to apologists setting themselves up as a sort of mini-magesterium, or a "magesterium of the magesterium" if you will. Recently, the subject of waterboarding and torture appeared. Most of the debate was focused on what lay apologists said about torture, rather than what trained theologians, and ultimately what the Magesterium said. 

I was involved in that dispute as one of the supposedly "controversial" persons, and this is a caricature. In my own studies on the topic, I appealed to Fr. Brian Harrison, who is a moral theologian.  The magisterium has stated that torture is intrinsically evil. No one disagrees with that. The debate is over the line between torture and permissible interrogation. Since the Church has not made clear every iota of specificity in that discussion, Catholics are free to discuss it and have different opinions.

I was accused (repeatedly) of setting myself up as a "magisterium": which is absolutely ludicrous. I made it crystal clear again and again that I was not any sort of authority on this issue, and was simply rendering my personal opinion (which at that time was agnostic as to waterboarding, and fully in support of the Church's view that torture is intrinsically evil). Hence, in a "clarification" post on 12-30-15 I wrote:

It's the Church's job to fully clarify vexed issues. I then go out and defend what Holy Mother Church has definitively taught. Until then, there is room for different opinions (except in the mind of legalistic, obsessed fanatics). I think actual moral theologians in the Church ought to clarify it, not me. I'm not qualified. This is a very complex issue. If Fr. Harrison isn't good enough for the ranting fanatics going on and on about this (or Jimmy Akin, if we want to cite a lay apologist), sure as Hades whatever I decided wouldn't be sufficient for anyone. It doesn't MATTER in the end what opinion I have on this if the Church hasn't made it clear. What is crystal clear is that laymen who are not the magisterium are not the magisterium. That's the first rule of logic: a = a.

Lay apologists are not trained to make such decisions. 

Which is precisely what I stated above . . .  neither are lay writers like Kevin. The ones who were dogmatic about this did not come from the apologetics camp at all. Ross Earl Hoffman started reading everyone and their uncle's third cousin out of orthodox Catholicism because they didn't agree with him on waterboarding. He has no credentials. He's been a Catholic for six years. He's no apologist at all. When he has tried it, he has done a lousy job (and I and many others tried to encourage him not to attempt apologetics). Consequently, during this whole fracas he alienated literally all of his closest friends before the mess started: most of whom actually agreed with him that waterboarding is torture.

Another dogmatic anti-waterboarding figure who wanted to read many people out of orthodox Catholicism was Pete Vere, JCL. He's a canon lawyer and chaplain, not an apologist. A third (and the major one) was Mark Shea, who is an apologist, yet doesn't want to even call himself one anymore (I saw him state that somewhere recently).

A famous example of this well known amongst apologists is when one started holding some extreme positions, and many apologists started speculating if there was a mental breakdown or something behind it. Dr. Arthur Sippo, a lay apologist but also a trained medical doctor, rebuked them by pointing out they were lay apologists who had no qualification or insight to offer those conclusions, so they shouldn't even try. 

That's great, except that I have seen Art (a friend) countless times psychoanalyzing Protestants (i.e., ones who were not his patients), including historic ones like Martin Luther. So he may "preach" that but many times he doesn't follow his own advice.

The only job an apologist has in the torture debate is to explain in a general sense why torture is immoral, point out who says it is immoral, and leave anything further (such as if certain acts constitute torture) to moral theologians and the magesterium. 

That's precisely what I did, and what I found was that the data was clear as to torture in general; not so clear as to whether waterboarding is torture. And that is what I reported to my readers.  Recently I moved to a position where I regard waterboarding as abuse that should never be done, but not torture. Kevin and his friends liked that and called it a "victory" but then, of course, they are interpreting the magisterium as well, just as we apologists are. Goose and gander . . .

Or you should, to the extent possible make clear you are taking off your apologist hat, if you insist on referring to yourself as a "professional apologist" when you discuss whether or not certain things are torture.

