Saturday, January 23, 2010

Torture is a life issue

Yesterday in Washington D.C., the March for Life commemorated the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade. Today, the Walk for Life is reminding San Franciscans (and, hopefully, the whole west coast) that the culture of life is alive and well in their midst.

These public acts focus on abortion, which is appropriate. Abortion has been a tremendous threat to human dignity for the past three-and-a-half decades.

It's absolutely clear to me, though, that the same reasoning that underlies a defense of the unborn also underlies a defense of prisoners against torture. That is, the fundamental dignity of the human person.

What does human dignity mean?

If every person has a basic dignity, regardless of any actions that person may take or any attributes that person many have, then there are certain implications.

  1. Every person shares something in common with every other person - namely, that foundational dignity, worth, and value

  2. That dignity is not subject to loss; no one can take away another's worth as a person, because that dignity is part of actually being a person

  3. That inalienable dignity requires a certain level of respect and honor, which I suggest minimally implies the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you

So, we ought not murder babies in the womb, because they are persons just as we are, and murder is a crime against their dignity just as much as it is against ours.

Likewise, we ought not torture prisoners, because they are persons just as we are, and torture is a crime against their dignity just as much as it is against ours.

Where does dignity come from?

I expect most readers of this blog, at least at first, will be Catholics. With my fellow Christians, I hope there will be no argument that our dignity comes as a gift from God, first by creation, and second by the redemption wrought by our Savior, Jesus Christ. This gift is given to all humanity by God himself, who sends his rain on the just and the unjust alike.

But, for those non-Christians who are reading, I hope it is clear that - whatever source you ascribe human dignity to - this dignity is universally inherent in being human, or it is no basis for morality at all. If "rights" or "values" depend on the situation, or on the will of the people, or on the letter of the law, then there is no reason that you or I could not be subjected to any level of harm - and have no legitimate recourse.

Simply as a practical matter, ascribing dignity to any and every human being makes sense, and the golden rule becomes a basis for moral reasoning.

Therefore, I ask anyone who opposes abortion, anyone who defends human rights in any capacity, to see that we are on the same side: we defend the dignity of the human person against any threat. Any threat to one is a threat to all.


  1. You know of course that the Church endorsed torture from 1252 AD til 1816 AD (see documentation below from Fr. Brian Harrison and new advent) which would mean that the Church endorsed an intrinsic evil for 600 years on a moral issue if torture is an intrinsic evil?
    So there is a dogmatic theology problem. Ludwig Ott in his Introduction to the Fundamentals of the Catholic Faith just prior to section 9 notes that the ordinary magisterium can make mistakes in the moral area but to endorse an intrinsic evil is not something I have ever read. But I am willing to be corrected in that.

    Here is Fr. Brian Harrison on the 1252 date from his part II Torture essay at the Roman Forum:

    " Pope Innocent IV, Bull Ad Exstirpanda (May 15, 1252). This fateful document introduced confession-extorting torture into tribunals of the Inquisition. It had already been reinstated in secular processes over the previous hundred years, during which Roman Law was being vigorously revived. Innocent’s Bull prescribes that captured heretics, being "murderers of souls as well as robbers of God’s sacraments and of the Christian faith, . . . are to be coerced – as are thieves and bandits – into confessing their errors and accusing others, although one must stop short of danger to life or limb".33

    Here is the new advent article on the Inquisition saying the same thing:

    "In this way Gregory IX may be regarded as having had no share either directly or indirectly in the death of condemned heretics. Not so the succeeding popes. In the Bull "Ad exstirpanda" (1252) Innocent IV says:

    When those adjudged guilty of heresy have been given up to the civil power by the bishop or his representative, or the Inquisition, the podestà or chief magistrate of the city shall take them at once, and shall, within five days at the most, execute the laws made against them.

