It is the consistent teaching of the Holy Catholic Church that, in principle, the state may execute offenders under certain circumstances. Even the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document which takes the most extreme position on the death penalty permitted by the consistent teaching of the Church, allows that the death penalty can sometimes be the moral choice.
As to enlarging the welfare state, authoritative Church teaching does not require acceptance of specific political programs or policies. Read the actual teachings of the Catholic Church, and you'll find that the Church sticks to general principles about how the economic ordering of a society ought to occur, without ever endorsing specific systems of ordering, or policies and programs related thereto. In fact, you will find, in reading the actual teachings of the Catholic Church, that the only sorts of systems that are totally condemned are collectivist in nature. The Church has authoritatively taught that socialism, communism, and other thoroughgoing, systematic collectivist systems are inherently evil, and are not legitimate for the ordering of society.
As for war, again, the Church limits herself to explication of principles. Regarding the current efforts in Iraq, Catholics have applied these principles and come up with differing conclusions. So, some Catholics think the war is unjust, according to Catholic principles. Others think that it is just according to the same principles.
But the Church teaches that it is those who hold legitimate authority in civil societies who must make the final judgement as to whether a war is just or unjust. It is a "prudential" decision, and prudential decisions lie with the individuals most competent to make them. On matters of faith and morals, and Church discipline, the individuals to whom these decisions are left are our sacred pastors, our priests, bishops, and most especially, our Holy Father. On matters of war and peace, civil order, economics, etc., the legitimate competent authorities are our political leaders. In a representative democracy, like the United States, the individuals who may legitimately make these prudential decisions are our elected leaders, in conformance with our own constitutional system of government.
Thus, a particular cleric may have an opinion of the justness of the current war, and he may express it. But his opinion isn't dispositive, and the decision for war is not his to make.
On the question of abortion, on the other hand, it is the consistent teaching of the Church that procured abortion is intrinsically evil, and can never be justified. It is the consistent teaching of the Church that it is a grave crime, and that it violates that right of the unborn human being to live. It is the consistent teaching of the Church that a just social order must not permit abortion in law, and that Catholics are always and everywhere obligated to enact just laws which protect the lives of unborn human beings.
For Catholics, the questions which you have tried to blur do, indeed, differ. Considerably.
posted on 01/10/2004 7:30:39 AM PST
(If you're not offending SOMEONE, you're probably not telling the whole truth, anyway.)
To: sitetest; I still care; Dan from Michigan; Salvation; Miggsathon; nickcarraway
To everyone on these subject:
I would argue that God is in favor of the death penalty. He allowed his only son to be executed by men. He also destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah using the death penalty. There are so many scriptures where death is used for punishment. Even when Moses lost his temper he was not allowed into the promised land and died before crossing the Jordan. What has changed in modern times from the past that makes the death penalty not necessary? On welfare. The Biblical philosophy has and always will be "give with thine own heart." This does not mean take. The Bible is very clear that the welfare of the people is the responsibility of the church or "faith-based." The Bible clearly defines life as starting in the womb. "I knew ye in thine mother's womb" Jeremiah 1:5. What is more innocent than a child in the womb? A convicted murderer? A rapist? The Catholic Church itself needs to deal with these subjects in their respective churches, but do not turn into an Episcopalian debating society. And one more side note, the Bible is very clear about its stance on homosexuality. What it shows here in the Canadian governor of Michigan's case is that she lacks conviction on the abortion subject. In other words, elect someone that is actually from Michigan.
posted on 01/10/2004 8:33:27 AM PST
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