Let me ask a question, one that is a genuine question and not a rhetorical one, and also a question I think the Coalition for Clarity should have an answer to:
How do we discuss torture with someone who thinks opposing torture makes you a left-wing kook?
I'm not asking how we debate such a person. To win a debate, all we need to do is make sure he states his opinion clearly.
I'm asking how we engage him in a way that we may together arrive at the truth, to use an expression I like.
In other words, Tom is asking how we can achieve the clarity of communication, the genuine connection, that this blog has set as its goal.
He points out a specific obstacle a little further down in the conversation:
So maybe a sub-question is, how do we get someone who thinks opposing torture makes you a left-wing kook to understand that people can and do oppose both torture and abortion? As Scott's comment most recently demonstrates, it's not enough to point out to such a person that he is wrong on the facts.
I think this question deserves a post of its own. And perhaps it can develop into a practical discussion of strategies to promote real awareness, and hopefully real change, in the social and political environment that is so hostile to Catholic moral teaching and to the dignity of the human person.
Just to start off with, maybe, I'd invite commentators such as @jasper, @love the girls, @greta, to describe what exactly the foundations are for their approach to Catholic moral teaching.
And, since I don't believe in asking of another what I'm unwilling to do myself, here is my answer:
As far as I see it, the foundation of all Catholic teaching is Jesus Christ himself. In terms of morality, we are to follow him, meaning to imitate his way of life. He has described his way of life to us in his "new" commandment, to love one another as he has loved us.
From this is derived our goals as individuals to convey the love of Christ to all who we meet, whether by doing good for them directly or by calling them to repentance so that they become able to receive the love of God.
Moreover, even the powers and goals of the State are founded in the command of love. The State cannot make one person love one another, but it can remove obstacles to love (and, since they are related to love, all the other virtues), as well as establish obstacles to vice and sin, and punish those who harm society. The State has the power and the authority to defend the community against aggression in order to preserve the community's ability to follow Christ.
In short, as far as I see it, all Catholic moral teaching is rooted in our Lord's command to love as he has loved us.
Okay, your turn.