Down to the Wire: Just $6,312 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Torture

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jan 31, 2012

One of our users asked in a Sound Off! comment whether the Catholic Church had a clear teaching on torture and on the use of coercive means to obtain information. The Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et Spes 27) included torture in the list of evils it used to illustrate the concept of intrinsic evil, and this was repeated by Pope John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor 80.

But as with the concept of “lying”, much depends on how torture is defined. Is it torture, for example, to punish someone by inflicting pain? Clearly this is not necessarily the case. Also, how much coercion and/or pain constitutes torture as opposed to mere pressure? Clearly not all forms of coercion are torture.

The answers are not always easy, and acting legitimately in this matter certainly involves prudent judgment as well as moral sensitivity. For an excellent discussion of these issues, see Fr. Brian Harrison’s article, The Church and Torture, in our library.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($55,552 to go):
$150,000.00 $94,448.13
37% 63%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: richardols3892 - Feb. 01, 2012 9:57 AM ET USA

    When I served in Vietnam as a prisoner interrogator, it was cut and dried - no torture, otherwise a court martial. I am horrified that ANY Catholic can justify what has been done in the name of extracting information from an enemy. The ends do NOT justify the means. The FBI is noted for not using any physical coercion in questioning suspects, and Air Force Intelligence, of which I was a part, had the same rule regarding enemy prisoners of war.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy 23 hours ago
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25