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Sympathy For The Devil (Catholic Establishment's PC Anti-DP Crusade Exposed Alert)
Frontpagemag.com ^ | 11/20/2006 | Joseph D'Hippolito

Posted on 11/20/2006 4:25:28 AM PST by goldstategop

If today’s Catholic bishops lived during the Nuremberg trials, they would have condemned the execution of nine of the defendants – including Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Hans Frank. Kaltenbrunner was responsible for mass executions of civilians and prisoners of war as Heinrich Himmler’s chief SS lieutenant; Frank oversaw the Nazis’ numerous atrocities as the governor of occupied Poland.

Such a presumptuous proposition seems plausible given two Vatican officials’ opposition to Saddam Hussein’s death sentence – and the Catholic Church’s moral revisionism concerning capital punishment.

Iraq’s High Tribunal convicted Saddam of committing crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death on Nov. 5. Reaction from the Vatican was swift.

“For me, punishing a crime with another crime – which is what killing for vindication is – would mean that we are still at the point of demanding an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

“God has given us life and only God can take it away,” Martino continued. “Life is a gift that the Lord has given us, and we must protect it from conception until natural death. The death sentence is not a natural death.”

Martino is the same man who expressed public sympathy for Saddam upon his capture and whom veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister called “a cardinal out of control.” Yet Martino is not alone in his sentiments.

“Certainly, the situation in Iraq will not be resolved by this death sentence. Many Catholics, myself included, are against the death penalty as a matter of principle,” Father Michele Simone, deputy director of the Vatican magazine Civilita Cattolica, told Vatican radio.

“Even in a situation like Iraq, where there are hundreds of de facto death sentences every day, adding another death to this toll will not serve anything,” Simone added. “But saving a life – which does not mean accepting everything that Saddam Hussein has done – is always something positive.”

Perhaps Simone and Martino need to be reminded of what the phrase “crimes against humanity” means in Saddam’s case.

From 1977 to 1987, Saddam destroyed between 4,000 and 5,000 Kurdish villages and killed nearly 50,000 Kurds. During the following two years, Saddam murdered almost 100,000 Kurds – many of them through chemical weapons.

Perhaps the single most devastating attack took place in March 1988, when Iraq’s air force bombed the Kurdish town of Halabja for three days with various chemical weapons, including mustard gas and sarin. At least 5,000 of Halabja’s 80,000 residents died within hours. Those who survived the initial attack would die later or would experience, as the United States State Department reported in 2002, “staggering rates of aggressive cancer, genetic mutation, neurological damage and psychiatric disorders.”

Saddam did not confine his brutality to Kurds. After invading Kuwait in 1990, Saddam established at least two dozen torture centers in Kuwait City alone. As the State Department reported, “photographic evidence confirms reports of electric shocks, acid baths, summary execution and the use of electric drills to penetrate a victim’s body.”

Other forms of torture used in Iraq included crucifixion, rape in front of the victim’s spouse and mutilation by gouging out eyes, nailing tongues to wooden boards and amputating penises and female breasts with electric carving knives.

No wonder the United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemned Iraq in 2001 for “widespread, systematic torture and the maintaining of decrees prescribing cruel and inhuman punishment as a penalty for offenses.”

No wonder Jimmy Akin, a popular Catholic apologist and blogger, reacted with disgust to Martino’s and Simone’s views:

“This is the kind of sloppy language on social topics that regularly comes from some European churchmen….If someone is himself a murderer, then killing him would seem to amount not to a crime but to justice – i.e., rendering unto the person according to his merits….If you've got someone dead to rights, like Saddam, who clearly committed crimes against humanity then the act of putting him to death is intrinsically an act of justice…This is something that the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace ought to understand….In any event, these are statements unworthy of responsible churchmen.”

Yet Kevin Miller, professor of theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, begged to differ.

“I see that the Vatican has protested the sentence, and rightly so,” Miller wrote Nov. 8 in commenting on another blog. “Would it be just to hang Saddam for his crimes? Absolutely. But the Church teaches that this criterion, while necessary, isn’t sufficient.”

Such confusion is the logical consequence of Pope John Paul II’s arbitrary attempt to reverse centuries of Catholic teaching about capital punishment.

In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life) – which focused on abortion, birth control and euthanasia – John Paul declared capital punishment to be fundamentally unnecessary: “Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime…In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behavior and be rehabilitated.

