Thursday, June 26, 2008

Torture Revisited, USCCB on Torture

The USCCB has released a Catholic Study guide on Torture, a 40-page document consisting of four chapters.

Chapter 1 is devoted to Catholic thought on the dignity of every human person. For when Catholic leaders today turn attention to the use of torture in prisons of any kind anywhere in the world, they consistently view it as a violation of the human person’s God-given dignity.
Chapter 2 focuses on torture itself, and the reasons why it is a source of such concern for the Church at this point in the third millennium. What forms does torture take? What reasons are given for the torture or abusive treatment of prisoners today? What specific objections are lodged by Catholic leaders against torture?
Chapter 3 closely examines Jesus’ Gospel instruction to love our enemies. Is it actually possible to love enemies in these threatening times of terrorism? Is it possible to love an enemy who may harbor information we seek to defend ourselves? The teaching of the Gospel on love for our enemies is not easy to follow, but Catholic leaders tell in this chapter why they view it as a teaching of utmost seriousness.
Chapter 4 is designed to promote discussion of actions that individuals, families, small groups in parishes, schools and others might take to address the issue of torture, and to raise awareness of its importance as a moral matter.
Finally, in an appendix to this discussion guide, you’ll find the text of a letter written in late 2007 by Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to members of the Senate. This appendix serves as a valuable overview of the Church’s reasons for opposing torture.
This looks like an excellent resource and should be fruitful for two purposes: 1 - laying the smackdown to any Catholics still defending the Bush regime's use of torture, and 2 - guiding local parish groups in discussion and action and advocacy on the topic of torture.


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