Friday, June 01, 2007

On Torture

For one thing, I think torture is wrong. I also think that the Catholic Church says so.

I, like Geoff, am very disturbed but not necessarily surprised by the poll that suggests that "72% of Catholics approve of torture in certain cases". We as Catholics end up being shelved with the fundamentalist Protestants and other "lite" social conservatives, often to the point of a contempt for the admonitions of Church leaders. I think that we've been called "the religious right" for so long that we've become ok with the idea that to be "Catholic" is to be "right-wing." This is a tragedy.

But enough on that. While I totally agree with the end result of Geoff's article on torture (i.e., torture is always morally wrong, and Catholics who disagree should reexamine Church teaching), I believe Geoff ends up harming his point by engaging in a semantic discussion of the Catechism's wording. My apologies, Geoff, if I misread you.

While I think discussion of the Catholic Catechism's word choice remains a pertinent and interesting topic for debate, I do think that Geoff's argument is necessarily based upon a moral high ground. This is as it should be, since he is reprimanding Catholics for their moral blind spot in reference to what should be clear Church teaching. This moral high ground is lost, however, when Geoff seeks to replace the Catechism's definition of torture with his own. I think the article would have been better served by explaining why the Church's definition of torture, while inadequately phrased, reflects her emphasis on the Culture of Life and the dignity of the human person, both of which are violated by the use of torture.

That being said, I applaud you, Geoff for having the courage to stand for right on a topic which, especially among Catholics these days, is a sadly difficult one to approach. As Catholics, we stand for life, and desperate times never call for desperate measures. This is not our weakness, but our strength, for it is what separates us from our enemies. At least, that's the way it should be.

Sometimes loving America means taking that stand that nobody else wants to take. Kudos to you, Geoff.

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