    Moreover, he directs that this Bull and the corresponding regulations of Frederick II be entered in every city among the municipal statutes under pain of excommunication, which was also visited on those who failed to execute both the papal and the imperial decrees. Nor could any doubt remain as to what civil regulations were meant, for the passages which ordered the burning of impenitent heretics were inserted in the papal decretals from the imperial constitutions "Commissis nobis" and "Inconsutibilem tunicam". The aforesaid Bull "Ad exstirpanda" remained thenceforth a fundamental document of the Inquisition, renewed or reinforced by several popes, Alexander IV (1254-61), Clement IV (1265-68), Nicholas IV (1288-02), Boniface VIII (1294-1303), and others. The civil authorities, therefore, were enjoined by the popes, under pain of excommunication to execute the legal sentences that condemned impenitent heretics to the stake. It is to be noted that excommunication itself was no trifle, for, if the person excommunicated did not free himself from excommunication within a year, he was held by the legislation of that period to be a heretic, and incurred all the penalties that affected heresy."

    When did the papacy stop torture? Let's go back to Fr. Harrison for that:

    "Pope Pius VII (19th century). In 1816 the pontiff who doggedly withstood Napoleon’s arrogance published a Bull forbidding any further use of torture in Catholic countries. (As late as 1851, however, almost in Pio Nono’s own back yard, the despotic Kingdom of Naples was still evading this ban.)"

  2. I don't believe the "Church" ever endorsed Torture, It doesn't make the laws . I thought during the period of the Inquisitions that the Church merely handed them over to the state and it is the state that used Torture. It was political . The Church has no authority to make those laws so I guess they had to go with it or be silent....The Church merely used the state for their own agenda and this is where they made their mistake. They should have trusted God rather than men type a deal probably idk and anyway.... Torture is and always has been a Moral Issue and intrinsically evil , right from the beginning .blah. The mother and her 7 martyred sons in the bible comes to mind. Anyway did the catholic church endorse the torture of the romans? pffft no . They were usually the ones being tortured !

  3. RE: Pope Innocent IV and Father Brian Harrison

    Father Harrison writes in his work TORTURE AND CORPORAL PUNISHMENT AS A PROBLEM IN CATHOLIC THEOLOGY published in September 2005:

    “Pope Innocent IV, Bull Ad Exstirpanda (May 15, 1252). This fateful document introduced confession-extorting torture into tribunals of the Inquisition. It had already been reinstated in secular processes over the previous hundred years, during which Roman Law was being vigorously revived.”

    This Papal Bull (properly spelled Ad Extirpanda), before the advent of Mr. Google, was often used to either attack the Church as an evil institution or to justify torture. However a brief consultation with Mr. Google reveals:

    1. The Bull is not a magisterial document directed at the Universal Church solemnly teaching the faithful on a point or faith or morals. Rather it is an administrative document directed only to a portion of Italy.

    2. The words “torture” and “Inquisition” do not appear in the Bull.

    3. The Bull refers to the laws of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. The Emperor on 1 September 1231 in the Constitution of Melfi forbade torture and trail by combat in Italy.

    4. Modern scholarship has not been able to connect a single case of torture in the area in question during the second half of the 13th Century to the Bull.

    Another consolation with Mr. Google will reveal that every time over the past 2,000 years whenever Pope or Council has taught the faithful on the morality of torture it was been to condemn torture as immoral. Pope Benedict XVI in 2007:

    “Public authorities must be ever vigilant in this task, eschewing any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners. In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances”.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  4. Jackie
    Read not me but the above quotations within my first post closely. The Popes...the Popes... brought torture back and mandated that secular rulers use it under pain of excommunication for the ruler if the ruler did not torture after 1252. Prior to that what you are saying may have obtained.

    But for 600 years after the period you are referencing, the Church ordered the torture...much less so as the centuries wore on.

    But even prior to then, if they handed over heretics to people they knew would torture them then both they and the others in fact morally did the tortures. If your son breaks a window in the house with a football and you say to him: "I will not make you clean the bathrooms for one month straight but I will hand you over to your dad who will make you clean the bathrooms for one month straight". Then I think it is fair to say that both you and dad made him clean bathrooms for one month straight and the son would see it that way. He wouldn't say: "gee mom was great and dad was only handed me over to him but he ordered the cleaning job which mom knew he would."

