For those who may have missed this last night:
Donald Trump defended waterboarding, torture and killing terrorists’ families at the Fox Republican debate Thursday, all positions for which he’s drawn criticism during the course of his campaign. When asked about former CIA Director Michael Hayden’s recent comments that the military could defy unlawful orders to torture or kill civilians, Trump said, “They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse, believe me.” “You look at the Middle East, they’re chopping off heads, they’re chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way, they’re drowning people in steel cages, and now we’re talking about waterboarding… It’s fine, and if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger too. Because frankly, that’s the way I feel. Can you imagine these people, these animals, over in the Middle East that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.”
Catholic teaching on this subjectis clear:
2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. 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. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law. In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.
Finally, from the USCCB:
The 1984 United Nations Convention Against Torturedefines torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person to obtain information or a confession, and where such an act is allowed by a public official. The International Red Cross defines torture as existence of a specific purpose plus intentional infliction of severe suffering or pain. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits that prisoners of war be subjected to violence to life and person, in particular mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, . . .outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. But what does our faith say about torture? Catholic social teaching today opposes torture in the treatment of any detained or imprisoned person. For the Church is convinced that every human person bears a God-given dignity; respect for that dignity must always be present. The Church also is careful to point out that torture is illegal, prohibited under international law. Pope Benedict XVI talked about this in September 2007, when he addressed an international congress of Catholic prison ministers. . . . Means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners must be eschewed by public authorities, he said. Immediately he added the following statement, which incorporates a quote taken from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: The prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstances (No. 404).