Category: death penalty

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The Death Penalty, Doctrine or Personal Opinion?

I’ve seen a lot of confusion in the past year about the Church’s new teaching on the death penalty that was issued last summer when Pope Francis changed paragraph 2267 of the Catechism. One of the key misconceptions I’ve heard is that this new teaching is simply the prudential opinion of the pope and therefore nothing has actually changed and Catholics are free to respectfully disagree. However, I think an attentive reading of the new...

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Cardinal Burke: “This is an opinion of Pope Francis as a man”

Recent remarks by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, captured on audio, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Burke explicitly rejects the revised teaching on the death penalty in Catechism #2267 and urges catechists not to accept or teach the change that Pope Francis has mandated. On this site, we have long been tracking the views of those with extremist viewpoints who criticize Pope Francis. We have also noted a more mainstream contingent whose members strongly oppose...

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The dramatic developments of John Paul and Francis

In yesterday’s post, I explored the hostile responses from many of Pope Francis’s critics over his ecumenical gestures towards Christians outside of full communion with the Catholic Church, and how the outcry compares to their acceptance of similar gestures — not to mention a major change in sacramental discipline — made by St. John Paul II during his papacy. Today, we’ll take a closer look at three issues that are at the center of debate...

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Dr. Peters’ deer & hunter: death penalty & the inversion of roles

In June 17th, Cardinal Dolan posted the following on Twitter: Link: https://twitter.com/CardinalDolan/status/1140621061211529217 This tweet (as accurate as it is) prompted a wild discussion in social media, since there are many Catholics who are unwilling to assent to the recent Catechetical revision on the Death Penalty, from which this tweet flows. In this context, Dr. Edward Peters has chimed in with this article, where he claims the Cardinal’s tweet to be ill-advised, because it might contradict...

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Death penalty – The Gen 9:6 objection

One of the most common scriptural arguments used by death penalty dissenters revolves around Gen 9:6. In fact, the most foundational book for their position, written by notable death penalty counter-apologist Edward Feser, borrows its title from that biblical quote. This biblical excerpt refers to the so-called Noahide Laws, given by God to Noah after the flood as an “eternal covenant.” According to this specific law, the killing of a human being would demand retribution...

Human life and dignity: our maturing teaching

In recent days, I’ve been thinking about the Church’s teaching on Human Life and Dignity. Here are some thoughts and reflections on the subject. In the past, we’ve written about Pope Francis’s views on abortion, and last month we shared a quote from his address to Italian pro-life leaders: Voluntarily extinguishing life in its blossoming is, in every case, a betrayal of our vocation, as well as of the pact that binds generations together, which...

We do not Possess the Truth: How the Church Changes Her Teachings

“We must move toward an idea of truth that is evermore inclusive, less restrictive; at least, if we are thinking of the truth of God and not some human truth, however solid it may appear to us. The truth of God is inexhaustible; it is an ocean of which we can hardly see the shore. It is something that we are beginning to discover in these times: not to make us slaves to an almost...

Death Penalty – continuity or hardness of heart?

“All of this shows that the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was...

Death penalty – A Catholic nation’s experience

«I express my hope that your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order» — Pope Benedict XVI; Address to Sant’Egidio Community’s “No Justice Without Life” international meeting; Nov 30th, 2011 Turmoil was stirred among anti-Francis critics...

Rawlins Brothers

The death penalty and the mystery of mercy

Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, my great-great-grandfather, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Rawlins, was engaged in a feud in South Georgia with a man named William L Carter. Rawlins was a farmer and a former Baptist preacher with five children, while Carter (also a farmer...