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Pope Francis: Former popes ignored mercy in using ‘inhuman’ death penalty

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linate

if i were to grant that there may not be a contradiction on the death penalty point, i'd argue the true position is too lost in thousands of years of verbiage that look contradictory at least on the surface for anyone to really know. if i were to stick my neck out and take a position on which position looks the most official, id say the pro death penalty folks are doing a better job stating things that look official, and that francis is an outlier who needs to use clearer binding language if he wants to seal the deal. 

will the official death penalty position of the catholic church, please stand up? 

Quote


Pope ‘seems to be contradicting traditional teaching’ on death penalty: Catholic prof

October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ recent statements about the death penalty being “contrary to the Gospel” seem to be a departure from previous Catholic teaching, a Catholic professor says. 

“When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” said Dr. Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in California, to LifeSiteNews. 

Pope Francis made his controversial remarks during an October 11 speech to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II (read full speech here). 

Dr. Feser is an expert on the morality of capital punishment. Together with Dr. Joseph M. Bessette, who is an ethicist at Claremont McKenna College in California, he published in March a Catholic defense of capital punishment titled By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed.

“The Church teaches that scripture is divinely inspired, that it cannot teach error where matters of faith and morals are concerned, and that it must always be interpreted in the way the Church traditionally has understood it. But many passages of scripture clearly teach that capital punishment is legitimate, and have always been interpreted by the Church as teaching this,” he said. 

Both the Old and New Testaments indicate that the death penalty can be legitimate. For instance, Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Or again, St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans teaches that the state “does not bear the sword in vain (but) is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Feser said previous popes have “consistently” reaffirmed the legitimacy of capital punishment and have “insisted that accepting its legitimacy is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy.”

One such pope would be Pius XII, who in 1955 defended the authority of the State to punish crimes, even with the death penalty. He argued that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture because “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” is based on “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.”  

“Even Pope St. John Paul II taught that capital punishment is not always and absolutely wrong,” said Feser. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his classic defense of capital punishment in the Summa Theologica, argued that “if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.” 

The Catholic professor said the Church also has “always taught that popes are obligated to preserve traditional teaching and never to contradict it.” 

“When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” he said.

“If that is what he is doing, then he is flirting with doctrinal error, which is possible when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra, even though it is extremely rare. There are only a handful of cases in Church history of popes who are possibly guilty of this, the best known cases being those of Pope Honorius and Pope John XXII,” he added.

Feser said that if Pope Francis is reversing past teaching on capital punishment, then he is “implicitly saying that every previous pope and scripture itself were wrong.”

“This would completely undermine the authority of the Church, and of Pope Francis himself. For if the Church could be that wrong for that long about something that serious, why trust anything else she says? And if all previous popes have been so badly mistaken, why should we think Pope Francis is right?” he said. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible. 

“The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense … Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor,” states the Catechism (bold added). 

The Catholic professor said that if what the Pope said is true that he, in the Pope’s own words, is “not in any way contradicting past teaching” and that his statements “in no way represents a change in doctrine,” then he “ought to issue a clarification, so as to ensure the credibility of the Church’s claim to preserve the deposit of faith.”

The Pope said during his speech that he would like the Catechism of the Catholic Church to change, adding that only a “partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static.”

The “harmonious development of doctrine demands that we cease to defend arguments that now appear clearly contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth,” the Pope said. 

 

 

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Peace
4 minutes ago, linate said:

if i were to grant that there may not be a contradiction on the death penalty point, i'd argue the true position is too lost in thousands of years of verbiage that look contradictory at least on the surface for anyone to really know. if i were to stick my neck out and take a position on which position looks the most official, id say the pro death penalty folks are doing a better job stating things that look official, and that francis is an outlier who needs to use clearer binding language if he wants to seal the deal. 

will the official death penalty position of the catholic church, please stand up? 

Nobody cares about what you would argue.

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linate

here is a catholic professor stating it again that the pro death penalty argument has the upperhand from a historical perspective. 

that means pope francis has no choice but to do a little dance and pretend he didn't just contradict thousands of years of christian and catholic thought. 

and i tend to be against the death penalty. i'm just calling a spade a spade. 

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Peace
1 minute ago, linate said:

here is a catholic professor stating it again that the pro death penalty argument has the upperhand from a historical perspective. 

that means pope francis has no choice but to do a little dance and pretend he didn't just contradict thousands of years of christian and catholic thought. 

and i tend to be against the death penalty. i'm just calling a spade a spade. 