  5. Richard
    Just after new advent's quote way above in my first post, they disagree with you as to: its pertaining only for a part of Italy and they disagree with you as to no cases...they immediately write after my last sentence way above quoting them:

    The Number of Victims.

    "How many victims were handed over to the civil power cannot be stated with even approximate accuracy. We have nevertheless some valuable information about a few of the Inquisition tribunals, and their statistics are not without interest. At Pamiers, from 1318 to 1324, out of twenty-four persons convicted but five were delivered to the civil power, and at Toulouse from 1308 to 1323, only forty-two out of nine hundred and thirty bear the ominous note "relictus culiae saeculari". Thus, at Pamiers one in thirteen, and at Toulouse one in forty-two seem to have been burnt for heresy although these places were hotbeds of heresy and therefore principal centres of the Inquisition. We may add, also, that this was the most active period of the institution."

    And this is simply a "few" as the text notes concerning areas and victims.

    No the Church did it whether She handed people over to rulers She knew would do it prior to 1252 or she ordered rulers to do it after 1252. That is not the problem in most history books used in the real world.

    The problem is the use of the term "intrinsic evil" which for me is simply not true and unforetunately John Paul II was very imprecise in using that term for both torture and slavery in section 80 of Splendor of the Truth. Slavery in its bad form...chattel given to the Jews over foreigners in Leviticus 25:44-46

    NAB Catholic translation:

    "Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations.
    You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as chattels,
    and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen."

    I don't like the passage but it does mean that John Paul II was wrong about slavery being intrinsically evil and thus it is possible that torture is evil in most cases like drunkeness which Scripture mostly denounces and yet gives exceptional permission for same in Proverbs 31:4-

    "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, not for kings to drink wine; strong drink is not for princes!
    Lest in drinking they forget what the law decrees, and violate the rights of all who are in need.
    Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to the sorely depressed;
    When they drink, they will forget their misery, and think no more of their burdens."

    Denunciation and then exception immediately after.

  6. RE: Popes mandating secular rulers to use torture under pain of excomunication

    There is not a single primary source document in the historical record wherein a Pope ordered a secular ruler to torture one of more parties or else risk excommunication.

    Please note that works by Dan Brown do not belong in the historical record.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  7. Bilbannon: In the documents you posted we read stuff like : Torture had already been reinstated in secular processes<--- over the previous hundred years, during which Roman Law<--- was being vigorously revived.


    When those adjudged guilty of heresy have been given up to the civil power<--- by the bishop or his representative, or the Inquisition, the podestà or chief magistrate of the city shall take them at once, and shall, within five days at the most, execute the laws made against them.


    for the passages which ordered the burning of impenitent heretics were inserted in the papal decretals from the imperial constitutions "Commissis nobis" and "Inconsutibilem tunicam". <----

    Now I am right . I encourage you to read with clear lenses, this article from

    The congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the inquisitional tribunal today . They judge things pertaining to faith and morals and this process takes years and decades. Torture is intrinsically evil as it ever was and that is what Pope Benedict declares. The Church did not torture heretics ! They used proper disciplinary actions as would anyone do when they see someone disturb the peace or commit a crime. Heresy was a crime in them days and was punishable by law apparently . It would be like a serial killer today . They need to be stopped and punished ASAP! I think the Church has always been lenient and merciful and forgiving.

  8. RE: New Advent

    I assume by "New Advent" you mean the Catholic Encyclopedia found under the website by that name. Please note that the Encyclopedia was published in 1913. Modern scholars, with the aid of Mr. Google and other incredible technology, have at their fingertips good translations of primary source documents that were undreamed of by scholars in 1913.

    Modern scholars have painted for us a very different picture regarding issues such as torture, the activities of various Inquisitions and the Popes than was available to us before. The previous very negative picture was largely painted by militantly anti-Catholic Protestant scholars.