“It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment … ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during John Paul’s tenure – and the current Pope Benedict XVI – changed the catechism to reflect the late pope’s view:

"If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”

Though his written opinion allowed for capital punishment in limited circumstances, John Paul used the encyclical as intellectual cover for his personal campaign to abolish the death penalty worldwide.

During his 1999 trip to the United States, the late pope successfully convinced Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan to commute the death sentence issued to Darrell Mease, who was convicted of murdering three people – including a disabled 19-year old.

In 2000, John Paul asked Rome’s city officials to let the Colisseum’s lights shine continuously in memory of those who received death sentences. In 2001, the late pope wrote a personal request to President George W. Bush for clemency for Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

John Paul revealed his true opinion about capital punishment at a large Mass in St. Louis on January 29, 1999, two days after Carnahan commuted Mease’s sentence:

“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. 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.”

Martino, speaking as the Holy See’s permanent observer at the United Nations, admitted that the Catholic Church seeks to abolish capital punishment worldwide in an address that November:

“Abolition of the death penalty … is only one step towards creating a deeper respect for human life. If millions of budding lives are eliminated at their very roots, and if the family of nations can take for granted such crimes without a disturbed conscience, the argument for the abolition of capital punishment will become less credible. Will the international community be prepared to condemn such a culture of death and advocate a culture of life?”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops followed Martino’s lead in March 2005 by announcing its own comprehensive abolitionist campaign, complete with political lobbying, judicial intervention and educational efforts in every parish.

John Paul’s opinion not only reflected the growing consensus among European intellectuals against the death penalty. It also reflected his 40 years of living under Nazi and Communist tyrannies that arbitrarily misused capital punishment. Nevertheless, the late pope’s view directly contradicts centuries of Catholic teaching.

That teaching starts with the Old Testament, which all Christians consider divinely inspired. Genesis 9:5-6 describes God as ordering Noah and his descendents to execute murderers:

“Murder is forbidden….Any person who murders must be killed. Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image (New Living Translation).”

That command, according to Genesis, came after a flood that destroyed a morally chaotic world – and is repeated in the every book of the Torah, the first five books that form the Bible’s foundation.

The command implies three theological principles. First, if God is the author of life, then God retains the prerogative to define the circumstances under which life can be taken. Second, God demands that humanity create just societies to protect the innocent. Third, murder is such a heinous violation of the divine image in humanity that execution is the only appropriate punishment.

Exodus 20-23 elaborates on these principles in what scholars call the lex talonis, which advocates punishment proportional to the offense – the original meaning of “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” Instead of encouraging vengeance, as Martino maintains, the lex talonis discourages ad hoc vigilantism – the ultimate form of vindictiveness – in favor of due process.

In the New Testament, St. Paul reinforces the idea in his letter to the Romans. In Chapter 12, he discourages his readers from avenging themselves by quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 (“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay!”). In the next chapter, St. Paul encourages them to rely on due process through legitimate authorities “because they do not bear the sword in vain (verse 4).” Centuries of Catholic thought further reinforces those principles. In The City of God, St. Augustine states:

"The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions. Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ for the representative of the State’s authority to put criminals to death, according to the Law or the rule of rational justice.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his masterpiece Summa Theologica, argues against the idea that incarceration alone is enough to protect the community:

“If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended. Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgment. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted.”

In Summa Contra Gentiles, Aquinas even argues that impending execution can stimulate repentance:

“The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.”

The papacy mirrored this philosophy as recently as 1952, when Pope Pius XII said:

“When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live.”

Not even Sister Helen Prejean, one of the most popular opponents of capital punishment, contends that the abolitionist position has biblical roots, as she admitted in her book, Dead Man Walking: “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context.

This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment.”

So how does Prejean justify her abolitionist stance? As she told Progressive magazine in 1996, “I couldn’t worship a god who is less compassionate than I am.”

That sentiment pervades America’s Catholic bishops, along with a willful ignorance of previous teaching and an intellectually fashionable sense of moral equivalence. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, N.D. demonstrated all three when he publicly opposed the execution of Alfonso Rodriguez, who was convicted of murdering Dru Sjodin, a 22-year-old university student.

“Responding to this senseless act of violence with another act of violence through imposition of the death penalty … reinforces the false perspective of vengeance as justice,” Aquila told Catholic News Agency on Sept. 25. “In doing so, it diminishes respect for all human life, both the lives of the guilty and the innocent.”