I agree. I was massively lied about and misrepresented. I did everything Kevin is calling for here. It didn't matter. The fanatical "more Catholic than thou" zealots were on their crusade and mere facts and accuracy were the very last thing that concerned them.
7.) During that debate, we got another example of the nastiest part of the current apologetics subculture: it is heavily based around cults of personality. They style themselves more as warlords with who has the biggest following based on website hits, facebook likes, cash reserves, etc. Often, these apologists clash in a hoss fight, and said hoss fight is presented as apologetics, two guys (typically men yes) with big egos shouting at each other or thinking of who can devise the most creative insult and verbally shred their foe. It is the language of combat and war, not of the Gospel. As an avid fan of professional wrestling, this kind of approach makes for great entertainment in the squared circle, where muscle bound meatheads cut promos and dazzle the crowds with their combat prowess. Is apologetics best served by the WWE approach?

Once again, it was not apologists who led this tendency, but non-apologists like Ross Earl Hoffman or apologists who deliberately decide not to act like apologists (Mark Shea). If Kevin wants to dispute that, let him name names, as I have done. The ones I have named have been engaging in character assassination for two months now at least. Jimmy Akin hasn't entered the arena at all. He is the apologist who has written the most (and I think most thoughtfully and provocatively) about it. I entered into it but have spent time clarifying my position and defending myself against rank calumnies, not calling people names, saying they are lousy Catholics, lying about what they believe, and acting like a pompous ass.

8.) Thankfully, not all apologists are like this. Some of the old timers try (though not always succeed) to stick to this form of apologetics. Others try to do their best to help the audience see which hat they are wearing. While this is good, my hope mostly rests in a lot of the newer apologists who are making a name for themselves on the "independent" circuit if you will. They aren't professional apologists, nor are they certified expert apologists, but they are doing innovative apologetics nonetheless. 

Good for them.

There are those like Joseph Heschmeyer, an apologetics blogger who is also a seminarian. He will always be a good apologist, but it will be one tool in the arsenal of a Catholic priest. There is David Gray, whom apologetics is based on only one part of his ministry. I see those like Shaun McAfee, who use apologetics as one only one arrow in his quiver of various social media promotions to help people understand the faith and become better Christians. I look at Facebook superevangelists like Delali Godwin Adadzie, who do apologetics, but also spend time managing a billion facebook devotional groups helping people to improve their prayer life. It is my hope over the next decade more apologists begin to incorporate with greater frequency the relational approach these individuals are using, which views apologetics as but one tool to deepen relationships with others and with Christ.

I think that is an excellent trend. I see no reason to oppose those who do apologetics full-time, because these guys (most of them friends of mine) do a great job at it, part-time. I did it part-time, too, for eleven years.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Kevin Tierney, and what I have described is not only possible but inevitable. It's not a preview of the future of apologetics, is a spoiler. If apologetics is to thrive, this is the only way.

It's not the only way. Kevin has given us zero reasons for thinking that full-time "professional" apologists somehow have to be ashamed of what they do, or that they are on the way out. Every field has those who devote themselves entirely to it. Since all are called to do apologetics, there will obviously be a lot of part-time and amateur apologists, too. We need not play the either/or game.

* * * * *

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Live Chat" Exchange with Mark Shea on Waterboarding

I tried, folks. I mightily tried. I summoned (only by God's grace, believe me) every last fiber and nerve in me of patience, and was willing to be a punching bag for two hours, in order to achieve rational dialogue with Mark. You be the judge. This took place in the wee hours of 1-30-15 and was about 75 minutes in duration. Mark's words will be in blue.

* * * * *

The huge irony in all this insofar as I have been attacked is that I am agnostic on waterboarding (as to whether it is torture or not), not an advocate of it, let alone for torture. I have moved closer to thinking that waterboarding may be torture, based on an excellent article I read on the Unam Sanctam Catholicam website, and by dialoguing with a certain person who is able to talk about the issue minus the gratuitous and juvenile epithets. I sure ain't gonna change my mind through the tactics of being compared to Holocaust deniers, Nazis, and Americanists. As always, I change my mind by rational persuasion and being shown either compelling biblical or magisterial data.

I don't enjoy being an agnostic about anything. It's not my nature. But I'd rather be that than intellectually dishonest. So here I am. Insult away, or else try to use reason, that I am altogether willing to hear and interact with.