    Modern historians simply cannot find a single primary source document to support the traditional claims made against the Popes regarding torture.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  9. Jackie
    My quote comes from the link you just gave which Richard slighted by the way and your link which is my original source says the Church was behind torture and death after 1252. Read it. You did not read your own link. That is why in 1520 Pope Leo X condemned Luther's opposition to burning heretics at the stake in proposition 33 which Pope Leo said was against the Catholic faith.
    So Leo said opposing burning at the stake was against the Catholic Faith and John Paul II said that in effect burning heretics at the stake was against the Catholic Faith. Why the confusion between two Popes? Don't worry.
    Popes outside of the infallible context can be incorrect even about morals. Pope Leo X and Pope John Paul II cannot both be correct about burning at the stake being right and wrong....unless Richard has found something in google that harmonizes them through modern scholarship but I doubt it :).
    Your link says the opposite of what you are saying. Read it way toward the bottom.

  10. RE: Capital Punishment and Torture

    There is a difference between capital punishment and torture.

    The Church has always thaught that capital punishment, under certain conditions, is just.

    The Church has always taught that torture is, under all conditions, evil.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  11. Richard
    You write:
    "Modern historians simply cannot find a single primary source document to support the traditional claims made against the Popes regarding torture."

    Then they have not read Ex Surge Domine by Leo X in 1520.

    You and I both know you are simply skipping much that I wrote and you are moving on to new claims. You are doing extreme apologetics. Extreme skiing is wonderful. But extreme Catholic apologetics actually resembles bad car sales.

    Here is Ex Surge Domine which is doctrinal rather than action oriented and within it Pope Leo X stands up for burning heretics at the stake by giving Luther's opinion in article 33 that burning at the stake is against the Spirit and then Leo denounces that and the other views below. Here is the link. Is it a fake? Do you have a new version discovered by modern scholars after 1913 wherein the document actually says its opposite?

    Apposite parts:

    33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit. (Luther's position)

    Leo condemning it and the other ideas:

    "We have therefore held a careful inquiry, scrutiny, discussion, strict examination, and mature deliberation with each of the brothers, the eminent cardinals of the holy Roman Church, as well as the priors and ministers general of the religious orders, besides many other professors and masters skilled in sacred theology and in civil and canon law. We have found that these errors or theses are not Catholic, as mentioned above, and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church."

    Now in section 80 of "Splendor of the Truth", John Paul II in effect agrees with Luther against Leo X. Nothing wrong about that except his claim of intrinsic evil concerning torture is in my view too strong and it is a contextual evil like drunkeness not an intrinsic evil like beastiality or adultery. Indeed there are scriptures that if they are not about torture, they are about like matters:

    Proverbs 20:30 NAB "Evil is cleansed away by bloody lashes, and a scourging to the inmost being."

    Pro 23:14 KJ Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    Pro 26:3 KJ A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.

    How can these be advice from God while torture specifically is intrinsic evil?
    It's not intrinsic evil; it's contextual evil.

    The NT actually says "drunkards shall not possess the kingdom of God"....yet Proverbs gives the exception of extreme sadness....which means that drunkards however sad they may be have gone beyond the due mean in solacing themselves that way.

  12. Richard
    Please....burning at the stake is not just capital punishment but it is torturous capitalk punishment whereas beheading done well is scarey but very painless that is why France and the Papal states used the guillotine.

  13. Wonderful post, Robert!

    bilbannon, I think you are confusing punishment with torture. Specifically, you are using verses relating to corporal punishment in such various contexts as child rearing, just punishment, and correction, and then saying that these prove that torture is not intrinsically evil.

    But torture is not a matter of legitimate punishment.

  14. Red
    Read what I actually said there.

  15. RE: Capital Punishment

    I used to work on a Special Response Team that covered a prison.I developed a personal interest in this issue.

    Capital punishment, even when just, is nasty business. There is no technique that is without its particular horror.

