The Catechism of the Catholic Church 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” (CCC 2297 ). In Scripture, however, we find that God ordered the voluntary infliction of pain as a punishment for some bad conduct, not only in a civic context, but also in a familiar context (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 13:24, Sirach 30:1, 12 ). Now, we can’t say that God ordered things contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction?
Obviously not all infliction of pain is torture.
Where can the line be drawn?
Here’s a question for you. Is God capable of admiring a woman’s beauty without lusting after her? Of course. Now that’s something that is very hard for many, many people to do. The temptation is always there to objectify her. We have to restrict our behaviors to avoid that. God doesn’t ever objectify people.
So, next question, is God capable of inflicting pain on someone without dehumanizing them? Well, God never dehumanizes people. We, on the other hand…
Often the restrictions we are asked to place on ourselves are not because the action can’t be done morally, but because we would struggle to do it morally.
God is not man and had not yet assumed human nature. He sets the rules and is not bound by them. He cannot sin as He acts from complete purity. We must have limits as we are impure.
I reminded the Russian expression about the torture- “to get your soul out of you”, it’s a cruel expression, but Russian prisons for a centuries were really bad.
In atheistic USSR, during the Stalins rule, the 10-15 years of prison for little crimes was considered as normal punishments, the torture by hard labour (usually 16 hours) was considered as useful for the prisoners.
To keep prisoner always hungry and force him to work was a norm in the early Soviet period.
But the testimonies of such a writers as Varlam Shalamov, Solzhenytsyn, Dovlatov, testifies that hard Labour, and such treatments of prisoners was a curse.
The writers prove that human degradation can lead to beastly humiliation where humans can do any thing because of hunger.
That the caste of “thieves in law” was a worst type of torture and curse for the prisoners.
And actually the Gulag’s tortures reflected later on societies wheel of history and all future troubles on post Soviet dynamics.
Yes, I think this was never better summed up than in the phrase, “For nothing you get ten years.”
There should be more conferences, more meetings, more forums on this problem.
Especially in Arabic, East Asian, countries.
Torture its a vital problem for many societies.
Sometimes I wonder why the elites in some Ex-USSR countries live like earthly gods and citizens can not fight the poverty, can not get out of poverty, and I realized that its because of this past rule of “thieves in law” caste, who ruled hand in hand with corrupted authorities. (both in prison and in society)
Today, their generation changed, they reside in Moscow, Tel Aviv, New York…
They deal with billions of dollars, big money and can influence even the world politics (there were wornings of some publicists about it 20-30 years ago) but they are the once who strengthen ollegarchy, strengthen the primitive motto “strongest takes every thing”
That’s why small businesses are suffer.
That’s why small business can’t grow.
That’s why citizens can not get out of poverty.
Just read Varlam Shalamov about the terror of thieves in law in Russian prisons, and google about how this caste was growing through the years, and you can see why many countries can not get out of poverty.
That passage speaks against torture when it is used for those specific purposes. It can’t reasonably be understood as forbidding any infliction of pain (including what might be considered torture) for other purposes.
If to be correct this caste is SUKI, not literally “thieves in law”
SUKI collaborate with governments, according to psycho analytics all of them have sexual pervertions of different degrees, but they eventually cooperate hand in hand with government getting to the status of ollegarchy.
In 1990th they were killing people (bank SEO’s, business competitors, cleaned the roads for monopolies) by thousands like on the war, and later has got access to ruling politicians, buying parliaments, ruling behind the veil.
For example in my country the figures like Ahmetov, Yanukovich, are just a little members of this caste.
They have no convictions, they are just a units of bigger Mafias.
Before the KGB used these people to clean the territories and to build the pseudo criminal monopolies.
That is how Yanukovich came to power.
From gradual local King, to the president of the state.
The result of this rule we ripe today, but its not a big thing comparably with how this caste influence the events in the world.
So you’re saying the Church accepts torture if used, say, just to gather information that isn’t a confession?
I’m saying that you can’t use that passage to say that it doesn’t.
Pain isn’t evil. So God inflicting pain, or ordering the infliction of pain, isn’t evil. Intent is important.