You can call it whatever you like. Nobody cares what you think.

Edited by Peace

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linate
1 minute ago, Peace said:

Nobody cares about what you would argue.

if you can't call a spade a spade, that's your problem. 

id invite you to challenge me to a debate on catholic contradictions, but i see you are lost in your own head for you to learn anything. 

you should read the article i posted just a second ago. it's more official. you might actually learn something. 

1 minute ago, Peace said:

You can call it whatever you like. Nobody cares what you think.

why you comin at me side ways so much? and they are wondering why the forum is doing so bad. 

if you can't commit to logical thinking, don't expect others to follow your lead. 

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Peace
3 minutes ago, linate said:

if you can't call a spade a spade, that's your problem. 

id invite you to challenge me to a debate on catholic contradictions, but i see you are lost in your own head for you to learn anything. 

you should read the article i posted just a second ago. it's more official. you might actually learn something. 

I do not care about what you think I should read and I do not want to have a debate with you, because I think that you are an idiot and it would be a waste of my time. If you think that I am "lost in my own head" I am perfectly fine with that. I do not value your opinion of me. Have a good night.

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linate
Just now, Peace said:

I do not care about what you think I should read and I do not want to have a debate with you, because I think that you are an idiot and it would be a waste of my time. If you think that I am "lost in my own head" I am perfectly fine with that. I do not value your opinion of me. Have a good night.

what you just can't stand it that you have to have the last word too? so you're not just illogical, but you're a d*ck too? id be nicer but you came at me sideways first, and your arguments are terrible. i suppose it's best to just shake the dust from my shoes, as the early christians would say, trying to enlighten your dark and lost mind. 

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Peace
1 minute ago, linate said:

what you just can't stand it that you have to have the last word too? so you're not just illogical, but you're a d*ck too? id be nicer but you came at me sideways first, and your arguments are terrible. i suppose it's best to just shake the dust from my shoes, as the early christians would say, trying to enlighten your dark and lost mind. 

I do not care if you think my arguments are terrible, and I do not care if you "shake the dust from your shoes". Have a good night.

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linate

here is another well written article stating the pro death penalty stuff and trying not to state what's true, if we're all honest.... that this is a contradiction. 

 

Quote

Catholic professor: Why I can never teach Pope Francis’ new teaching on death penalty

  Capital Punishment, Catholic, Death Penalty, Pope Francis

October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s hard to believe that the change to the Catechism, which caused such a tempest at the time, happened only two months ago. The inexorable whirl of events under this pontificate has already buried the subject in the news cycle and in people’s minds. It’s just one more milestone in the long forced march towards the Church of Tomorrow.  But we should not make the mistake of letting our interests be dominated by the latest news, such that we cease to ponder “the method to the madness.”

Consider the difference between the new Catechism text and the speech of October 11, 2017, on which it was based and to which it refers (as the only cited source for the revision). In the speech, the Pope spoke his mind freely:

It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.  It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which—ultimately—only God is the true judge and guarantor.

Here, the Pope claimed that the death penalty in and of itself, in principle, is contrary to the Gospel, which must mean contrary to divine law or natural law or both, and therefore intrinsically immoral. This is formal heresy, and we can be sure the Pope knows this—but he also knows how few Catholics know enough theology to be able to identify a heresy even if it sprang up and hit them in the face. Moreover, he knows that most of the officials who surround him are either cowards or climbers, so he will get no challenges from that quarter.

The new Catechism text, however, features cleverly crafted language: “The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’” (citing the same speech). Inadmissible. A vague, fuzzy, roundabout word that has no pedigree in moral theology, which speaks of that which is moral or immoral, right or wrong, or right in some circumstances and wrong in others. 

As its author knew it would, “inadmissible” sent Catholics scuttling in all directions to try to figure out what it means. Is it a practical or a theoretical claim? A prudential limitation or a principled exclusion? And the apologist network begins cranking out its predictable “explanations” to show that, once again, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, in spite of contradictions everyone can point to, nothing has really changed and everything is all right! The more earnest kept scratching their heads, demanding endless clarifications and signing endless petitions and producing endless talmudic commentaries to show how to square the circle.