    Beheadings, with or without mechanical assistance were often bungled; and there was a belief that with an efficient beheading enough blood remained in the brain for the victim to remain conscious for 30-60 seconds after the execution.

    Burnings provoked a particular horror which was why heretics were publicly burned. On the other hand the victims were often strangled first; or the smoke caused the victim to loose consciousness before he burned.

    JP II was right to tell us that capital punishment should be very, very limited.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  16. bilbannon, let me ask you this: are you interested in theologically hashing out whether torture is intrinsically evil or whether torture is evil 99.5% of the time as a pure philosophical abstraction, or do you think some present use of torture by some present-day authority is something the Church really ought to approve or sanction, and which therefore Catholics can, in good conscience, support?

  17. Richard
    If you were given the choice by Al Qaeda in the back hills of Pakistan to face A. the guillotine or B. be burned at the stake, I suspect you would pick A. Here you must do Catholic casuistry and make them identical or not all that different.

    In 1999 John Paul in St. Louis said capital punishment was "cruel and unnecessary" and the US Bishops then put that in their written statement even though it contradicted ccc 2267 which they also quoted. The lemming problem is one of the biggest problems of Catholicism. A young priest in 1952 said amen as Pius XII affirmed the death penalty while he had more secure modern penology than we do and that same priest says amen decades later as a Cardinal when John Paul forces his prudential judgement into the catechism which really is against the death penalty in a circuitous way. Normal mental health for the Church would be if some Cardinals somewhere...maybe 8 of them... said to the restrained press (say the Economist)...."whoa...I think Romans 13:3-4 allows the death penalty in the synecdoche of the sword that the state carries in that passage". But no. We are lemming culture.
    The healthy conflict does not happen where position or life style could be lost.

    Good luck with your blog though as it develops hopefully away from "intrinsic" as a pertinant concept herein. There are brutal people in the military and I was in it. But I also hold to rare use of torture. Within the past several months a five year old girl was raped and killed in NC and an 11 year old girl was raped and killed in Florida. Both girls trusted the man who was about to rape and kill them. The girl in NC had her hand on his shoulder as he carried her into a hotel room seen on video. And the girl in Florida brought her tooth brush.
    Long ago I read of that type of man who raped and then left a child dying in a shack but he would not tell the police where the child was dying. I suspect there are people in this world who could obtain a change of mind in such a person and maybe with pain and I think that would be a very good thing and a virtuous thing approved by God implicitly in
    Proverbs 20:30 NAB "Evil is cleansed away by bloody lashes, and a scourging to the inmost being."
    We can assume the passage is not about child discipline.

  18. Red
    See bottom section of above post to Richard.

  19. RE: JP II

    The Holy Father said that modern society has the means to protect itself from the criminal without denying the criminal a chance at reform; and, therefore, under these condition the death penalty in modern society is cruel and unnecessary.

    The Holy Father is both right and in step with the clear and constant teaching of the Church on this matter. The Church has always taught that capital punishment can be morally just; but only under certain conditions. These conditions in modern society do not currently exist.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  20. RE: A False Premise

    Father Harrison in his 2005 work regarding "the ethical evaluation of the direct infliction of severe bodily pain" attempts to link the infliction of pain and corporal punishment to the issue of torture. Essentially Father argues that becasue the Church has never condemned the direct inflcition of pain or corporal punishment torture, therefore, cannot be morally condemned.

    However these are three very seperate issues.

    The first two issues namely the direct infliction fo pain (See dentist visit) or corporal punishment (Me back in the Dark Ages, filling sandbags because of my failuer to listen to my kindly Platoon Sergeant) are not inherently evil; and can, under certain conditions be both just and even charitable.

    However the Church teaches that the third issue; torture,is inherently evil.

    Father Harrison is simply not being logical in the pursuit of his arguement. More importanly he is out of step with the clear and constant teachings of the Church on this matter.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  21. Richard
    You wrote:

    "The Holy Father said that modern society has the means to protect itself from the criminal without denying the criminal a chance at reform; and, therefore, under these condition the death penalty in modern society is cruel and unnecessary."