In 2001, Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore issued a joint statement in which they said that McVeigh’s execution “will not bring back to life those who died.” Their facile pomposity is self-evident.

But the most idiotic opinion came from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, a favorite of conservative Catholics. In response to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s thoughtful disagreement with the church’s revisionist stance, published in First Things in 2002, Chaput stated:

“When Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes church teaching on the death penalty, the message he sends is not all that different from Frances Kissling disputing what the church teaches about abortion,... the impulse to pick and choose what we're going to accept is exactly the same kind of 'cafeteria Catholicism' in both cases.”

Frances Kissling is a former nun who leads Catholics for a Free Choice, which advocates legalized abortion.

Ratzinger exposed Chaput’s irresponsible ignorance less than two years before becoming pope. In July 2004, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the following as part of a letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. concerning the American bishops’ stance toward Catholic political candidates:

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion….There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about … applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

A far worse consequence of the Catholic Establishment’s revisionism, however, is its growing indifference – if not outright contempt – toward those who must cope with the murder of their loved ones. When she heard the news about John Paul’s intervention on McVeigh’s behalf, Kathleen Treanor – who lost her daughter and two in-laws in the bombing – told Associated Press: “Let me ask the pope, ‘Where’s my clemency? When do I get any clemency? When does my family get some clemency?’ When the pope can answer that, we can talk.”

In 1997, John Paul and Mother Teresa were among those advocating clemency for Joseph O’Dell, a Virginia man convicted of raping and murdering Helen Schartner in 1985. O’Dell’s fiancée manipulated public opinion in Italy to such a point that Gail Lee, Schartner’s sister, told Associated Press:

“We’re all very fragile at this point. It’s just like the Italians hate us. They in essence have said to my family, ‘You are worthless. Helen’s life doesn’t matter.’ ”

McCarrick displayed his own self-righteous indifference when he talked to the Washington Post about McVeigh’s execution, which only victims’ relatives could see via closed-circuit television: “It is like going back to the Roman Colosseum. I think that we're watching, in my mind, an act of vengeance, and vengeance is never justified.”

The good cardinal thus equated the grieving, vulnerable relatives of murder victims with the hardened, barbaric masses of ancient Rome who found the bloody agony of gladiators and religious martyrs entertaining.

When considering sympathy for Saddam Hussein and other murderers, the Catholic Establishment would do well to heed this prophetic advice from the Hebrew Talmud:

Those who would be merciful when they should be cruel will be cruel when they should be merciful.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: capitalpunishment; catholic; cruelty; cultureoflife; deathpenalty; evil; firstthings; frontpagemag; god; good; josephdhippolito; justice; justpunishment; mercy; moralrevisionism; murder; politicalcorrectness; saddamhussein; staugustine; stthomasaquinas; summacontragentiles; summatheologica; talmud; thecityofgod; torah; vatican
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The Catholic Establishment's PC anti-Death Penalty Crusade runs counter to biblical teachings, centuries of Church doctrine, common sense and above all, the cardinal principle of justice. A murderer shouldn't be allowed to live precisely because the murdered person has been already deprived of the one gift the Church claims to cherish: life. Why should the murderer's life be more equal than the victim's? To that the Catholic Establishment can offer no answer. Taking an innocent life is a wicked deed. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of Saddam Hussein's victims and because of that, his execution would not serve to bring about the fullest measure of human justice possible in an earthly existence. But it would bring a measure of closure to those suffering the loss of their loved ones and it would serve as a deterrent to others contemplating committing similiar deeds. And then there is the fact the murderer once executed, can never murder again. On all these grounds, the death penalty then, is both the imposition of human justice and well as an act of mercy for the community. The Catholic Establishment might want to remember its opposition to the death penalty amounts to showing mercy to the cruel when its necessary to be showing mercy to the merciful by upholding the severest punishment sanctioned by God towards those who are unremittingly evil by nature.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

1 posted on 11/20/2006 4:25:32 AM PST by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop
“I couldn’t worship a god who is less compassionate than I am.”

How very convenient. Judging God based on your own "moral" precepts. I would suspect that the woman that spoke this also supports abortion at any phase. How would she reconcile that with God's view of the matter? By saying that it's a personal choice that God should stay out of, since he's a middle aged white male?

