Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Andrew Sullivan on torture and Catholic teaching

I am not a fan of Andrew Sullivan, after (inter alia) his bizarre (and continuing) obsession with Sarah Palin's youngest child, though he is capable of wonderful writing.  But, I think he is right here:

 . . .The notion of the integrity of the human person, of human dignity, is integral to the Catholic faith. We are all made in the image of God, imago Dei. The central and divine figure in our faith, Jesus of Nazareth, was brutally tortured. He was also robbed of dignity, forced to wear a mocking crown of thorns, sent to carry a crippling cross through the streets of Jerusalem, mocked while in agony, his body exposed naked and twisted in the stress position known as crucifixion - which was often done without nails by Romans so that the death was slow and agonizing in the way stress positions are designed to be. Ask John McCain. . . .

, , ,As Christians and as Catholics, we are required to follow Our Lord's impossible example and not just love our friends, but to love our enemies. This does not mean pacifism; and I have a long, long record of supporting what I believe were just wars. I mean understanding that war is always evil even when it is necessary, but that some things, like torture, abuse and dehumanizing of others under our total control, are never justified.

And once done, once perpetrated, they damage the souls of the torturers as profoundly as they destroy their victims.. . .


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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I don't know. My understanding is that the Church's position against capital punishment is that its unnecessary. The argument for waterboarding etc. is that it certainly is necessary.

And Jesus was silent on threats to one's family [friends, countrymen, etc.]. Let the burglar kill your family? It's at least arguable that "turn the other cheek" doesn't refer to that. If a man rape your wife, offer him your daughter as well?

Certainly the "dignity of the human" person forbids gratuitous sadism such as that Jesus was subjected to. But that is not the issue, and I think there's a conflation here.

Posted by: tom van dyke | Feb 17, 2010 10:10:09 PM