Mark Shea said that anyone holding my position [agnostic on whether waterboarding is torture and intrinsically evil] is "insane". . .]

Moi aussi. I've had almost no conversation with you, Dave, but somehow you've decided to apply stuff I've said in other contexts to yourself. If the shoe fits wear it, I guess. But I have no idea if the shoe fits you. You decided that for yourself. So I don't even know what I'm supposed to apologize for.

You said that anyone who held this position was "insane" during the short time you visited my Facebook page (which is quite in "my context"). It's a simple logical deduction:

1. "Anyone who believes y is insane."

2. x believes y.

3, Therefore, x must be insane.

Surely you can grasp this logic. It has nothing to do with whether I decided if the shoe fit or not. I have never believed that I was insane. You decided that all of us who disagree wear this "shoe" of "insanity" (and a host of other things). Then when called on it, this is the lame response you invariably make, as if we are paranoid and illogically applying what you said yourself.

I didn't ask you to apologize. I merely mentioned you in connection with my observation that those of your position have come up with "a very colorful collection of epithets."

Another prime example of the ridiculous sophistry that you regularly bring to this topic is to say that folks are advocating "drowning" when they think waterboarding is permissible. Newsflash: it ain't drowning: which results in a dead person. It's not even attempted drowning. But that doesn't stop you from your sophistry.

And the weirdest thing about it is your assumption that your readers are too stupid to not know that waterboarding is not drowning . . . It sounds great as a magnificent insult, I guess, so it is used repeatedly, no matter how inane and vacuous it is. 

Waterboarding is an attempt to make a person in his fright and fear (and based on the normal reaction of the instinctual portions of the brain) think he may be drowning.

But as I have said, if soldiers are routinely trained in it, then they know going in that they ain't gonna drown, and that seems significant to me, though I grant that it likely wouldn't make the experience much less frightening than it is. The person would simply know in their mind, "they are not gonna kill me by drowning."

Mark doesn't "respond." He preaches and polemicizes on these sorts of issues, and I'm not interested in that.  "Dialogue" (ha ha) with him is nonexistent after he gets on his soapbox.

Mkay. Whatever.

Yes, whatever. The usual . . .  

Dave: What do you want? I offered to discuss it. You come back with the stuff above, so I drop it. . . . Sheesh. 

I don't want anything from you. You don't discuss this issue.

What issue? What are you talking about?

I am sick and tired of sophistry and hyper-polemics. Period. It's not personal. It's not being sensitive or being hurt. It is a principled objection to your warping of discussion when waterboarding comes up.

Dave; The only sophistry comes from people who have labored for ten years to pretend that torture is compatible with Catholic teaching, that waterboarding (for which we hanged Japanese) is not torture, that torture is so mysterious and impossible to define that we have to just go ahead and approve of whatever it is the CIA did to prisoners. Beyond this, my point to you, if memory serves, is that it is the height of folly, after the disclosure of the horrors of the Senate Report, for Catholics above all to continue to try to split hairs over waterboarding. It's like abortion defenders deploying millions of word to argue over whether Kermit Gosnell washed his hands or only wiped them off on his smock. Like that matters.
And yeah, that is insane.

As to the exhausted, futile, and deeply stupid question "Is waterboarding really and truly torture?" I totally concur with and always recommend this exhaustive look at the question: Posts About Waterboarding on Zippy Catholic But at this late date, the whole stupid attempt by Catholics to justify this filth is like a defense attorney at Nuremburg throwing all his energies into trying to show that Goering was not guilty of jaywalking. The gnat/camel inversion ratio would be comically crazy if it were not such a humiliating stain on "faithful conservative prolife" Catholic honor.

Is any physical interrogation permissible at all? This is what bothers me and what hardly anyone seems to want to work through. I suspect that if someone could give me a clear principle on that, that I could resolve my own agnosticism on this.

Dave: Tolle, lege: [link to the book, How to Break a Terrorist] The guy is a professional interrogator. We had long-standing rules for ethical interrogation before Bush/Cheney authorized torture. Instead of trying to figure out how brutal we can be, why not ask "How do we treat prisoners humanely and get the intel we need?" Turns out those two projects are not in opposition. 