2 posted on 11/20/2006 4:36:09 AM PST by Hardastarboard (Why isn't there an "NRA" for the rest of my rights?)
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To: Hardastarboard
The Church has been corrupted by the moral relativism so fashionable among the "enlightened" in our post-modern societies. And its leaders wonder why the pews are empty of the devout? Methinks they ought to go look in the mirror.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

3 posted on 11/20/2006 4:38:58 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
Revisionism runs rampant, especially in the post-modern church, protestant as well as Catholic.

Everyone in the western world, even non-Christians, has heard the Biblical phrase "God is love". And while that is a true statement, its only half of the story. God is also justice.

A true - and more complete statement - is that God is love constrained by justice, and justice tempered by love. The bottom line is that God is love and justice in equal measure.

That said, I have a serious problem with the death sentence - not because it's unjust or unloving - but because it is so unevenly meted out. Far more people who justly deserve the death penalty avoid it because they can afford the legal representation to skate around it than there are people who are executed. Justice unevenly or unfairly applied is not justice.

Even with that quibble, however, only a morally confused person could argue that Saddam does not deserve to be executed for his many crimes against man and humanity.

4 posted on 11/20/2006 4:50:24 AM PST by logos (There's a lot of stupidity out there...)
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To: logos
Good point. God is a God of mercy but He is also a God of justice. They are both sides of the same coin. You cannot have a truly righteous society if it doesn't protect the innocent by severely punishing evildoers. Your observation about the death penalty needs to be tempered with the qualification that it needs to be applied EVENLY. Only the most morally obtuse person could argue Saddam, or any other murderer for that matter, doesn't deserve to be held accountable for his transgression against God. I am of the view that if someone takes an innocent life without justification, like self-defense, that person's own life should be forfeit as a matter of course. A just society is the only one that is truly a merciful society.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

5 posted on 11/20/2006 4:56:27 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

This, unfortunately, is something that has to be understood from the point of view of internal Church politics. Most Catholics would agree that the DP is not a good thing in itself, but that it is necessary either to protect society from a particular criminal or to maintain social order in general in societies made up of fallen mankind, as are all human societies.

The radical anti-DP position is a leftist position that was thrown into the mix primarily to cloud the Church's opposition to abortion. Most of the poast-Vatican II left-wing clergy (including some bishops) were just fine with abortion and really resented being forced to preach or teach against it. I remember how the lefties used to refuse to read Cardinal O'Connor's annual pro-life letter.

Insisting that opposition to the death penalty be included in all of the bishops' statements on pro-life matters was a way of getting back at what they perceived as the dread "conservatives," who were generally anti-abortion but had no objection to the death penalty, and thereby trying to reduce support for anti-abortion statements (since "conservatives" would then find themselves having to support something they did not agree with). It was also an attempt to curry favor with secular leftists, who are pro-abortion but anti-death penalty.

A lot of docile but not truly leftist bishops simply went along with whatever the dominant lefties in the USCCB wanted; and a few who were not liberal, such as Chaput, seem to have some obsessive personal objection to the DP. But their lumping together of the DP and opposition to abortion is not accurate from the point of view of Church teaching, although this has also been clouded by the fact that the Church is in Europe and Europeans are opposed to the death penalty because they see it as something American and they hate Americans.

So it's a complicated situation. I think the current pope is trying to sort it out, because throwing the death penalty in with abortion definitely clouds the issue and he is aware of this.


6 posted on 11/20/2006 4:57:21 AM PST by livius
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To: livius
The Church has always held abortion is wrong. It has never, until recent times, taken that view with regards to the death penalty.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

7 posted on 11/20/2006 5:02:15 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

So now the Holy Father is "the Catholic Establishment"??? John Paul is a saint. It is sad that so many Catholics today - many of them self-described as orthodox - are hellbent on attacking the reverence for human life that he taught us.


8 posted on 11/20/2006 5:25:47 AM PST by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: madprof98
I don't believe reverence for life ought to be extended to murderers. So yes, the Church isn't beyond criticism for ignoring the age-old principle of JUSTICE.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

9 posted on 11/20/2006 5:30:56 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

bump


10 posted on 11/20/2006 5:35:05 AM PST by jonno (...it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming...)
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To: goldstategop
only God can take it away,” Martino continued.

So how did Saddam manage to murder all those people then?

