Catholics and Torture

Yesterday, I happened across a news article about Sarah Palin and her comments about baptism and waterboarding. Folks, if you are still a fan of hers, it is time to move on, especially if you are Catholic. We, as Catholics, cannot support those who support torture. The denouncement of torture is spelled out very clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2297.

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.90

Paragraph 2298 goes on to state that Holy Mother Church has never supported these cruel practices.

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.


To support those who support torture is to support torture. Oh, I’m sure there are some saying “No it’s not!” but I ask, would you support a candidate who supports abortion? No, then why would you support a candidate who supports an evil that is also spelled out a being morally wrong in our Catechism?

I am going to take this one step further and ask how we can support political parties who have no problem with torture. To quote this article:

I regret having believed that Republicans actually offered a substantially different choice to voters (as compared to Democrats) instead of being the other side of the same filthy coin, minted by oligarchs, circulated by sycophants, and duly rendered to Caesar.  It’s becoming increasingly clear that we serious Catholics are politically homeless in this culture of death and destruction, and that both major parties only tolerate us as long as we’re willing to stifle our Catholic consciences and give them our votes. (emphasis mine.) 

Just some food for thought this Tuesday morning.

Filed under: Catholic, Social Commentary

1 Comment

  1. Beth,

    I agree with you about torture. I always think “would I want my sons, husband, brothers treated that way?” It comes down to “do unto others….”

    however, torture is not intrinsically evil as is abortion. Nor is it as pervasive. So not apples to apples, as they say.

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