Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Church Teaching on Torture

I've talked about this a lot. The conciliar document Gaudium Et Spes condemned it explicitly. The encylical Veritatis Splendour said it was intrinsically evil, meaning it cannot be legitimated by intent or consequence. The Compendium of Social Doctrine also discusses it:
"In carrying out investigations, the regulation against the use of torture, even in the case of serious crimes, must be strictly observed: “Christ's disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing could justify and in which the dignity of man is as much debased in his torturer as in the torturer's victim”. International juridical instruments concerning human rights correctly indicate a prohibition against torture as a principle which cannot be contravened under any circumstances."
This is pretty clear. Nothing can justify torture. Not ticking bomb scenarios. Nothing. And "international juridical instuments" means the Geneva Conventions, those pesky little things the Bush administration deems quaint. And yet some in Catholic right wing circles, in continued thrall to the Bush administration, have a hard time understanding this.


Anonymous said...

Dear Morning's Minion,

What if we were to "beat" Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or maybe even Rush...would that be considered "torture" and/or under the Catechism of the Catholic Church section 2309 could that be construed as "Jus ad Bellum/Bello?" "let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one to beat Rick Santorum" (Luke 22:36). Let's face it we may even be able to throw a good "beating" on Robert Novak too. "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9). The criteria for a "just war," must be met and what these indivudals have done to this country, I do beleive, meets the criteria as set forth in the Catechism, "The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain." I think that says it all...because at this point, "All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective."

Cynical Casaubon

Bob Schwartz said...

If torture is so evil that it cannot be justified under any circumstance, why are there no sanctions? As for example,
"Any Catholic who utilizes torture, or who materially supports its use, is guilty of (a) gravely sinful act(s) and shall incur automatic excommunication."
I don't intend on being rude or disrespectful, but how about the Church putting her money where her mouth is?

bing said...

I wonder if Catholic Answers will include torture on their list of "non-negotiables" for their next voter's guide. I won't hold my breath.

Bob -- I agree. Check out a book called "Torture and Eucharist" by William Cavanaugh... it's about the Catholic Church in Chile under Pinochet and its use of excommunication against Catholics who participate in torture. Makes a convincing case for similar uses on excommunication today.