11 posted on 11/20/2006 5:37:04 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: goldstategop

Exactly. The death penalty has been considered legitimate, although certainly not something to crow over, but something necessary to protect society. It was the emergence of the left, which became powerful in the Church after Vatican II, that confused the issue.


12 posted on 11/20/2006 5:42:10 AM PST by livius
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To: madprof98

It is sad that so many Catholics today - many of them self-described as orthodox - are hellbent on attacking the reverence for human life that he taught us.



Christ had absolutely no problem with criminals being crucified, for the same reasons cited here ... man must meter out justice; and death for a murderer maintains social order and shows reverence for the life taken by the murderer. You've all seen the bumper sticker , "If you want Peace work for justice" ,, guess what ,, that ones true...trouble with that one is the large number of people with warped sensibilities that don't see true justice for what it is , they are always working for the "rights" of the bad guy.. and against the society they should be working at protecting.


13 posted on 11/20/2006 5:53:58 AM PST by Neidermeyer
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To: livius

The Left has subverted many Christian churches, not just the Catholic Church, since WWII.

Even today the Left seeks to twist the voting power of those who still believe. We are told that we must empower the socialist agenda of health care, cars, internet, etc. for the poor because we need to be compassionate with the poor. EXCEPT there is no charity in paying Caesar his taxes.


14 posted on 11/20/2006 6:15:17 AM PST by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: goldstategop
The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty and abortion. There is a congruence in their philosophical views on these issues and I don't see the problem with that, they are a religious institution and support the concept of life being sacrosanct. The Old Testament was "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", but Christ was/is the New Covenant.

That being said, the Church does not outlaw capital punishment per se, but you have to understand that the Church looks at everything through the prism of their being a religious institution, not a governmental body.

The title of the article is revolting, btw, just another example of Catholic bashing and ignorance.
15 posted on 11/20/2006 6:28:41 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: Salvation; NYer

Ping.


16 posted on 11/20/2006 6:31:01 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: khnyny
There is NO congruence. The unborn are innocent who do not deserve to be deprived of life. On the other hand, murderers are evildoers, who by virtue of already having taken an innocent human life, deserve to have their own forfeit. There is both a moral and legal distinction. One the Church has always acknowledged but which for reasons which only it knows, the present day Establishment has chosen to overlook.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

17 posted on 11/20/2006 6:35:44 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: livius

This is an extension of the Bernardin "seamless garment" argument.


18 posted on 11/20/2006 6:37:14 AM PST by steve8714 (Study hard, if you do you'll do well..if not, you'll be stuck in the Senate.)
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To: khnyny
but you have to understand that the Church looks at everything through the prism of their being a religious institution, not a governmental body.

Just another way of saying the Catholic church is blind. The church has different responsibilities than governments. The church shouldn't be circumventing the government in fullfilling it's responsibility to "execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13:4).

19 posted on 11/20/2006 6:54:45 AM PST by aimhigh
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To: aimhigh

One of the tenets of Christianity is repentance and salvation through Christ by sinners.

The Church doesn't "circumvent" governments. That sounds like the argument that the Communists used to use, lol. Too funny.


20 posted on 11/20/2006 6:59:32 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: khnyny
The Church doesn't "circumvent" governments.

When the church fights against capital punishment for convicted murderers, it circumvents goverment.

21 posted on 11/20/2006 7:04:29 AM PST by aimhigh
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To: aimhigh

Well, the Church, to use your word "fights" against abortion too, and that's legal....

I guess you're saying that abortion is ok, then, since it is "legal"?


22 posted on 11/20/2006 7:09:02 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: khnyny
Agreed. Here is the Church's position on this from the Catechism:

Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

2266 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. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

2267 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.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

23 posted on 11/20/2006 7:32:03 AM PST by LisaFab
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To: steve8714

It's a good argument. The timing of Bernardin's speech was interesting too.:)


24 posted on 11/20/2006 7:33:16 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


25 posted on 11/20/2006 7:36:11 AM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: LisaFab

Thank you for posting! The Catechism is a great resource.

Chapter Two: "You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself"
Article Five: The Fifth Commandment
I. Respect for Human Life
II. Respect for The Dignity of Persons
III. Safeguarding Peace


26 posted on 11/20/2006 7:42:59 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: NYer

If they want to enforce the Nuremberg Code, they could start with Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Michael J. Fox...


