USCCB News Release
January 22, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishops Welcome Obama Executive Order Banning Torture
WASHINGTON—An executive order banning torture signed by President Barack Obama was welcomed by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Based upon the teachings of the Catholic Church, our Conference of Bishops welcomes the executive order," Bishop Hubbard said. "Together with other religious leaders, we had pressed for this step to protect human dignity and help restore the moral and legal standing of the United States in the world."
He added: "A ban on torture says much about us – who we are, what we believe about human life and dignity, and how we act as a nation."
In their November 2007 document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the U.S. bishops declared that "direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified" (No. 23). The bishops asserted: "The use of torture must be rejected as fundamentally incompatible with the dignity of the human person and ultimately counterproductive in the effort to combat terrorism" (No. 81).
In September 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, echoing the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, said "[T]he prohibition against torture 'cannot be contravened under any circumstance.'"