Thursday, July 31, 2008

Torture

Torture - as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
2297 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.
It goes on to say

2298 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.

The Pope - in quoting the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - says this about torture:

Public authorities must be ever vigilant in this task, eschewing any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners. In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances”

Now, I know that there are several Catholic writers, theologians and others who are trying to blur the distinctions between what constitutes torture and what doesn't. Violence is the key here, as the Catechism defines torture. This is a moral absolute and the game of "what if" doesn't do justice to the situation, because we cannot justify the means by the ends.

Mark Shea has done a great job in defending the Church in this regard and has taken a heck of a lot of heat because of it. I for one applaud Mark for standing firm and being convicted of the facts, as the Church teaches them.

So, in light of all of this, I give you Colbert. Who brings it all home for us. Tip O' the Hat goes to Mark.

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