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Archive for the ‘Capital Punishment’ Category

Picture of The Three Stooges taken from Pinterest

 

Senior apologist Jimmy Akin over at “Catholic Answers” has attempted to explain away “Pope” Francis’ new catechism change on the death penalty. [1] Akin argues that capital punishment is not intrinsically evil. The reason, he gives, is that today’s penal sanctions can protect society without the need for the death penalty, whereas in the past, the Church understood the death penalty as a necessary requirement to protect society.

Akin takes it further and states, “the death penalty could still be justified as a means of protecting society” and “one could understand the death penalty as something that involves ‘an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’ but an attack that could be tolerated or even required in situations where there is no other way to effectively protect society.”

The whole problem here is that the catechism implies the precise opposite to Akin’s argument.

The revision denotes that in the past the dignity of the person was considered lost due to serious crimes which justified the use of capital punishment. However, now “an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes” and “Consequently, 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’, [1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

The footnote points to Francis’ address in 2017 where he stated that the death penalty is “contrary to the Gospel” and “is an inhuman measure.” That means the death penalty is intrinsically evil.

In case you missed it, the catechism is saying the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and dignity of the person, but Akin argues that the same quote admits that such an attack is admissible. It can be justified, tolerated, or even required.

Apologist Patrick Madrid (formally of “Catholic Answers”) admits that Francis’ new teaching is contrary to past Church teaching and the death penalty is not an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person. Madrid asserts the change is Francis’ “personal pastoral approach” and “pastoral opinion” but no change in doctrine. [2]

If we pay close attention, we can see that the Francis’ catechism revision is implying four things:

  1. The Church in the past was wrong for thinking the dignity of the person is lost for serious crimes.
  2. The Church was wrong for thinking it was an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes.
  3. The Church was ignorant of the fact that the dignity is still present after serious crimes.
  4. The Church immorally attacked the inviolability and dignity of the person when such an attack is inadmissible because of the inviolability and dignity of the person.

All four implications are blasphemies against the Church and outright heresies against the Holiness of the Church.

Madrid understands the error of Francis’ teaching but asserts that a pope has the right to make and apply a heretical and blasphemous opinion as a pastoral approach.

Over at the Remnant Newspaper, we have Christopher Ferrara rightly pointing out Francis’ nonsense but then calling his pope’s magisterium “fake.” Well, that’s interesting. We sede’s call Francis’ magisterium fake, too, because Francis isn’t pope. However, Ferrara calls it fake because it’s heretical. [3]

Conclusion

Jimmy Akin twists the very words of “Pope” Francis and his catechism revision to say precisely opposite of their clear meaning.

Patrick Madrid implies that a pope has the right to promulgate a heretical pastoral approach.

Christopher Ferrara thinks his pope’s magisterium is fake with no authority because in Ferrara’s crazy religion, popes can have fake magisteriums and promulgate heresy without losing their office or membership in the Church.

All I can say is, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

 

Footnotes

[1] http://jimmyakin.com/2018/08/understanding-the-catechisms-death-penalty-revision.html

[2] http://jimmyakin.com/2018/08/understanding-the-catechisms-death-penalty-revision.html

[3] https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/4000-killing-capital-punishment-francis-vs-the-catholic-church#comment-4020553214

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In a 1973 movie called The Conflict, a modernist priest played by Martin Sheen asks a traditional priest (played by Trevor Howard) how do we begin to define heresy today. The traditionalist gives the answer for the modernist by stating, “yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heresy.”

Never has this statement been truer than in today’s religion headed by “Pope” Francis.

In “Why Sedevacantism” I showed that if Vatican 2 is correct that “religious communities are entitled to teach and give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance” [DH 4] then Martin Luther would have been right when he declared “that heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit” and Pope Leo X and his papal bull condemning Luther’s teaching would be heretical.

On Aug. 2, 2018, the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, “Pope” Francis has now, once again, officially recognized Martin Luther’s teaching as orthodoxy by ordering the Catechism of the Catholic Church be changed on capital punishment. [1] (Catechism change and the Letter from the CDF.)

The key changes of the 1992 Catechism footnote an Oct. 11, 2017 address from “Pope” Francis to an audience of cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, catechists, and ambassadors from many countries on the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the catechism. The Catechism now implies that the Catholic Church in the past was ignorant to the dignity of the person after very serious crimes and attacked that dignity out of its ignorance.

In the Oct. address, Francis declared the death penalty is “contrary to the Gospel,” “is an inhuman measure,” “is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person” stressing that “here we are not in the presence of any contradiction with past teaching,” that this, “law of progress” he said, “appertains to the peculiar condition of the truth revealed in its being transmitted by the church, and does not at all signify a change of doctrine. One cannot conserve the doctrine without making it progress, nor can one bind it to a rigid and immutable reading without humiliating the Holy Spirit.” [2]

If only Luther could have lived to see this moment when Rome would say he was right all along. Why Luther would be considered a good Catholic today as even “Pope Saint” John Paul II paid homage to him and the Vatican said he was a “witness to the gospel.” In fact, if Luther lived today, he wouldn’t be so well-known. He’d fit right in with the Novus Ordo establishment.

