Sunday, April 26, 2009

Torture: WWBD? (What Would Benedict Do?)

'Tis a coincidence: that the spiritual leader of the world's largest Christian Church could trace part of his ecclesiastical heritage back to Roman Catholicism's darkest sin: The Inquisition. And today, during a time of deep inner reflection upon the subject of torture, the Catholic Church is presided over by one Benedict XVI, for at the time of his election as Pope, Benedict had been Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The CDF is the child of the INQUISITION:

(From wikipedia)
A form of torture similar to waterboarding called toca, and more recently "Spanish water torture", to differentiate it from the better known Chinese water torture, along with garrucha (or strappado) and the most frequently used potro (or the rack), was used infrequently during the trial portion of the Spanish Inquisition process. "The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning". Wlliam Schweiker claims that the use of water as a form of torture also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.

A strange man, Benedict XVI: forced to be Hitler Youth, then an infantry man during WWII, he palled around with the likes of Hans Kung, a liberal colleague and both closely associated with the ideals of Vatican II. But, as they say, "something changed," and he started listing to the right, concentrating on the "traditional" church and resisting any change.

Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI maintains the traditional Catholic doctrines on artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality.
In addition to his native German, Benedict XVI fluently speaks Italian, French, English, Latin, and also has a knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew.

Strange: knowledge of "Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew" has been the undoing of card-carrying Fundamentalist and Evangelical "scholars" because it is in reading the Bible in its nearest (and "purist") form of translation that a person realizes that what may actually have happened and what was written are two very different things: unless God purposely inspired errors and inconsistencies. Benedict would have noticed that "homosexuality" as we know it today, was NOT in the Bible's lexicon, and that the Greek word "arsenakatoi" (sometimes translated as "sodomite") was a fairly obscure Greek-Hebrew portmanteau slang word for "temple prostitutes."

But enough of the etymology of sodomy, let's focus on The Church and "torture." According to sources, the Catholic Church did not stop torture as a by-product of The Inquisition until the 19th century. So torture was recognized as a means of gaining information (or a recanting of beliefs) for over 700 years. Of course modern day popes decry torture and err on the side of the humane treatment of prisoners. BUT the gradual involvement of the Church in American politics casts doubt upon the depth and sincerity of this ideology.

Benedict XVI has caused consternation amidst the Muslim world with his rhetoric about Islam and Mohammed. If he were to decide the efficacy of torture against a Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorist, would he give thumbs up...or down?

Just a thought.

Now... (as Andrew Sullivan would put it) a mental health break:

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