What's interesting to me in the torture debate is to see how a hermeneutic of continuity can be maintained between different church eras. I suppose it's just the development of doctrine at work, a form of which we've seen elsewhere.
In a case of Prot v. Prot (the term 'Prot' meant endearingly), we have these two comments:
Speaking as a Protestant, it seems to me that the so-called "purification of memory" has been carefully attended to in the case of Catholic-Jewish relations, where the Church was _far_ less directly involved, and has been rather neglected in Catholic-Protestant relations.... to which came the response:
As a self identified Protestant, and as a matter of both courtesy and charity, I respectfully request that you read Catholic documents before you criticize the Catholic Church's history. Both before and after the publication of this Bull every Pope, Council, Doctor of the Church or Saint who explicitly taught the faithful on morality of torture taught that torture is immoral.(Now to parse the difference between "Speaking as a Protestant" and "As a self-identified Protestant"...)
I was amused by Lydia McGrew's "You think the way they got robbers and thieves to confess was by playing loud music to them in the middle of the night?" It's hard not to see the 1300s as a rougher age, though Richard C. attempts to make the case:
The unvarnished truth is that neither you or I know hardly anything about Innocent IV and 13th Century Lombardy. We do know that this Papal Bull is being used by some Catholics to morally justify torture and to call into question the validity of Vatican II and the Post Conciliar Popes. We also know that it is being used by anti-Catholic bigots to justify their hatred of the Church.Commenter Billy cut to the chase:
My personal opinion is that the Church is indicating acts of torture are immoral, and there are indeed acts of coercion that are immoral, and therefore (surprise: apparently new formulation of doctrine) some past practices were damnable and ought to be damned. And at the same time the recent teaching is not YET trying to indicate that all forms of coercion are of themselves, of their very nature, intrinsically immoral , (as, for starters, some acts that would not normally rise to the degree of harshness that we associate with the term torture) - the new position is trying to leave some space for further development, further elucidation as time goes on. That is, while She may indeed wish to condemn as evil all torture, She does not at this time wish to declare as intrinsically evil all forms of coercion because the subject needs more development.
As a result, She treads somewhat lightly on dealing with a broad category that includes torture but also includes acts that do not arise to "torture". Calling the entire category "intrinsically evil" without distinction seems beyond what the Church wishes to teach at this time.