It really is astounding how Protestant Rome is becoming. One of the doctrines held by the earliest Protestants (Anabaptists) was the unlawfulness of capital punishment. In De Laicis, Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine called this a “chief heretical belief” of the Protestant sects. [3]

Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori taught, “It is lawful to put a man to death by public authority: it is even a duty of princes and of judges to condemn to death criminals who deserve it; and it is the duty of the officers of justice to execute the sentence; God himself wishes malefactors to be punished.” [4]

The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent declared, “Execution Of Criminals: Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment¬ is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.” [5]

If this is not enough, I provide more information on how the Church ordered The Death Penalty for Sodomites.

Even when we see a clear reversal of Church teaching on morality, two well-known radio hosts on Relevant Radio, “Catholic” apologist Patrick Madrid and “Monsignor” Stuart Swetland insist that Francis is only making a pastoral change with no actual change in Church doctrine or is just applying a development of doctrine. You can hear the podcasts by clicking on the links provided at the footnote. [6] I haven’t listened to any other talk shows from Relevant Radio to see how they are dealing with this, but I can figure it’s probably all the same.

On July 3, 1907, Pope St. Pius X condemned as an error of the Modernist in Lamentabili, “53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable; but Christian society, just as human society, is subject to perpetual evolution.” Is this not what “Pope” Francis is advocating with his statements? Is this not what Madrid and Swetland are defending when they say that we have to understand this in “Francis’ way” or imply that doctrines can develop in the reverse?

It all comes down to the fact that all of them are modernists in the truest sense of the word, for they all hold that “Yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s heresy.”

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Death Penalty

“2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.

Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, 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”, [1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
_______________________________________
[1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.”

“CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Letter to the Bishops regarding the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty

1. The Holy Father Pope Francis, in his Discourse on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, by which John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church, asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point that has taken place in recent times.[1] This development centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: “Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.”[2]
2. It is in the same light that one should understand the attitude towards the death penalty that is expressed ever more widely in the teaching of pastors and in the sensibility of the people of God. If, in fact, the political and social situation of the past made the death penalty an acceptable means for the protection of the common good, today the increasing understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes, the deepened understanding of the significance of penal sanctions applied by the State, and the development of more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens have given rise to a new awareness that recognizes the inadmissibility of the death penalty and, therefore, calling for its abolition.
3. In this development, the teaching of the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitæ of John Paul II is of great importance. The Holy Father enumerated among the signs of hope for a new culture of life “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defense’ on the part of society. Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform.”[3] The teaching of Evangelium vitæ was then included in the editio typica of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In it, the death penalty is not presented as a proportionate penalty for the gravity of the crime, but it can be justified if it is “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor,” even if in reality “cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender today are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (n. 2267).
4. John Paul II also intervened on other occasions against the death penalty, appealing both to respect for the dignity of the person as well as to the means that today’s society possesses to defend itself from criminals. Thus, in the Christmas Message of 1998, he wished “the world the consensus concerning the need for urgent and adequate measures … to end the death penalty.”[4] The following month in the United States, he repeated, “A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”[5]
5. The motivation to be committed to the abolition of the death penalty was continued with the subsequent Pontiffs. Benedict XVI recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty.”[6] He later wished a group of the faithful that “your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”[7]
6. In this same prospective, Pope Francis has reaffirmed that “today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned’s crime may have been.”[8] The death penalty, regardless of the means of execution, “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”[9] Furthermore, it is to be rejected “due to the defective selectivity of the criminal justice system and in the face of the possibility of judicial error.”[10] It is in this light that Pope Francis has asked for a revision of the formulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty in a manner that affirms that “no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and the dignity of the person.”[11]
7. The new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by Pope Francis, situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine.[12] The new text, following the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in Evangelium vitæ, affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes. This conclusion is reached taking into account the new understanding of penal sanctions applied by the modern State, which should be oriented above all to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the criminal. Finally, given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems, the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people. Certainly, it remains the duty of public authorities to defend the life of citizens, as has always been taught by the Magisterium and is confirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in numbers 2265 and 2266.
8. All of this shows that the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.
9. The new revision affirms that the understanding of the inadmissibility of the death penalty grew “in the light of the Gospel.”[13] The Gospel, in fact, helps to understand better the order of creation that the Son of God assumed, purified, and brought to fulfillment. It also invites us to the mercy and patience of the Lord that gives to each person the time to convert oneself.
10. The new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.
The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 28 June 2018, has approved the present Letter, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 13 June 2018, and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1 August 2018, Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.
Prefect
X Giacomo Morandi
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri
Secretary

[2] https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/10/11/pope-francis-death-penalty-contrary-gospel

[3] St. Robert Bellarmine, De Laicis, “Among the chief heretical beliefs of the Anabaptists and Antitrinitarians of our time there is one that says that it is not lawful for Christians to hold magistracy and that among Christians there must not be power of capital punishment, etc., in any government, tribunal, or court.” (p. 5)

[4] St. Alphonsus Liguori (Instructions for the People on the Ten Commandments and on the Sacraments) https://archive.org/stream/alphonsusworks15liguuoft#page/n467/mode/1up

[5] http://www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/trent/tcomm05.htm

[6] Listen to Patrick Madrid on the death penalty change here:
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-3-2018-hour-1/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-3-2018-hour-2/
and
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-7-2018-hour-2/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/the-patrick-madrid-show-august-7-2018-hour-3/

and Swetland can be heard here: https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/go-ask-your-father-for-august-7-2018/
https://relevantradio.com/2018/08/go-ask-your-father-for-august-2-2018/

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