27 posted on 11/20/2006 7:53:21 AM PST by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: goldstategop
The Church has Church men have been corrupted by the moral relativism so fashionable among the "enlightened" in our post-modern societies.
28 posted on 11/20/2006 8:18:45 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: khnyny
The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty and abortion.

This statement could be misleading. The Church still recognizes the right of the State to inflict the death penalty, in principle, in order to protect the public. But when it is possible for the State to imprison murderers for life without them representing a threat to society (such as in "supermax" prisons), the Church opposes the use of the death penalty. The Church has modified its position with regard to the death penalty in consideration of changing circumstances, but the Church has not changed its position in principle.

29 posted on 11/20/2006 8:20:39 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: LisaFab

Well done, LisaFab.


30 posted on 11/20/2006 8:29:15 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Aquinasfan

If you read my posts, then you'd understand that I know the distinctions and that it was my intent to explain that nuanced position.


31 posted on 11/20/2006 8:52:47 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: Aquinasfan
But when it is possible for the State to imprison murderers for life without them representing a threat to society (such as in "supermax" prisons), the Church Pope John Paul II opposed the use of the death penalty. The Church Other Church men has modified have supported its John Paul II's position with regard to the death penalty in consideration of changing circumstances, but the Church has not changed Its position. in principle.
32 posted on 11/20/2006 8:53:25 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

If you can form a cogent argument, go right ahead, but your current "opinions" don't cut it.


33 posted on 11/20/2006 9:00:05 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: LisaFab
2267... the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty,...

The novel addendum:...if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

Compare this to the Catechism of Trent:

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.


34 posted on 11/20/2006 9:03:08 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: khnyny

It is not my opinion. The Church is the Spotless Bride of Christ, which He Himself preserves without stain. Church men were given no such promise.


35 posted on 11/20/2006 9:06:00 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

[It is not my opinion. The Church is the Spotless Bride of Christ, which He Himself preserves without stain. Church men were given no such promise.]

Oh well, alrighty then, lmao.


36 posted on 11/20/2006 9:16:13 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: goldstategop

To deny the death penalty is to insist on life for evil. If the most hardened criminal goes unpunished, we adhere to a system that denies life to those whose persons were violated. This grants life to those who commit evil acts.


37 posted on 11/20/2006 9:37:05 AM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: Gerish; murphE

http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20031210yarris1210p1.asp

DNA exonerates death row inmate
State won't retry Nicholas Yarris for 1981 Delaware County murder; he's first in state to use genetic test to escape death penalty

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

By Cindi Lash, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Pennsylvania death row inmate became the first in the state to be exonerated by DNA evidence after prosecutors announced yesterday they would not retry him for the 1981 rape and murder of a suburban Philadelphia woman.


38 posted on 11/20/2006 9:39:19 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: khnyny

So what's your point?


39 posted on 11/20/2006 9:51:09 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE

[So what's your point?]

So what's my point? Um, I think you just proved my point.

Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or feel alarmed. Most of the time, it's a combo.


40 posted on 11/20/2006 10:04:52 AM PST by khnyny (God Bless the Republic for which it stands)
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To: khnyny
Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or feel alarmed. Most of the time, it's a combo.

*I think there is medication for that. (a joke)

Seriously, if you want a reasoned discussion, why don't you just try to speak plainly. What am I suppose to infer from that story you posted?

41 posted on 11/20/2006 10:10:48 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: Aquinasfan

Life in solitary is unconstitutional.
How then do we protect other inmates?


42 posted on 11/20/2006 10:20:51 AM PST by steve8714 (Study hard, if you do you'll do well..if not, you'll be stuck in the Senate.)
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To: murphE
Capital Punishment

2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.[67]

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' [68]

Catechism of the Catholic Church


43 posted on 11/20/2006 10:23:21 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: steve8714
How then do we protect other inmates?

Supermax prisons seem to prove that it can be done. But not all prisoners are in supermax prisons, and no system is foolproof. It seems to me that a more likely problem is that a future government will release murderers.

Regardless, the Church acknowledges the right of the State in principle to exact the death penalty. It is up to those in authority to make the determination of whether the death penalty should be applied in a particular case according to the principles described by the Church.

44 posted on 11/20/2006 10:28:47 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Aquinasfan
Someone already posted the CCC. I posted the Catechism of Trent above in response.

I'd like to see any traditional teaching of the Church that supports the second half of this statement from the CCC:

"...when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor."

