Torturing the Doctrine of Infallibility
July 7, 2008 § 11 Comments
From a combox at Mark Shea’s blog:
Now if the Church allowed for the morality of torture[*], and now appears to prohibit it not just prudentially, but on moral grounds, then the Church would have been in error about a teaching of morals all those years, … Meaning She would have failed in her Divine mission to teach men infallibly what they must do to be saved.
Funny how this is never accompanied by an infallibly-taught doctrine that torture is morally licit. Kevin Miller had the number of this argument when it first came up:
Considering that much of Harrison’s conclusion is logically dependant – not only on his history – but also on the assertion that it’s something like ecclesiologically impossible for the Church to have approved of something that turns out to be intrinsically evil (in effect, then, that when the Church, in what would otherwise be a non-infallible act, approves of action X, then this amounts to an infallible teaching that X is not intrinsically evil) – I’m not sure why a detailed response is necessary. “What is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied.” [Emphasis mine]
[*] Note that this is a tendentious reading of history; but even if we stipulate it to be unproblemmatically true, it doesn’t matter.