Rudy vs. the Church

A fight I hope both sides lose. But it’s nice to see conservative Catholics calling Rudy on his support of torture.

Mostly, if conservative Catholics want to bash Rudy Giuliani for being unfaithful to Church teachings, I can heartily wish a pox on both their houses. I’m glad that he has comparatively reasonable positions on abortion, gay rights, the right to die, and stem cell research, and I’m also glad those stances will hurt him in the Republican primaries.

Giuliani’s treatment of his second wife was intolerable, and consistent with his generally bad moral character, but in principle I hate the thought that the bishops might do to him what they did to Kerry: in effect, make a negative endorsement by barring him from the communion rail. (Having elected as Pope the organizer of a massive worldwide cover-up of the sexual abuse of minors, the Church’s standing to lecture the rest of us on our reproductive morals is questionable, at best.)

Still, even a blind chipmunk finds an acorn every once in a while, and it would be bizarre if all of the Church’s moral teachings, or even all of the subset of those teachings that the institutional church uses in deciding how to throw its political weight around, were wrong. Kudos to the Church for its frank opposition to torture &#8212 as the Talmud says, in the place of a true penitent even a saint is not fit to stand &#8212 and to Catholics Against Rudy for listing his support of torture among his heterodoxies.

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: