"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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Nothing New Under the Sun

Well, sadly, the purveyor of propaganda against the Church's teaching on the death penalty is back on his blog and at it again.

Not much new this time around, though his "tag" is a story about a Philippine bishop who dramatically and daftly offers to allow himself to be killed to underscore his opposition to the death penalty, the reintroduction of which is under consideration by the newly elected president, former prosecutor and crime fighter Rodrigo Duterte, who won election on a platform of being tough on crime and the rampant corruption in the country.  

Duterte is a colorful and crude character, with definite tyrannical tendencies.  When he was mayor of Davao, he transformed the city from the murder capital of the Philippines to what is now ranked as the world's fourth safest place. He's tacitly approved vigilante killings of criminals, and promised to continue to
Duterte, exercising good trigger discipline
kill criminals as president.  Although born a Catholic, he claims to have been sexually molested by a Jesuit priest as a child (I wonder if the bishop who offered to be executed supervised that priest, who was in fact a notorious abuser, in which case his offer might be in order, since our Lord said something about millstones and scandalizing children), and once said "if  I listened to the Ten Commandments or to the priests, I would not be able to do anything as a mayor."  And despite his liberal public use of profanity, he's restricted alcohol sales, tobacco use, lowered the speed limit, and enacted what's been called a "Magna Carta" for women's rights.

The country's bishops are apoplectic about Duterte's desire to reintroduce the death penalty, which was abolished in 2006.  There is widespread support for its reintroduction, following stories of gruesome murders, and in light of the fact that the murder rate increased after abolition, to the surprise of no one.

Perhaps the good bishops should consider whether in their situation, it would not be better to have the judicial system determining death sentences, rather than vigilante squads. One way to address the lawlessness of vigilantism would be for the government to do its primary job, securing the safety of the citizenry.

At any rate, the decision whether to have capital punishment among the tools of criminal justice in a given country is a decision for the civil authorities to make, not clerics. It's odd indeed that the same churchmen who wanted to throw away the Catholic state in Vatican II's Dignitatis Humanae, now want to direct the criminal justice decisions of their respective countries. You can't have it both ways, your excellencies.  As good Pope Francis said just the other day in an interview with La Croix, “Confessional states end badly…I believe that secularism accompanied by a strong law which guarantees religious freedom provides a framework for moving forward.”  Why do you oppose the Holy Father, bishops of the Philippines?

As for the Trump of the Catholic blogosphere, his inanity and illogic is again on display, as he once more conflates any support of the teaching of the Church on the legitimate use of the death penalty with supporting tyranny:
Once you commit to battling the Church to maintain the death penalty (alongside newly elected President Duterte who calls the Holy Father a “son of a bitch”), you commit to a willingness to kill a few innocent people in your quest for bloody “justice”. You clasp men like Duterte to your bosom as you fight the Church to keep the US on a list including every Islamic despotism in the world, plus Communist China and North Korea.
The CathoTrump claims that "innocent people (roughly four percent)...have been executed in your lust for blood." An absurd claim with no relation to reality.  In fact since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the US in 1976 there have been exactly ZERO actually innocent people executed.  The Left keeps looking for their holy grail, that one person they can point to as proof of an innocent person having been executed, but they cannot find one. If they had, believe me, we would all know his or her name.  I've dealt with this tired canard before.

I've also dealt with CathoTrump before on his attempt to conflate the death penalty anywhere with the death penalty in tyrannical regimes:
In the same confused post, Shea also resorts to his old tactic of conflating the just and measured use of the death penalty as it is practiced in the Christian West, with the horrible excesses and murderous injustice of Islamic dominated regions, as though the due process, years of appeals, and extremely limited use of the death penalty in this country could be comparable to the wanton, reckless, and arbitrary use of barbaric methods of death imposed by the Muslims.
It's the logical fallacy of association and the bottom of the barrel resort for those who lack rational arguments.  In short, it's a cheap huckster's ploy and a demagogic device.  It's a losing argument's last resort.
They just can't come up with anything new, so the same lies come out again and again.  It's getting boring.