From the Chicago Tribune :
Pope Benedict XVI's top official for justice issues said Tuesday that torture is unacceptable for extracting information that might thwart a terrorist attack.
In analyzing what causes terrorism, the pope said in the Vatican's annual review of world conflicts that "consideration should be given not only to its political and social causes but also to its deeper cultural, religious and ideological motivations."
The pope also issued a warning about fundamentalism.
"Religious fanaticism, today often labeled fundamentalism, can inspire and encourage terrorist thinking and activity."
His message, which was issued for the approaching new year, also lamented that international diplomacy aimed at eliminating nuclear menace had become "bogged down."
The pontiff paid tribute to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who vigorously opposed the war in Iraq, and said the church would continue "serving the cause of peace."
At a news conference about the peace message, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's pontifical council on peace and justice, was asked whether torture could be a legitimate tool to gain information that might prevent terror attacks.
The prelate replied that there was no justification for using torture, which is the "humiliation of the human person, whoever he is."
OK. I hate it when I have to raise flags over Vatican octrine, but I will here. Please feel free to contribute to this--I could use other thoughts. My feeling is that, obviously, we don't want to torture people for no reason. Humane behavior should always be the basic norm. Prisoners are people, after all. But some of these prisoners have information that could save lives. If a prisoner, for example, knows where a bomb is hidden in London, or Paris, or New York, or on a submarine, don't the captors have a duty to extract this information to save hundreds, or thousands, of innocent lives? Isn't that the ultimate goal? I know this sounds a little utiliarian, but I can't believe that the Vatican would support letting many people die for the sake of keeping one person's human rights in tact. Warfare isn't pretty. I'm not saying that we should unilaterally use torture, but I do feel there are some cases where some is justitified. We have to be able to get information to save people and stop terrorism and other acts of war. I haven't followed the US torture debate very closely, but I just don't think it's right to say torture is never permissible. If our enemies know we won't do it to them, won't that cause them to be more brazen, try to push the envelope even more?
Please contribute to this--I could use some additional thoughts.