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Bishops, Lies and the Death Penalty

 

 

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas Death Penalty

 

 

Hattip to Pewsitter.  Dudley Sharp, who has commented at TAC, has written a response to the editorial boards of Our Sunday Visitor, National Catholic Register, the Jesuit rag America and National Catholic Fishwrap Reporter:

TO: the Editorial Boards of America magazine, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor

One of the major problems with the Church’s newest teachings on the death penalty is that neither the Bishops, nor any other Catholics, opposed to the death penalty, appears to fact check anything the anti death penalty movement produces,  resulting in error after error presented to the flock, undermining the truth. You must fact check and consider opposing facts (1) to find the truth. As a rule, on this topic, the Church will not do that.

The Bishops have accepted anti death penalty claims, as gospel (small “g”), even when they conflict with Church teachings, as described.

“NCR” is for quotes from the referenced op/ed, with my reply as “Sharp reply”.

NCR: “Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will hear arguments in Glossip v. Gross, a case out of Oklahoma that challenges the most widely used lethal injection protocol as being cruel and unusual punishment.”

Sharp reply: That is untrue. as found within Glossip, Oklahoma has adopted many new additional protocols, which are unique to Ok – not the most “widely used” and are those which will be the areas of contention at SCOTUS.

NCR: “Our hope is that (the Glossip v. Gross case) will hasten the end of the death penalty in the United States.

Sharp reply: SCOTUS will only look at the specific new protocols, within Glossip. All different protocols, of other jurisdiction will survive, be that alternate lethal injection methods, gas, hanging and firing squad, which exist in other states, the federal government and the military.

Based upon the facts, detailed within the 10th Circuit ruling (1/12/15), against the plaintiffs, it appears most likely that SCOTUS will reject their appeals, as well, and accept Ok new protocol.

In addition, it appears possible, if not likely, that Ok will adopt a nitrogen gas (NG) protocol, prior to the SCOTUS decision. NG has already been approved in an Ok  legislative committee. NG has none of the downsides of any other method, NG is a completely painless execution method, as well as providing an endless supply, which cannot be withheld (1) and which may be adopted by all states, which wish to minimize delay, legal challenge and costs.

NCR: Archbishop Thomas Wenski, of Miami stated, “… the use of the death penalty devalues human life and diminishes respect for human dignity. We bishops continue to say, we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing.”

Sharp reply: For about 2000 years the Church has taught that the death penalty is based upon the value of innocent life and an abiding respect for the dignity of man (2).

What the Archbishop is, now saying, is that for 2000 years the Church supported that which devalued human life and that which diminished respect for human dignity, a claim which no knowledgeable Catholic can or should accept.

The Archbishop is just repeating standard anti death penalty nonsense which has no respect for Catholic teachings and tradition.

One wonders – why he raises false anti death penalty teachings above Catholic teachings, a common problem for many of the bishops.

The Archbishop states: “We bishops continue to say, ‘we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing’. ”

Sadly, they do.

The Bishops are just repeating, again, common anti death penalty nonsense.

We all know that murder is wrong, even if there is no sanction.

The Bishops are unaware that sanction doesn’t teach that murder is wrong – Church morality and tradition, as well as clear biblical texts teach that murder is wrong.

Sanction is the outcome of that moral teaching. Those are the rational and traditional teachings, which, somehow, the bishops have discarded and replaced with this anti death penalty nonsense. How and why?

Execution of murderers has never been declared immoral by the Church and never will be (2). The foundation for the death penalty is justice, just as with all sanctions for all crimes.

These inexplicable gaffs may cause good Catholics to wonder when reason and tradition vanished.

NCR: Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley stated: “Society can protect itself in ways other than the use of the death penalty,”

Sharp reply: Cardinal, the proper standard is what sanction is most just for the crime committed, what the Church has called the primary consideration (CCC 1995, 2003) and what sanction provides greater protection for innocents.

The death penalty provides greater protection for innocents, in three ways, than does a life sentence (3).

One example:

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since the 1930s (3).

Just since 1973, from 14,000 – 28,000 innocents have been murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again – recidivist murderers ( two recidivism studies covering two different  periods) (3)

My guess is that none of the Bishops are aware, because they haven’t looked, as with EV and CCC.

NCR: “the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church . . . include a de facto prohibition against capital punishment.”

Sharp reply: First, the de facto prohibition is based upon several errors (4).

Secondly, as the most recent death penalty teachings have been confirmed, by the Church, as being a prudential judgment, any Catholic may reject the Church’s latest teaching on the death penalty (4), honor the Church’s teachings of the previous 2000 years, and seek more executions, based within justice and the fact that executions offer greater protections for innocent lives (4).

Endnotes:

1) Intro. Basic pro death penalty review:

The Death Penalty: Justice and Saving More Innocents

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-death-penalty-justice-saving-more.html

 

2) For more than 2000 years, there has been Catholic  support for the death penalty, from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians that, in breadth and depth, overwhelms any teachings to the contrary, particularly those wrongly dependent upon secular concerns such as defense of society and the poor standards of criminal justice systems in protecting the innocent.

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html

See Catholic references within:

New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html

 

3) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html

 

4)  Current Problems: Catholic Death Penalty Teaching: Most recent Catechism (last amended 2003)

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014_10_26_archive.html

 

 

 

 

One of the more distressing features of the Church being commandeered by anti-death penalty activists is that so much of their propaganda is mendacious as Mr. Sharp points out.  Such mendacity permeates the section of the Catechism that deals with the death penalty:

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 are 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 non-existent.”

