"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Into the Catholic Weeds

So it seems that some Catholic papers that few people read, joined by a blog group that few people read, are taking a brave and bold stand for justice in favor of... convicted murderers, and urging abolition of the death penalty.

Where to begin with this crew?  The sanctimony and name-calling directed at those like myself who merely uphold what the Catholic Church has always and everywhere taught about capital punishment?  The shoddy reasoning that simultaneously claims to support the Catholic Catechism (which teaches that capital punishment is morally legitimate but should be used rarely) while claiming at the same time that the death penalty intrinsically violates human rights, and ought not just be used rarely, but abolished altogether?

Or perhaps to point out that when they say it's "three popes and the current magisterium" against St. Thomas Aquinas and the Church's traditional teaching on this matter, they are buying into the very "hermeneutic of rupture" between current Catholic teaching and traditional Catholic teaching which they routinely criticize some Traditionalists (scornfully called "Rad-Trads") for espousing, and which was condemned by Pope Benedict XVI as a faulty view of Vatican II and post conciliar teachings?

Or to remind them when they call us (without apparent irony) "lovers of death" that it was precisely one of those three Popes, the same Benedict, who stated, "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." 

But this crew is undeterred by facts, which they resolutely ignore as being inconvenient to their "America is Moloch" meme (such as: the death penalty is very rarely used in the US and only on offenders who could not reasonably be "rendered harmless" by incarceration).  It is undeterred by a religious teaching going back 6,000 years and utterly irreformable, and a principle of the Natural Law itself, that gives societies the right and even duty to protect themselves and to carry out justice by resort to the death penalty.  It is shameless in its lack of actual knowledge of the criminal justice system and penal systems, and what each can reasonably accomplish to "render offenders harmless".  But from their basement blogging outposts and neatly isolated cubicles in Madison, this questionable alliance of  dissenters, some "conservative" Catholics, some thoroughly liberal, such as those found in the pages of Catholic-in-name-only America and National Catholic Reporter, forge ahead, facts be damned, Church teaching be damned, public safety be damned.

1 comment:

bill bannon said...

It's hopeless because it's deeper than the death penalty...it's a gathering pan pacifism in high clergy. Popes now practice the higher biblical criticism that previous Popes warned of...and no highly published Catholic authors like George Weigel even whisper it. John Paul II tells you softly in section 40 of Evangelium Vitae that he doesn't believe the Levitical and Deuteronomy death penalties were really from God but from an unrefined culture even though Scripture has them being ordered by God. He can pick and choose what he believes...biblical cafeteria-ism...and he knows no Catholic author who is paying for kids' college will criticize him or they'll get few publishers.
Pope Benedict did the same thing on OT violence issues. Pope Benedict in section 42 of Verbum Domini even goes to the modernist extreme of insinuating that the massacres ( really herem ) of the OT were sins and scholars with training in historical-literary context will prove it ( they won't because 70 AD, the worst God involved massacre, was not ancient...the genre was history not fiction). Here's Benedict talking of the herem in sect.42:
"This can be explained by the historical context, yet it can cause the modern reader to be taken aback, especially if he or she fails to take account of the many “dark” deeds carried out down the centuries, and also in our own day."
So the herem of Canaan were like the bombing of Dresden...not from God though Wisdom 12 spends a whole chapter saying they were from God ONLY after God punished the idolaters in small degrees for 400 years firstly....and they would not repent.
He goes further on all kinds of violence being anathema to the prophets as though they were
Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan back in the day:
" In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual, and thus became God’s way of training his people in preparation for the Gospel."
Really? I only recall them denouncing the rich Jews violence against poor Jews over land grabs. Let's look at the prophets...Elijah killed 552 men and maybe 952 if the Carmel incident had a missing verse. Jehu, a prophet- king, killed decades of Baal worshippers. Samuel killed Agag because Saul failed to. Eliseus got 42 children killed by bears via a curse. Jeremiah warned the Chaldeans to perfectly fight against the Moabites...Jeremiah 48:10 "Cursed be he that doeth the work of Jehovah negligently; and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood."
But Pope Benedict was allowed to make up OT history in sect.42 because we apparently are sinfully polite and don't know the Bible as Jerome did....and Benedict did help traditionalists on the liturgy so hey...let him misrepresent God's word as a reward. Christ said, "and the scriptures cannot be broken". That's never quoted in modern Catholic circles. Benedict was dead wrong....the herem were ordered by God as scripture says and the prophets did not challenge every kind of violence. One of the prophets contradicts Benedict on both prophets/violence and herem in Isaiah 23:11..." The LORD has issued orders concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds.". We have drifted so far from the early Fathers' relationship to scripture that Popes no longer know the OT....or worse, think they know the real OT which was never written.