Sure. How do we do that? That is my question. Is anything physical whatever permissible towards that end? Can, e.g., a cop can kill a child abuser holding a sexual slave (i.e., in the classic hostage scenario), but he can't slap him on the wrist to find out about said slave's whereabouts?

I repeat: Why is it so urgent for you to find out how much abuse you can heap on a prisoner instead of asking "How can we treat prisoners humanely and get the intel we need?" It's like its more important to find a rationale for abuse than to get the intel. Read the book. it's about the answer to your question.

That book talks about non-physical methods (which are great: more power to him). I am asking whether we can ever lay a hand on anyone at any time (because the Church has certainly sanctioned some version of that for centuries). You say no to that, too?

I'm not trying to abuse anyone. I'm trying to find out the underlying ethical principles that can guide us in this stuff, just as just war theory guides wars.

I will read the book. But I need to have other questions plausibly answered, too, in order to become persuaded of your position.

You apparently missed my question: So a cop can kill a child abuser holding a sexual slave (i.e., in the classic hostage scenario), but he can't slap him on the wrist to find out about said slave's whereabouts?  

I am a Socratic.  

There is no Catholic document delineating every species of torture just as there is not document delineating every conceivable form of sexual perversion. The Church does not proceed by saying "See how close you can get to mortal sin but don't quite do it." It starts with the good. In this case, the good of human dignity. The Church gives a positive command, not a list legalistic prohibition attached to the words "Simon Peter says." There. is. no. definitive. list.of. torture, Dave. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. There is the command to treat prisoners humanely. Do that and you will not accidentally torture them or waste time trying to figure out how hard and often you can punch or drown them before it's torture. Why is it so important to want to know that you can beat up a prisoner?

Are any physical methods of interrogation permissible, in your view? Simple yes or no answer. You don't have to psychoanalyze me, engage in psycho-babble, polemicize, spin, use wonderful turns of phrase. Just Yes.Or.No.

I don't want to do anything. I want guidelines and I want to understand and work through the premises involved in this.

So we are left with the expertise of people who do this work, Matthew Alexander is an expert in interrogation. Bishops are not. They give the guideline and good interrogators give us tips on how that guideline has been met without torture and abuse.

Why are you asking people with zero experience in interrogation? Why not read Alexander and find out how humane interrogation is done?

I assume you mean by "physical" "inflicting pain or terror"? Why do you want to do that so badly when it is not necessary?

You do get that just war and human interrogation are not opposites but the same thing, right?

The guideline is "treat prisoners humanely".

AKA "Do what the Army Field Manual said to do before Bush/Cheney broke with decades of practice and started torturing people. Not complicated.

What did that manual say? Could POWs be physically dealt with?

The premise is "man is made in the image and likeness of God". Therefore do not torture him.

No one is advocating torture.
It's like pulling teeth to get answers out of you. If people want to hide things, they avoid simple questions, as you have been doing again and again.

Why do you keep saying "physically dealt with" when you mean "subjected to physical pain or terror in order to break his will". That is what you mean, right?

No, Dave. Prisoners are to be treated humanely.

Can the person who has sexual slaves who are starving be slapped in order to find out where they are?

So prisoners can't be touched at all?

Of course they can be touched. But you can't beat them up, as you clearly long to do. Because the goal is to get intel, not torture them. I'm saying they cannot be slapped. That's abuse.

So the touching is stroking their hair? I get it.

I'm also saying that is sick and weird to hear a Catholic apologist laboring with intensity to try to figure out when a defenseless prisoner can be beaten.

Do you understand what a socratic discussion is, Mark? 

And now we get the old "It's torture or kisses on the nose" lie.

Oh, brother. 

Maybe not. Probably not, by the looks of it.

Dude, go read the Alexander book. At present, your obvious goal is to figure out a way to rationalize beating prisoners, since you assume that is necessary in the fantasy scenarios you are constructing to rationalize beating prisoners. I'm saying get out of your fantasy world and go read something by somebody who has done the work without torturing anybody.

Right, Mark. Gotcha.  

Shea out. Too much surreality for me.

