Torture Not Ethical as Anti-terrorism Tool, Says Cardinal

President of Justice and Peace Council Meets the Press

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2005 ( Torture is not an ethical means for fighting terrorism, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Renato Martino made that assertion today at a press conference where he presented Benedict XVI’s message for World Day of Peace, to be held Jan. 1.

“Torture is the humiliation of a person, whoever that person is. For this reason, the Church does not accept it as valid this means to extract the truth,” the cardinal said.

He also addressed the topic of the proliferation of arms, denouncing that “there exists a stalemate in the control of arms, including conventional and nuclear.”

On another topic, the Vatican official noted that promises made to developing countries have been breached.

Cardinal Martino, 73, reminded wealthier nations of the need to fulfill the promise made to put 0.7% of their gross domestic product toward development aid.

Referring to the Middle East, he recognized that “we do very little in asking that our governments intervene for peace in the Holy Land.”

Focusing on the situation in Iraq, the cardinal said that the presence of foreign troops there was necessary to guarantee the process of democratization and the establishment of an autonomous government in Iraq.

“I hope that we are close to the moment, and that Iraq is able to govern itself,” he said. “When this happens, I hope soon, the foreign military presence will no longer have a reason to be.”

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