"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Catholic Teaching on Torture

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2313: "Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely. Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out.”

The New York Times reported on Friday 27 August 2004 that "Classsified parts of the report by three Army generals on the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison say Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former top commander in Iraq, approved the use in Iraq of some severe interrogation practices intended to be limited to captives held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and Afghanistan. "

The "severe interrogation practices" included the following:

"At Abu Ghraib, isolation conditions sometimes included being kept naked in very hot or very cold, small rooms, and/or completely darkened rooms, clearly in violation of the Geneva Conventions," a classified part of the report said. "

"That task force policy endorsed the use of stress positions during harsh interrogation procedures, the use of dogs, yelling, loud music, light control, isolation and other procedures used previously in Afghanistan and Iraq."

In a related story from the Washington Post for August 24, 2004: "Earlier reports and photographs from the prison have indicated that unmuzzled military police dogs were used to intimidate detainees at Abu Ghraib, something the dog handlers have told investigators was sanctioned by top military intelligence officers there. But the new report, according to Pentagon sources, will show that MPs were using their animals to make juveniles -- as young as 15 years old -- urinate on themselves as part of a competition."

The Catechism, paragraph #2297, says: "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."

Another passage from the Catechism, paragraph #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."

The root of this teaching is in human dignity. As it was put recently in a speech by a prominent human rights activist, Arundhati Roy, "Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated.” Transcript of full speech by Arundhati Roy in San Francisco, California on August 16th, 2004.

Let us pray for the Iraqi prisoners and for their tormentors. Let us also pray for those whose fear drives them to believe that by torturing our fellow human beings that we can become safer.

5 comments:

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broger said...

Designing

Hi Boyd

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Have you?

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…follow through on some of those old goals you had years ago.

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BenTansk said...

HELLO Boyd

Home school

I like to leave little "helps" after reading a good blog, or going over the blog comments, just to start people thinking about, well, everything.

2006 is just around the corner.

Thought about what you would like to achieve next year?

Did you do all you wanted to do this year, personally, professionally and perhaps spiritually?

My guess is; probably not. Most people don't know how to set workable goals and if they do, the don't know how to manage them.

When is the last time you actually took time to write down all you would like to do and accomplish in life? Or even a few of the small things you would like to do but didn't think would be possible?

We all have the potential to get almost anything we want out of life. It just takes a little work, thinking and action.

The first step is knowing how to set effective goals and then of course, how to follow up on them. That's the hard part. Following up.

How would you like to actually make this years New Years Resolution come true? Of course it would have to be attainable, and possible, but you could do it if you knew how.

Curious?

Use the FREE information @ How To Set Goals and have a really GREAT NEW YEAR.

All the BEST!

TotalIncome said...

Achievements

Hi Boyd

Have you done anything earth shattering lately?

Read anything that really sets your mind on fire with a passion to do good?

How about doing something important for yourself?

Have you?

Do you know without a doubt where life is taking you?

Got a Plan?

Know how to get there?

Most people don't. They just go through life hoping for the best. How can you possibly reach your dreams if you don't have a real plan?

A new year is coming. It's time to start thinking about your New Years Resolution and really start planning your life don't you think…

…follow through on some of those old goals you had years ago.

Even people in the goal setting business tend not to visit their "life plan" very often.

Are you one of those?

Need a little refresher and some FREE goal setting tips?

Spend a few minutes at Long Term Goals and take away life changing information.

Happy New Year!