    Baloney pure and simple. You had more secure prisons in periods of the Church when the Church was using the death penalty than you have now and you had life sentences at Avignon papacy and society was more secure because violent prisoners had no rigths to visitors or letters through which to order murders as obtains now. The NY Times had an article years ago allegeding that some 300 murders out on the streets of Cali were ordered from prison by phone and by coded letters by prisoners over a ten year period which was impossible in centuries that ignored rights to visitors or to letters while now our district courts demand those rights for prisoners.

    Serbia actually fits the Pope's claim because it is ancient and ethnically homogenous within prisons and thus prisoners have knives in their cells and never use them against other prisoners.

    In large mixed countries ethnically like the US, that does not work and weekly MSNBC series on prisons and the violence within them refutes the Pope's claim. Father Geoghan was killed by a lifer and so was Jeffrey Dahmer.

    In Witness to Hope, George Weigel stated that John Paul did not read newspapers yet was the most informed man on earth. Strange then that he took no emergency measures to protect Catholic children in his first ten years after the ten years prior to him had from the US alone over 500 alleged abuse cases whicih number repeated in his first ten years. Do you go to a carpenter for advice on playing the options market? I'm done. I've reached my limit. The man failed on security issues and an entire church does not notice and looks to him for wisedom on security issues. Read section 40 of Evangelium Vitae and you will see him attribute the death penalties of the Jewish Law not to God but to the non refinement of the Jews and then he says that this lack of refinement is overcome in the sermon on the mount. Nice work but he obviously did not read Acts 12 which post dates the sermon on the mount and in which an unrefined God this time has the angel kill Herod Agrippa and has worms eat his corpse. So God fails to live up to John Paul II's outlook on evil doers as to the dignity that should be given them. Good luck with the blog. End of replies.

  22. RE: bilbannon v John Paul

    Mr. bilbannon is an antonymous poster. He apparently dislike John Paul. He also apparently likes torture.

    John Paul, on the other hand, was anything but anonymous. He was absolutely fearless in the pursuit of his duties; and almost paid for his fearlessness with his life. What is more John Paul constantly exhorted us to "be not afraid" in the pursuit of our own duties. John Paul's fearlessness made him the principal defender of innocent human life and human dignity of his time.

    So on the issue of torture who should we listen to? Should we be swayed by an anonymous poster who exhausts himself after a half dozen posts in favor of torture and then disappears? Or should we listen to a very public and fearless figure who dedicated his entire life, literally to his last breath, to Christ and the defense of human life?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  23. Richard

    You will have an easy time at your particular judgement in regard to slandering me if I indeed like torture and you knew this from having the charism as to reading hearts.
    But I don't think you do have that charism.
    If debates force you into sins of the tongue, they are simply not worth it.

  24. RE: Pope Paul VI and JP II

    When Paul VI published Humanae Vitae he was met with a wave of resistance. When Catholcis tried to defend Paul and his Encyclical sooner or later they were charged with meanness, lack of charity and slander.

    A similar phenomenon greeted JP II and VS. With the initiation of GWOT the Holy Father and his Encyclical also met a wave of resistance. Defenders of the Papacy and VS were also accused of mean spiritedness, lack of charity and threatened with the judgment by Almighty God.

    It is remarkable how sensitive are the people who either advocate or try to make an excuse for torture and abortion.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  25. bilbannon, you've crossed a line. I'm deleting your latest. This blog is not the place to rehash old blog debates, accuse people of sins, or perform blogside cheap psychoanalysis--esp. after you already said you were done here.

    If you want to discuss the issue in a peaceful and profitable way, fine. If I see this again I'll put on my blog admin. hat and ban you from further participation.

  26. RE: In Defense of Innocent IV

    Innocent's 1252 Bull has been used for at least 100-years to either advocate for torture or to attack the Church. Until very recently various websites (to include Wiki) purported that the Bull "explicitly" authorized torture and burning at the stake. Father Harrison, in his September 2005 article on this matter, purported that the Bull introduced torture into the inquisition.

