This is a tactic that is believed by many to work extremely well with older folks and foreigners. They don't understand you the first time, either because they're confused or they don't speak your language, and so you JUST SAY IT LOUDER, because then, obviously, they will understand you perfectly.
This appears to be Mark Shea's strategy in the present Torture Blogorama. Goodness knows I agree with him completely, but he really is starting to say the same things over and over again, only not in different ways so as to make himself understood, but rather just more loudly, so to speak, by adding invective, condescension, and sarcasm to the mix. I'm certainly not above any of that myself, so I won't criticize him for it, I'll just point out that it's about as effective as what Olivia said to me in the car.
In one sense it is very important, when saying it more loudly, to be sure that what you're saying very loudly is actually correct, otherwise you're just advertising your own ignorance. For example, in discussing some of the strategies of those who wish to wiggle out of the teaching on torture, Shea mentions this one:
Still another ploy is the "but it's just in one document" feint. Apparently, some Catholics think that the Magisterium is obliged to build up a pile of paper before we have to bother taking it seriously. Unfortunately for them, this is not so. When the Magisterium teaches something, that is what the Magisterium teaches, even if it has never taught on the subject before. This is why we are bound to pay attention to the Church's teaching on stem cell research, even though it has only addressed the issue recently. This was also why Catholics were bound to listen to the (then brand new) social teaching of Rerum Novarum a hundred years ago. Nobody said, "But there's only *one* social encyclical, so we can ignore it.On the one hand, it is certainly true that Veritatis Splendor, along with various other "magisterial" documents, teaches that torture is intrinsically wrong. I suspect, as I remarked in this post, that what most people involved in this discussion are really trying to say is not that torture is sometimes morally licit, but rather that there are some acts that are sometimes classified as torture that perhaps ought not to be so classified, but that is a topic I have already addressed. Here my point is that Mark is not being careful enough in what he the way he frames the issue. I see why he wants to put it this way--he's trying to win a point. But you can't win points by saying things that aren't true, and it isn't strictly true that every papal encyclical has equal teaching authority. Certainly they are not all of them infallible, but even putting aside the issue of infallibility the simple fact of the matter is that Popes are often mistaken when it comes to matters of prudential judgments and, indeed, the Magisterium itself is not indefectible when it comes to such matters. But aside from all of that, it seriously begs the question to suggest, as Mark does here without warrant, that a papal encyclical is to be automatically identified with a teaching of the Magisterium. He makes this suggestion rather explicit by starting off his post with a citation from Veritatis Splendor, and then going on to say in support of what VS teaches that "When the Magisterium teaches something, that is what the Magisterium teaches." That is tantamount to saying "I know that what this newspaper article says is true, because it says right here in the article itself that it is only reporting the true facts."
This kind of dialectical maneuver is not even necessary in the present debate, since the teaching on torture does not flow from any particular Papal encyclical anyway. There are certainly some scholars who would dispute Mark's assertion (again, made without argument) that it is not really the case that the Magisterium needs to "build up a pile of paper", but in this particular case, it has built up such a pile, and it is fully unnecessary to engage in any pettifoggery to make the case against torture.
Having said all of that, I certainly sympathize with Mark Shea, and to a certain extent I share his sense of frustration that some folks who claim allegiance to a certain kind of Catholicism just aren't seeing straight on this issue. Maybe there are some folks for whom just saying it louder really is the only recourse, because some of them don't seem to respond all that well to the giving of reasons.