No State on earth has the capability of preventing any murderer, short of the death penalty, from killing again.  Church teaching that rests on lies is simply worthless.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

11 Comments

  1. As a Catholic I to quote what Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley stated: “Society can protect itself in ways other than the use of the death penalty,”. America like Europe has seen ongoing problems with crime and violence, despite all countries all wanting to be hard on crime. To my knowledge no country in Europe has the death penalty and I don’t think bringing back the death penalty will cure the crime problems of Europe. As a Catholic we are taught love and forgiveness, which makes supporting the death penalty in the twenty first century outdated. To be honest I wish the Catholic Church leadership could be more vocal against the death penalty.

  2. “As a Catholic we are taught love and forgiveness, which makes supporting the death penalty in the twenty first century outdated.”

    Odd that it took the Church almost 2000 years to determine that love and forgiveness meant being against the death penalty. I guess the Church must have been wrong for twenty centuries under your logic.

  3. Love and forgiveness on the part of the individual are compatible with”the healing and preservation of the common good” on the part of the state. Right?

  4. “The Bishops have accepted anti death penalty claims, as gospel (small “g”), even when they conflict with Church teachings”.

    The exact same will be said after the October Synod of the Family, but it will concern divorced Catholics.

    The Bishops have accepted the insolvability of marriage claims, as gospel (small “g”),
    when they conflict with Church teachings”. Doctrine of course will remain the same, but will be summarily ignored because under the current pope the mean old church must be a forgiving and compassionate church (which means of course ignoring the words of Christ).

    Same thing with allowing those in “irregular” unions (same-sex couples) to receive Holy Communion. Just look the other way and be compassionate and caring to those living in grave sin. All it well in the church of nice.

  5. Outdated? Objective truth is never outdated. St. Thomas Aquinas is not outdated.
    .

    So called government, even among earliest societies of heathen/wild men, were largely formed to protect the group from external and internal threats. An internal threat could be blood feud for a murder. The death penalty imposed by the chieftain or magistrate, or were geld, were means of preserving peace in the group after a murder.
    .
    We receive in Genesis a part of the theology of the death penalty. He who spills man’s blood will have his blood spilled by man. For man was made in God’s image.
    .
    If bishops were angels . . . In fact, the murderer or rapist devalued human life and diminished respect for human dignity and self-eliminated himself a claim to either. See Genesis.
    .
    Conrad’s, “Exterminate all the brutes.” from Heart of Darkness, may not only refer to Kurtz’s blind-followers, but also to English law, at the time, which imposed public hangings for crimes such as theft.

    Finally, my uncharitable opinions: catholic Liberals are one: not doing anything to oppose abortion and this makes them feel (warm and fuzzy – nothing to do with the facts) pro-life; and two: they want (to them more important than Truth) to get invited to idiot lib (I repeat myself again) cocktail parties.

  6. If the capital one murderer is not put to death and the murderer murders again, the state becomes the enabler and an accomplice to the murder because they neglected to protect society when there was a chance. Samuel hacked Agag into pieces saying: “As your sword has made women childless so shall your mother be childless.”
    .
    Atheism is trying to impose its belief that there is no eternal life for the immortal human soul and that death is final and hopeless. Sending the capital one murderer to God for judgment with our hope for his redemption is a very charitable and just thing to do.

  7. Archbishop Wenski…….if he were in charge of Citizenship and Immigration Services, every Haitian would be in the United States, living in an American taxpayer funded dwelling, receiving American taxpayer funded meals, health care, transportation, etc.

    I do not mean to make light of the bone deep wretched poverty of Haiti. What I am pointing out is that +Wenski is the typical American bishop who wants to solve a problem using United States Government authority and American taxpayer money.

    it’s the same thing with the death penalty. Pope St. John Paul II would oppose the death penalty because (in part) the death penalty was levied on Polish citizens by the Nazi General Government who tried to help Jews. Of course, the Communists “executed” anyone who was inconvenient, including Fr. Popieuszko.

    The long reign of Pope St. John Paul should have taught us many things, things that have gone unlearned. Enforcing the death penalty on Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy is NOT the same as shooting a village of Polish peasants who helped a family of Jews escape the roundup to Auschwitz. Yet our bishops treat it that way.
    John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway mass murderer, frightened even the hardcore criminals he was locked up with. Sure, let’s treat HIM like Mexico treats its convicted murderers. Let ’em out after 40 years.

    Pope St. John Paul II’s handling of Fr. Maicel and the Legionnaires of Christ showed how not to handle problems with a religious order.

    We learn NOTHING when we think we have ALL of the answers.

  8. If the capital one murderer murders again, the state becomes the enabler and an accomplice to the murder because they neglected to protect society when there was a chance. This still does not justify the death penalty, after all how many cases of harsh domestic violence has been overlooked and eventually the wives are murdered by their husbands or partners. Indeed there are countless accounts, where the state has failed innocent people.

  9. [H]ow many cases of harsh domestic violence has been overlooked and eventually the wives are murdered by their husbands or partners.[sic] Indeed there are countless accounts, where the state has failed innocent people.

    That’s because the state, like the church, is a human institution, the good mixed up with the bad. There are I think instances were the death penalty is the least bad option.

  10. The long reign of Pope St. John Paul should have taught us many things, things that have gone unlearned. Enforcing the death penalty on Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy is NOT the same as shooting a village of Polish peasants who helped a family of Jews escape the roundup to Auschwitz. Yet our bishops treat it that way.
    .
    Well said, Penguins Fan.

    .
    James Charles: “This still does not justify the death penalty, after all how many cases of harsh domestic violence has been overlooked and eventually the wives are murdered by their husbands or partners. Indeed there are countless accounts, where the state has failed innocent people.”
    .
    99% failure by the state does not recommend 100% failure. Even capital one murderers know, I mean KNOW that the death penalty is Justice. My brother was murdered… the murderer hanged himself. We are all subject to death because we have sinned. Trying to erase our judgment will not change any of it.

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