Lawler makes good sense, to me, on the specific topic of denying Thiessen communion, or even threatening to do so: the situation is not analogous to Catholic politicians who publicly and materially (via votes for funding, etc.) support abortion. Whether Thiessen's own bishop might want to have a chat with him about his rather clear misunderstanding regarding the principle of double effect or Just War theory, say, is another matter.
But then Lawler says:
Sullivan assumes that Church teaching is crystal clear on the moral gravity and permissiveness of torture, but in fact it's not. As far as denying communion or issuing public reprimands go, there is a very high bar to clear -- the action in question must be intrinsically wrong, meaning gravely wrong in every situation, and it must be recognized as such in authoritative Church teaching.
The Catechism addresses torture in general very conclusively:
Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.
Sullivan notes this passage and takes it as establishing torture as intrinsically evil, but there's a key possible exception to this rule: the Ticking Bomb scenario, which is omitted in the list of situations in this quote. It is possible that a Catholic in good conscience could interpret Church teaching as unclear or not settled in these circumstances -- such an argument is here. [Links in original--E.M.]
Is it just me, or is that passage extremely strange? If torture were merely gravely morally evil but not intrinsically evil, would it not still follow that no mere circumstances could make it suddenly morally acceptable? And how would any Ticking Bomb scenario change the morality of using torture against a person--would it not still be a grave (and sinful) violation of that person's human dignity?
What am I missing here?