Too much sophistry for me. 
* * * * *

[the next day]

Dave: When your entire approach is to seek a rationale for slapping a defenseless person and to spend tremendous intellectual energy on trying to figure how hard you can slap him, how many times, and how to do that without being nailed for torture and abuse--all in the name of Catholic apologetics, don't be surprised when somebody says, "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."The real Catholic approach is not to try to figure out how much abuse you can get away with, but to ask "How do we treat prisoners humanely and get the intel we need?" The witness of reality is that these two projects are harmonious, not opposed. 

My entire approach is to seek truth by means of the socratic method, as I have always done (well, at least since Philosophy 0101 in 1977). You obviously understand neither socratic method, nor elementary Christian ethics, because you are lightning-quick to accuse and mind-rape. This is serious sin.

Dave; With respect, your quest to find a rationale for slapping defenseless people is as socratic as "when did you stop beating your wife?" Begin with the wrong question, arrive at the wrong conclusion.

Your bullying tactics don't work with me, Mark. I'm not scared of you and never have been. You don't and won't shut me up by your ranting and raving and chest-puffing and "orthodoxy cop" schtick (that you condemned for years and now do yourself). You can whine and squawk and use sophistry all you like. It doesn't work. I see right through it. I know what is in my own head and in my heart. You do not, and never will, as long as you use your considerable intellectual abilities and energies to lie about others and slander and caricature.

Ranting and raving and chest-puffing? What are you talking about? I'm stating facts. The Church begins with "treat prisoners humanely", not "Try to figure out a rationale for slapping and drowning them".

I don't think you're lying and neither said nor implied that. I think you are proceeding from a set of unconscious assumptions and therefore beginning with the wrong question, Dave.

To the contrary, if I repeatedly clarify, "I am not thinking x at all," and you come back repeatedly with "why are you thinking and asserting x??!!" then you have assumed that I am lying about my own internal state, whether you actually say that outright or not. It follows from inexorable logic. It's neither logical nor charitable thought. I'm the world's biggest expert (among human beings, anyway) on what goes on in my own head and heart.

When you repeatedly press for a rationale for slapping and drowning people, don't be surprised if people hear you pressing for a rationale for slapping and drowning people and respond accordingly, Dave. You may not realize that is what you are doing, but that is what you are doing.

Right. You're incapable of true philosophical discussion: at least if it is a topic that you preach and rant and rave about (as this one is). You don't know how to do it. Actual philosophers (Feser and Beckwith) noted this years ago (on this topic).

You don't get it. So because you don't get what I am doing, and can't grasp it (because it is a different view from your own), you feel compelled to caricature it and come up with this pompous bilge of "You may not realize that is what you are doing, but that is what you are doing."

Mostly it comes from hostility, which confuses clear thinking every time. A non-hostile Christian would never in a million years treat a fellow Catholic the way I have been treated here. It's disgraceful. The hostility poisons personal relations and logical thought alike.

There's the "drowning" thing again, which is a fallacy from the get-go. No one is drowning. No one is advocating it. Nothing is drowning (except for the idiotic pseudo-"thinking" that resides between your ears when you engage in such sophistry). You are drowning in sophistry and stupid rhetoric. That's the only "drowning" here.

In short, Dave, I am not your enemy. You have repeatedly pressed me for my views on torture and the sundry apologetics for waterboarding (aka torture). I've given them. I've also made clear that, since the release of the Senate Report, Catholic attempts to rationalize waterboarding are like attempts to show that Goering was not guilty of jaywalking. Folly, and a source of scandal. Beyond that, I have little to add. if you approach the question as the Church does, asking "How do we treat prisoners humanely and get the intel we need?" you will get reasonable answers to reasonable questions. If you start by trying to figure out how much slapping and drowning you can inflict on a defenseless prisoner, you will end in confusion and anger, because you are starting wrong. You can tell me I'm incapable of a truly philosophical discussion all you like, but them's the facts and pretty much all I've ever had to say. God bless you, Dave. I hope you come to peace, truth, and light about this. 

Thank you and God bless you too. I hope you stop grossly caricaturing and lying about others' views and motivations, minus which you can't possibly have peace of soul and heart, because it is serious sin.

God bless you, Dave.

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[see also the accompanying Facebook discussion about this]