Dr. Joseph Shaw put it well: “In this case, the mouse-hole of ambiguity conservative Catholics need to crawl through to maintain the continuity between the two editions of the Catechism is humiliatingly small. When they have crawled through it, moreover, they will be ignored.”

Meanwhile, in spite of such efforts (and even, in a way, due to them), the pope’s overarching goal—to transmit the signal that Catholic doctrine is perpetually debatable and developable into new and unforseen evolutionary forms, malleable and adjustable to the Zeitgeist—has already been triumphantly achieved in the minds of the vast majority of Catholics and non-Catholics.

Fr. Hugh Somerville Knapman points to the harm of this way of thinking: 

Looking at this more contextually, perhaps an even greater concern is the phenomenon of change itself. Since the middle of the twentieth century the Church has suffered a constant, and often quite bewildering and ultimately unnecessary, series of changes to teaching and liturgy. Large-scale change leads to an expectation of more. And more. Everything is perceived, often wrongly, as open to change. When change is valued for its own sake, nothing is safe. Recently Professor Stephen Bullivant, and other commentators, have noted how the negative reaction to Humanae Vitae in 1968 was conditioned by the widespread expectation of change in Church teaching on artificial contraception, an expectation fostered and exacerbated by the dizzying changes unleashed on the Church in the 1960s. Thus, this change to the text of the Catechism appears as a regrettable perpetuation of a culture, a hermeneutic, of change. It is not what we need right now.

And yet, it is deliberately what we have been given. The Lord’s rhetorical questions—“What man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?” (Mt 7:9–10)—have, alas, been answered in a non-rhetorical manner.

I would like to make this clear: I will never teach to anyone—my children, my friends, my students, my readers, my audiences—the stuff that Francis has commanded to be put into the Catechism. I will gladly teach that capital punishment is often not the best solution; I’m willing to admit that it may deserve to be curtailed in modern Western democracies. But I cannot, in good conscience, declare that capital punishment is “contrary to the dignity of man” or ruled out by “the light of the Gospel.” I could not do this without rejecting revelation and the Catholic faith. It is in the name of obedience to the Lord of life and death, the divine author of the State and the source of its punitive authority (cf. Rom 13), that I refuse my consent to this false teaching, and I sincerely hope that such refusal will be the norm rather than the exception.

Now is not the time for obsequious ultramontanism, which would be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Now is the time for saying “enough is enough.” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord in the Catholic Faith to which thousands of catechisms have borne unanimous witness for centuries.

 

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BarbaraTherese
2 hours ago, Peace said:

I agree, but the pro-DP folks will say that putting someone to death can be "pro-life" because it gives weight to the seriousness of the offense, or some other such nonsense.

 

Indeed it is nonsense.  Then "pro-DP folks" are simply attempting rationalisation of an illogical position.  One is either for life or for some life only.  

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Jack4
28 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

 

Indeed it is nonsense.  Then "pro-DP folks" are simply attempting rationalisation of an illogical position.  One is either for life or for some life only.  

No. That DP is legitimate in principle is taught by JP2. No one would say that he wasn't pro-life.

On 1/19/2019 at 9:28 PM, Peace said:

There is no new public revelation, just as there are no new scientific truths. Gravity and the inner structure of an atom are exactly the same today as they were 10 million years ago. What the Church does is better understand the revelation over time and the various manners in which it can be applied, just as the scientist better understands the scientific truths that govern the universe over time and the manner in which those scientific truths can applied. Both processes of understanding involve error and the progress is not always linear.

We receive revelation which is free from error.

On 1/19/2019 at 9:28 PM, Peace said:

The apostles did not teach with respect to human cloning, the use of stem cells, in vitro fertilization, gene modification and a boatload of other modern things, but the Church has authority to set limits in all of these areas. What exactly is your point?

The deposit doesn't teach whether DP is justly administere in our time, it only gives principles to evaluate so. 

DP, unlike the other stuff you mention, is legitimate in principle so if it is unjustly administered it is due to logistic factors. 

On 1/19/2019 at 9:28 PM, Peace said:

you do not answer 90% of the questions I ask you.

I'm sorry if I haven't; please direct me to those questions.

On 1/19/2019 at 9:28 PM, Peace said:

I know that Feser is the tradHero and catholicGenius and all, but practically everything he has done violates the principles set forth in Donum Veritatas, the very document that you and he rely to support your right to dissent. Simply put, he has not given us a shining example of how we are to bring our concerns to our clergy.