I haven't been able to find any. Does the CCC reference any Church fathers, Scripture, Councils in support of that part of the statement?

45 posted on 11/20/2006 10:31:04 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: khnyny

“Oh well, alrighty then, lmao.”

Before you unhinge your jaw laughing at others, you should rid your own position of the false moral equivalence.

When aimhigh said that “The church shouldn't be circumventing the government in fulfilling its responsibility to ‘execute wrath on him who practices evil.’ (Romans 13:4),” you restated his position by implication, saying, “The Church doesn't ‘circumvent’ governments.” Well, he didn’t say the Church should never oppose governments; he said the Church shouldn’t circumvent government when they are acting in accordance with the Word of God in this particular matter.

Putting words in a person’s mouth by restating his position to be something other than what he actually said is not honest.

When aimhigh responded, correctly, that the Church circumvents government when it fights against capital punishment for convicted murderers, you came back with a classic false moral equivalence; to wit, “Well, the Church, to use your word ‘fights’ against abortion too, and that's legal.... I guess you're saying that abortion is ok, then, since it is ‘legal?’ ”

Just as there is a difference between pushing a little old lady into the path of a speeding bus and pushing a little old lady out of the path of a speeding bus, there is a moral difference between fighting against the death penalty and fighting against abortion. The first is reprehensible; the second is our duty to God.

LisaFab then cited the CCC, which should pretty much have ended the argument with the conclusion that John Paul II and those who agree with him are just simply wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Mistaken as to fact, and the application of reason to such facts as do exist. Demonstrably, egregiously in error.

I’m not really surprised by this. After all, as a young priest, John Paul II managed not only to survive, but to thrive under the Communists. I think it highly unlikely that his thinking was not to some extent, however slight, affected either by Communism or his (presumed) struggle against it.

The doughty Aquinasfan then advanced the argument that it is possible for the State to imprison murderers for life without them representing a threat to society. I disagree with this position. We do not take the extreme measures that would protect not only society, but his guards and fellow prisoners, from the hardened murderer. Not only do leftist judges let them out to kill again, they escape and kill, and they kill guards and fellow prisoners. Even, therefore, if this argument were valid (which it patently is not), the facts show us that it is not applicable.

Next, murphE did us all a service by noting that it is the men currently in positions of power in the Church who have advanced these “changes,” and not anything in the nature of the Church or its understanding of Scripture.

Your reply, “If you can form a cogent argument, go right ahead, but your current ‘opinions’ don't cut it,” would seem to indicate that you failed to understand murphE’s extremely trenchant point. It appears that you skipped over the excerpt from the Catechism of Trent entirely, which is a shame. Church history did not begin with Vat II.

Having already descended to referring to murphE’s restatement of the Church’s position as his ‘opinion,’ a debate ploy more at home at Daily Kos or DU than here, you resort to the despicable, loathsome, and puerile “lmao” as a substitute for an argument you weren’t up to making.

Goldstategop is correct: “To deny the death penalty is to insist on life for evil. If the most hardened criminal goes unpunished, we adhere to a system that denies life to those whose persons were violated. This grants life to those who commit evil acts.”

The only way to show that we regard the proscription against murder with adequate gravity is to levy the ultimate punishment. Otherwise, the evil know that we’re just not serious about it.


46 posted on 11/20/2006 10:35:00 AM PST by dsc
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To: Aquinasfan
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'

That statement of course is just pure editorial, certainly not binding Church teaching.

By the way, Catholics throughout history have been of the opinion that knowing the date of your death is a grace. When forced to contemplate the 4 last things many criminals receive the grace to repent/convert, receive absolution. Then they are able to accept and offer the pain of their just punishment as penance for their sins. This is something the victims of murder are most often denied.

47 posted on 11/20/2006 10:44:15 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: murphE
"...when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor."

The technology that makes it possible in some societies to imprison murderers for life, without risk to society, was not available or even imaginable at the time of the Council of Trent, so it's hard to imagine the bishops saying, "but if it becomes technically possible someday to imprison murderers for life... etc."

This is a refinement of doctrine, not a change in doctrine. The Church is not repudiating the right of the State to execute murderers.

48 posted on 11/20/2006 10:46:48 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Aquinasfan
This is a refinement of doctrine.

It's not doctrine at all. It's editorial opinion that many well meaning, pious Catholics have been misled into believing is doctrine.

49 posted on 11/20/2006 10:54:50 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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