A Facebook Conversation Today

My friend posted  something today and it turned into politics, natch. Her friend is a Santorum supporter and I am, well, it’s pretty obvious, I’d rather have a root canal than to vote for him.  I do, however, realize that there is a lot of support for him (why I am not sure) and I am further saddened by his lack of docility to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

There isn’t a single candidate running who is perfect. With that said you have to do the best you can when deciding who to vote for and that boils down to informing yourself through prayer and research to the best of your ability and voting on what you think is most important for our country. I have many reasons voting for Rick Santorum. He is passionate about what he believes in. I have seen him talk in person, on national television during the debates and he has consistently spoke out against abortion and the negative effects of contraception on women. He has not only spoken out about it and the importance of family values and defending marriages he has also put it into action through his leadership in the partial birth abortion ban and others. I agree with Ron Paul in most of his issues but when comes to things he seems to leave a gray area like in his stance on exceptions in the cases of rape and incest. He doesn’t come across as passionate and strong. As far as torture the Church isn’t 100 percent clear so again we have to apply prayer and discernment. He feels that Iran is already at war with us so I wouldn’t go as far to say he is pro war as people think he is without looking at the reasons why he is for the war with Iran.


While I address the other issues on Facebook,  I wanted to address the issue of torture and war here. I have pretty much beaten a dead horse about the pro-life issues and have done so on my blog, but torture and just war, I feel, need to be addressed.  I am keeping it simple, citing the Catechism and an encyclical here, but that is all we need to see that the Catholic Church does not, in anyway, support torture.

As far as the church teaching on torture, it is pretty clear. From CCC 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.

Further, the Church defines torture formally (i.e., what makes an action torture):

1. violation of human dignity in the form of
2. intentional mental and/or physical harm in order to
3. use a human person as a means (or instrument) for some producible end
4. against that person’s will.

These are the essential features of torture, and any material action with this form is torture. And it does not take any meticulous reasoning to figure out which material acts bear this essential form.

Church sources: Veritatis Splendor 80 & CCC 2297

Pope Benedict XVI, September 2007 “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” (Ibid., 404).”

He is reiterating what Blessed John Paul II said in 2004 in the COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH # 404. 

The Church is nothing but 100% clear on the situation.

How is Iran already at war with us? Have they attacked us? How so? Church teaching on Just War is just as clear:

2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.105

2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.”106

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

– the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

– all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

– there must be serious prospects of success;

– the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgement of those who have responsibility for the common good. http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm

Filed under: American Liberties, Catholic

1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately too many conservative Catholics refuse to educate themselves about what the church actually teaches about the humane treatment of prisoners and just war. Most seem content just nodding their heads in agreement with their current pet politician and just hope their policies somehow, kinda sorta don’t violate church teaching.

    If only they applied the same kind of fervor they possess when fighting grave transgression to life like abortion to others areas of their faith then maybe politicians like Santorum wouldn’t be so brash as to flaunt his Catholicism and self-describe himself as a conservative “heavyweight” while simultaneously violating church doctrine in his policies.

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