Christians for Torture?

Here's an interesting article from the Commonweal website. It seems that nearly three out of four American Catholics believe torture is justified under some circumstances, which is contrary to the official teaching of the Church, which states that torture is never justified.

Now, I don't know for certain, but I'd be willing to bet that most of these "pro-torture (at-least-under-some-circumstances) Catholics" would consider themselves to be conservatives. The type who complain about the "cafeteria Catholics" who "pick and choose" the official teachings they accept. So does that make them hypocrites?

Maybe they don't know what the official teaching is. They're aware that torture had been explicitly approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1252, and affirmed by several subsequent popes. Isn't that good enough? Church teachings don't change, right?

Well, they do. Contrary to the teaching of the medieval church, the Catechism now affirms that 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" (§2297). And that makes it wrong.

By the way, the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Inquisition, available at New Advent, is a riot. Especially the part about torture. Give it a read sometime.


Blogger Talmida said...

That Inquisition article is a hoot! Imagine your concern about torture being that the clerics involved be able to absolve each other!

It's a wacky old church, Pear!


9:33 a.m.  

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