The Tenth Station - Jesus is stripped of his garments.

Photo by David Leeson / Dallas Morning News / Corbis

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

Having arrived at the place of execution, Jesus, you must endure the insufferable humiliation of having your clothing stripped from your body to stand naked before those conscripted to take part in the process of crucifixion, the ultimate indignity. Only thorns remain, encircling your bruised, bleeding brow.

To have someone in custody seems automatically to be granted license to provoke and demean the one arrested or taken prisoner. We recognize that behavior too often on city streets by some police officers, and especially in the climate of the war on terror. The denigration of the victim exposes the vicious motivation of those in charge. The photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison and the reports from Guantanamo Bay detention facility bear out that ugly fact as do films of blacks apprehended for driving violations. Torture is expected when the extraction of information is deemed more valuable than the person being interrogated so that suspects of national security are transported to other nations with reputations for vicious, dehumanizing means of torture.

We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights. We mourn all who have died or been injured... We acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name. - From the Statement of the 34 U.S. Members of the World Council of Churches