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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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