In remarks he made to a catechetical conference in 2002 Archbishop Chaput addressed it very well:
Second, if we say we're Catholic, we need to act like it. When Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes Church teaching on the death penalty, the message he sends is not so very different from Frances Kissling (of "Catholics for a Free Choice" fame) disputing what the Church teaches about abortion. I don't mean that abortion and the death penalty are equivalent issues. They're not. They clearly do not have equal moral gravity. But the impulse to pick and choose what we accept in Church teaching is exactly the same kind of "cafeteria Catholicism" in both cases.
Of course, this would never satisfy someone who treats Church teaching on the death penalty as a matter of "personal opinion" but regards homosexuality as one of the four great pillars of the Culture of Death. That's not Catholicism; it's a made-up right-wing religion.
That's not Catholicism; it's a made-up right-wing religion.
BS. You obviously do not grasp basic principles of moral theology. Church teaching on the death penalty is STILL 1) it is the right of the State to impose it, and 2) in modern societies it should be rare.
You are guilty of exactly that which the author is illustrating here. Therefore, its not surprising that you would try to spin this in the manner you are here.
posted on 12/18/2003 11:41:01 AM PST
Archbishop Chaput addressed it very well
Chaput was unequivocally wrong to make this moral equivalence. He did NOT address it well.
Otherwise he is an excellent archbishop.
posted on 12/18/2003 11:43:22 AM PST
The Church's teaching on the death penalty is muddy right now, made even muddier with the Pope and bishops standing against ANY imposition of the death penalty, when the Catholic Catechism says otherwise.
Catholics, therefore, can take either side, morally.
posted on 12/18/2003 11:49:34 AM PST
(Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
To: madprof98; sinkspur
Please read this VERY carefully: http://www.ncregister.com/Register_News/031902rut.htm
Death Penalty Symposium
Scalia's Right: Catechism's Problematic
Fr. George Rutler
National Catholic Register
March 24-31, 2002
Many Americans dismissed Alexander Solzhenitsyn when he criticized the decadence of Western Culture. Others more recently ignored his plea for a restoration of the death penalty: "There are times when the state needs capital punishment in order to save society." This is Christian doctrine. Since popes are preserved from essential error by "grace of state," none has wrongly claimed authority to call capital punishment morally evil.
"Development of doctrine" does not apply here.
As the Church's teaching on contraception cannot "develop" in a way that would declare its intrinsic evil to be good, so the right of a state to execute criminals cannot "develop" so that its intrinsic good becomes evil. For Cardinal John Henry Newman, development of doctrine involves "preservation of type." Changes in the way a doctrine is expressed and applied cannot alter its essence.
Some Catholics, who once pointed out the flaws in the "seamless garment" argument, now rush to put on that garment as though there has been a sudden development. By definition, the development of doctrine cannot happen overnight. The new edition of the Catechism revises the section on capital punishment. This was not a development of doctrine. It was, however, problematic for placing a prudential judgment in a catechetical text, more problematically so than in an encyclical like Evangelium Vitae. Paragraph 2266 of the Catechism names the primary consideration of retribution, but No. 2267 ignores it.
That the vast majority of opinion has turned against capital punishment is irrelevant to the case and is not universally so. Nor is it universally so that penal systems have improved in a way that renders capital punishment unnecessary. There are many very different systems.
There has been a development, not in essential doctrine, but in moral criticism. Here, I am edified by the fine scholastic logic of Justice Scalia, as when he identifies the mistaken modern equation of private morality and governmental morality.
Catholics have distinguished between peace and pacifism. They disserve systematic theology when they fail to make a parallel distinction between the dignity of life and a total ban on capital punishment. The cogency of Catholic apologetics crumbles when reason is abandoned for sentimentality in consequence of philosophical idealism and subjectivism. We also may be witnessing here some tension between personalist phenomenology and Thomist realism.
Absolute rejection of capital punishment weakens the cogency of pro-life apologetics. Some churchmen cite skewered statistics on the execution of innocent victims.
Since 1973 the present U.S. system has overturned about 33% of all convictions, although only .6% of those criminals were found to be factually innocent. DNA testing makes justice ever more secure, and capital offenders receive due process far more deliberately than other offenders. In numerous instances, e.g. the defeat of Senator John Ashcroft, strongly anti-abortion politicians have lost elections to pro-abortion candidates who were against capital punishment. This gets worse when criminals, freed in response to ecclesiastical appeals for mercy, kill again.
The pastoral commentary of the Church guides moral method, but the prudential calculus, in punishment as in the declaration of war, rests in the civil government whose authority pertains to natural law and is not granted by the Church. To propose otherwise under the guise of doctrinal development would be a species of clerical triumphalism that post-Enlightenment humanists claimed to abhor. Few see this as clearly as a distinguished Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Father Rutler is pastor of the Church of our Saviour in New York.
posted on 12/18/2003 12:01:20 PM PST
Archbishop Chaput addressed it very well:
When Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes Church teaching on the death penalty, the message he sends is not so very different from Frances Kissling (of "Catholics for a Free Choice" fame) disputing what the Church teaches about abortion.
Chaput is slandering Justice Scalia. Scalia was NOT disputing Church teaching on the death penalty. He was defending the Church teaching on the validity of the death penalty which has been part of Christian tradition for many hundreds of years. It is Pope John Paul II who is disputing Church teaching when he tries to pretend that opposition to the death penalty is required for Catholics. It is not. The quote from St. Thomas Aquinas in the above article was not just his own opinion -- it represents perennial Catholic doctrine which was applicable 800 years ago and is still applicable today. Nothing said by JPII or Chaput can change that.
It seems to that if anything not clear it is the teaching of the Church on the death penalty.
posted on 12/18/2003 10:07:21 PM PST
Chaput's take on Scalia's remarks is erroneous.
As later discussed (First Things, et al) Scalia's analysis was correct: JPII's teaching is migrating the discussion toward applying the "just war" theory to death-penalty situations.
This migration is a novelty, and Scalia was correct to analyze it as such.
BTW, I, too, was quite surprised at Scalia's outburst and rather unhappy with him, too--until I saw the whole story.
posted on 12/19/2003 8:47:34 AM PST
(So many cats, so few recipes)
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson