Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Resharing Articles on Torture

With the recent report out on torture, I find that some Catholics are attempting to justify it, even though the Church declares it as being intrinsically evil.

First is my 2011 article, which I wrote as an investigation based on my disliking both the pro- and anti-waterboarding arguments as being logically flawed. So this was a sort of summary of my personal explorations.  There is one amendment I would like to point out here, however:

At that time I concluded it was torture, but said I could not specifically state that the Church mentioned it by name. Since then, I found a convincing argument that pointed out that the Church did not post a comprehensive list of cruelty that was condemned and the attempts to say that because the Church didn’t mention waterboarding by name it wasn’t torture, was actually an argument from silence fallacy. Keep that in mind when reading this article (found HERE).

The second article (2014) was written in response to certain Catholics who were arguing that it didn’t matter if it was torture or not, it was still justified. My article took the position that one could not be a good Catholic and support torture. I still believe this is correct. (Read HERE).

Also, we need to remember the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which reminds us:

1789 Some rules apply in every case: (1756; 1970; 1827; 1971)

— One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

— the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”56

— charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience … you sin against Christ.”57 Therefore “it is right not to … do anything that makes your brother stumble.”58


2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.91

2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors. (2267)

Quite simply, torture is incompatible with our Catholic faith, regardless of the good some think it must do:
  1. No evil can be done so good may come of it
  2. The Church condemns torture as evil.
  3. Therefore No Torture can be done so good may come of it.

Deny that the Church can condemn torture as evil, and you also deny the authority of the Church to condemn things like abortion, murder, etc.

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