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Devra Torres

Joined: Feb. 26, 2012

Bio:

Roman Catholic of Jewish background; Master of Philosophy turned homeschooling mother of eight. Freelance ttranslator, editor, writer, and bookseller.  Studied at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and later at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein. Happily married to Max Torres; happily settled, God willing, in unexotic Ann Arbor, Michigan after stints in Israel, Rome, Liechtenstein, and Barcelona. Ready to emerge from intellectual semi-hibernation with the impending maturity of my littlest boy, who has now attained the ripe old age of five.


Most recent posts by Devra Torres:     (See all of them)


Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 20 at 3:21pm | Comments: 18 | Most recent comment: Jul. 23 at 10:08am

Katie addressed immigration just the other day, and I wrote about it here last year.  There’s plenty more to say, though.  So much, in fact, that it’s worth mentioning some things I won’t be addressing here: I won’t be proposing an immigration policy. I won’t be evaluating the states of the souls of politicians who vote on immigration policy, parents who send unaccompanied minors across borders, adults who...

Lois Lerner, Archie Bunker, and the Roving Liturgical Critic

Jul. 13 at 9:59pm | Comments: 0

We were out of town this week, so we got to see how the other half lives—that is, people who aren't fortunate enough to belong to our home parish. At first, we enjoyed the variety.  One priest preached about how great it is to be 70, because you can finally say whatever you like: what do you have to lose?  It was a solid homily, even if it did include more about Lois Lerner and the IRS...

Modesty and Other Skirmishes: Reassessing the Battle Lines

Jul. 3 at 11:59pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Jul. 4 at 9:35am

Last week, we took a look at the modesty wars. We identified a false alternative: either you fall into indifferentism on the subject or you’re obliged to go around trying (vainly and illicitly) to probe the intentions of other people’s hearts. There's got to be a better way. And there is. Katie and others have been urging that we take seriously the harm done by a fixation on externals, a tendency to see a woman as...

A New Wrinkle in the Modesty Debate

Jun. 26 at 1:48am | Comments: 50 | Most recent comment: Jul. 2 at 3:48pm

The modesty wars have been raging so long already that now we’re in the throes of a backlash against a backlash against a backlash (as Simcha Fisher put it the other day). First came a tendency, more Puritan than Catholic, to devise dress codes that micromanaged every centimeter of flesh from collarbone and kneecap, at least. They focused everybody’s attention firmly on the outside of the cup, the whited part of the sepulchre.     ...

“Dialogue” and “Encounter”: Archbishop Cordileone Reclaims a Couple of Buzzwords

Jun. 19 at 2:55pm | Comments: 0

Very early in my writing career (that is, a couple years ago), I wrote a post called “Diversity: Reclaiming a Buzzword.”  The term had been hijacked: reduced to a code word for relativism and indifferentism, with anti-patriotic connotations thrown in for good measure. And yet, it’s a perfectly good word.  It should never have been ceded to people with as little imagination as the bureaucrats and politicians who use it the most.     ...


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Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 21 at 8:12pm | see this comment in context

Whether they're breaking the moral law could depend on whether the particular law is just, whether they know it's in force, whether there's any other way to secure their or their famiy's survival, and so on.  I'm not saying there's a simple parallel between immigrants coming from a bad situation and a starving man taking the bread.

I do suspect we should all take more seriously uncomfortable notions like the universal destination of goods and teachings like "let him who has two coats give to him who has none."  They're easy to explain away.

Excuse me, I've been talking about all this in the context of Catholic teaching, Chris, and I don't know if you're Catholic.  Also, neither immigration nor Catholic social teaching are areas of expertise for me (at all!); I'm just sorting out ideas in my mind.

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 21 at 8:04pm | see this comment in context

Chris, welcome, and it's an interesting question. I didn't mean there was a clear parallel, just thinking out loud about how it might apply to the case of immigration.  I think the case of the hungry man and the bread, according to Catholic teaching, is meant to apply to cases of urgent and imminent need, when there's no other possible way to avoid starvation.  I think in that case it would be not stealing at all, rather than justified theft.

In the case of self-defense, it's not that it's still homicide, but justified homicide; rather, it's not murder at all, but justified homicide.  Of course it's some kind of homicide: that's just the meaning of the word.  In the case of theft, it's part of the definition that you're taking something to which you have no right--and that's what's in question, whether anyone has a right to withhold food from a starving man.  But it's a very narrowly defined kind of case--that is, if I'm remembering it right.

I would never say that people entering the country illegally are not breaking the civil law--of course they are.  

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 21 at 11:06am | see this comment in context

I see the analogy.  To the extent that it's a matter of simple injustice to cross the border illegally, it makes sense.  

I guess I need to revisit what "universal destination of goods" means, exactly.  I know it doesn't mean "no private property." And people have brought up the point about how a hungry man stealing a piece of bread from a bakery is not really stealing at all.  So we could talk about how that does and doesn't apply here.  There's also the question of what is our duty as American citizens and what is our duty as Christians, and how sharp a distinction we do or don't want to make between the two.  Welcoming the stranger really is central to Christianity, and it was already central to Judaism before that.  That doesn't mean we throw laws out the window, or welcome all strangers immediately and indiscriminately, but it means something.

Well, I trust that's enough to muddy up the waters for now!

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 21 at 9:53am | see this comment in context

That makes sense.  And yes, one of the most frustrating elements of the whole situation is that throwing the law aside is conflated with being charitable.  The slide into lawlessness that we've seen under the politicians currently in charge, especially, can only end in America becoming a place of more chaos and danger itself, unable to offer refuge to anybody.  I see that.  But I think we lack the will, not the ability, to do things like ascertain who qualifies for genuine refugee status and who doesn't, or to allow for more work visas for unskilled labor so that people don't perceive that the choice is between breaking our laws and raising their families in life-threatening conditions.  

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 21 at 9:39am | see this comment in context

I don't know about "invaders"--it seems natural to use it to describe an invading army.  To use it to describe people entering the country illegally seems metaphorical.

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