    And then Mr. Google came along; and even knuckle draggers like myself got to read the thing.

    And what a surprise! The Bull does not mention torture or burning at the stake or the Inquisition. The Bull was not a teaching document; but, rather an administrative document. The Bull was not aimed not at the Universal Church but only at a small portion of Italy.

    The torture advocates and anti-Catholcis were at first dismayed but then took another tack. They claimed that Innocent "meant" torture in his Bull; but was too "cowardly" to use the word. However historians were not able to link a single case of torture in the second half of the 13th Century in the relevant portion of Italy to the Bull.

    The torture advocates and anti-Catholcis then tried a third tack. They claimed that since Innocent referred to the laws of Frederick II he must have "meant" torture because the Holy Roman Empire had, purportedly. reintroduced Pagan Roman law which used torture. However the Holy Roam Empire was a big place. It had a heterogeneous legal system. Historians quickly noticed that in Italy the Emperor's Constitution of Melfi outlawed trial by combat and torture.

    So we are left with a Papal Bull that is not a magisterial document, that has no documented connection to a single case of torture, is not connected with the Spanish or any other Inquisition, refers the reader to Imperial laws that ban torture; and at the time it was published and until the Reformation (and probably not until the 19th Century) was not used to either advocate for torture or attack the Church.

    No doubt next the torture advocates will discover a painting of the Last Supper hidden on the back of Innocent's Bull.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  27. Red
    And yet you left his slander about me ("He also apparently likes torture.") on your thread because his crossing the line is better... why???

  28. Well, bilbannon, if you really want to know, the operative word there is "apparently." Besides, you admitted in your 1/23 7:01 post: "But I also hold to rare use of torture." So in saying you "apparently" approve of torture (at least some of the time) Richard is not slandering you in the least, since you yourself admit that you approve of torture on some occasions.

    If you want to say that Richard "apparently" misunderstands etc., go right ahead. You crossed the line because you outright accused him of sins, psychological problems, etc., and attempted to rehash old debates from other blogs.

    I want people to be free to discuss this issue civilly. But you aren't being civil in the least thus far. If you can participate in a different thread without resorting to this kind of behavior, fine, but let's step away from this thread for the time being.

    If you wish to discuss this with me privately my email add. is on the sidebar.

  29. RE: In Further Defense of Innocent IV

    Father Brian Harrison in his September 2005 work blames Innocent AD for introducing in 1252 "confession-extorting torture into the tribunals of the Inquisition".

    However the good Father did not specify which Inquisition he is talking about. There were and are many tribunals in the history of the Church that function as inquisitions or inquiries. Does Father mean the Spanish Inquisition? But that did not start until 1478 AD some 256 years after the Papal Bull was published.

    Perhaps Father Harrison meant that Innocent established an Inquisition in 1252? However the word "Inquisition" does not appear in the Bull; and there is no evidence of the establishment of a Church Inquisition to root out heretics In Lombardy et al in 1252 AD.

    Maybe Father means that there was already a Church Inquisition established to root out heresy in the States of Lombardy et al prior to 1252 AD and Innocent authorized the Church Inquisitors in Lombardy et al to use torture.? But where is the evidence for the existence of said Church Inquisition? And the Bull was not addressed to Churchman in Lombardy et al but to its secular rulers; and, as mentioned above the word "torture" does not appear in the Bull.

    Finally we should remember that Innocent was writing to the secular Lords of Lombardy not just as the Vicar of Christ; but as their secular Over Lord, Lombardy et al having temporarily passed into the secular jurisdiction (at least on paper) of the Papacy.

    Historical evidence to support Father Harrison's accusation against Innocent appears to be lacking.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  30. bilbannon, you are banned. Don't post here anymore. I don't have time to babysit a comment box all day, and you can play the injured innocent all you want, but your behavior is obnoxious and not conducive to polite discussion.