Washington D.C., May 3, 2009 / 15:30 pm
A new survey from the Pew Center Forum on Religion & Public Life claims that Catholics are more likely than the general population to favor the use of torture against suspected terrorists.
The survey of 742 American adults asked whether the use of torture can often, sometimes, rarely or never be justified.
About 19 percent of white non-Hispanic Catholics said they believed that the use of torture against suspected terrorists can often be justified, while 32 percent said it can sometimes be justified. About 27 percent said the practice can rarely be justified, while only 20 percent said it can never be justified.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns torture, saying that 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.”
Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritas Splendor, reiterating the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, described “physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit” as being “hostile to life.”