Leaving aside the fact that Dr Feser, bright as he is, is not afaik a hero in mainstream circles of liturgical traditionalism; 

He has explained in his blog how he obeys DV; I've linked to it here.

On 1/19/2019 at 9:28 PM, Peace said:

Yes.

Thank you. With this, I believe we agree about the central issue at hand. I mean this sincerely.

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Jack4
4 hours ago, BarbaraTherese said:

It is not the first time a teaching of The Church has changed, and it won't be the last time.

 Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. 

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius10/p10moath.htm

I can quote more. The point being that Church teaching doesn't "change".

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BarbaraTherese
29 minutes ago, Jack4 said:

I can quote more. The point being that Church teaching doesn't "change".

Galileo for one only

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BarbaraTherese

It is obviously very important that in using a word such as "modernism" and the like, that the parties to a conversation on the subject are all talking about the same definition; alternatively, exchanging concepts of the definition:

 

 

CatholicCulture.org  https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=34926

Term MODERNISM

Definition

A theory about the origin and nature of Christianity, first developed into a system by George Tyrrell (1861-1909), Lucien Laberthonnière (1860-1932), and Alfred Loisy (1857-1940). According to Modernism, religion is essentially a matter of experience, personal and collective. There is no objective revelation from God to the human race, on which Christianity is finally based, nor any reasonable grounds for credibility in the Christian faith, based on miracles or the testimony of history. Faith, therefore, is uniquely from within. In fact it is part of human nature, "a kind of motion of the heart," hidden and unconscious. It is, in Modernist terms, a natural instinct belonging to the emotions, a "feeling for the divine" that cannot be expressed in words or doctrinal propositions, an attitude of spirit that all people have naturally but that some are more aware of having. Modernism was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in two formal documents, Lamentabiliand Pascendi, both published in 1907. (Etym. Latin modernus, belonging to the present fashion.)

 

 

 

https://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/MODERSM.TXTMODERNIST ERRORS (AS TAKEN FROM <LAMENTABILI>)

4. The magisterium of the Church, even by dogmatic definitions, cannot determine the genuine sense of the sacred Scriptures.

5. Since in the deposit of faith only revealed truths are contained, in no respect does it pertain to the Church to pass judgment on the assertions of human sciences.

7. When the Church proscribes errors, she cannot exact any internal assent of the faithful by which the judgments published by her are embraced.

11. Divine inspiration does not so extend to all sacred Scripture so that it fortifies each and every part of it against all error.

14. In many narratives the Gospel writers related not so much what is true, as what they thought to be more profitable for the reader, although false.

18. John, indeed, claims for himself the character of an eyewitness concerning Christ, but in reality he is nothing but a distinguished witness of the Christian life or of the life of the Christian Church at the end of the first century.

25. The assent of faith ultimately depends on an accumulation of probabilities.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels but is a dogma which the Christian conscience has deduced from the notion of the Messiah.

28. When Jesus was exercising his ministry, he did not speak with the purpose of teaching that he was the Messiah, nor did his miracles have as their purpose to demonstrate this.

29. It may be conceded that the Christ whom history presents is far inferior to the Christ who is the object of faith.

35. Christ did not always have the consciousness of his Messianic dignity.

36. The resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order, but a fact of the purely supernatural order, neither demonstrated nor demonstrable, and which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other sources.

52. It was foreign to the mind of Christ to establish a Church as a society upon earth to endure for a long course of centuries; rather, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was to come presently.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable, but Christian society, just as human society, is subject to perpetual evolution.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that the primacy of the Church was entrusted to him by Christ.

64. The progress of the sciences demand that the concepts of Christian doctrine about God, creation, revelation, the person of the incarnate Word, and redemption be readjusted.

65. Present day Catholicism cannot be reconciled with true science unless it be transformed into a kind of non-dogmatic Christianity, that is, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

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Jack4
22 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Galileo for one only

The Church never taught geocentrism as a doctrine. 

13 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

It is obviously very important that in using a word such as "modernism" and the like, that the parties to a conversation on the subject are all talking about the same definition; alternatively, exchanging concepts of the definition

I did not call you a modernist. Rather, I pointed out that when the Church was combating them, she had to state certain things about the nature of her own teaching - including that it doesn't evolve to a different meaning. 

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