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 by shedding the killer’s blood. Since all humankind is descended from Noah, the Noahide laws – so it is argued – would still be in effect, even if the Mosaic Law governing the nation of Israel is not.

To see if this is the case, let us quote the biblical passage in question (my emphasis):

“Every thing that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you: even as the green herbs have I delivered them all to you: Saving that flesh with blood you shall not eat.”

The reader might be feeling confused now, but it’s normal. I misquoted, but did so on purpose. I didn’t read Gen 9:6, but rather Gen 9:3-4, two verses before the actual quote.

But why did I misquote? Because Gen 9:4 forbids the eating of flesh with blood. This prohibition is a Noahide law, just like Gen 9:6. Yet, many Catholics today eat flesh with blood. Portugal, my traditionally Catholic country, features a rich gastronomy with lots of equally traditional dishes made out of blood. However, never have I heard any condemnation from the pulpit of this most anti-biblical practice.

 

Cabidela rice – rice with chicken cooked on its own blood

 

Some may argue that this prohibition is not in effect, for Old Testament dietary laws have been superseded by the New Testament. But it is not so. Already in New Testament times, all the bishops of the Catholic Church gathered together in Council and reaffirmed this most venerable and ancient prohibition. And it was not just any set of bishops: it was the Apostles themselves, in the Council of Jerusalem!

“For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things: That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well”

— Acts 15:28-29 (DRV)

Why is the Church not enforcing this traditional teaching with a vigor equal to its disobedience across Catholic world? Well, it seems like the Church herself has overturned this Noahide law, thereby “contradicting” herself.

In 1442 AD, the Ecumenical Council of Florence promulgated this:

“[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that every creature of God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because according to the word of the Lord not what goes into the mouth defiles a person, and because the difference in the Mosaic law between clean and unclean foods belongs to ceremonial practices, which have passed away and lost their efficacy with the coming of the gospel. It also declares that the apostolic prohibition, to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled, was suited to that time when a single church was rising from Jews and gentiles, who previously lived with different ceremonies and customs. This was so that the gentiles should have some observances in common with Jews, and occasion would be offered of coming together in one worship and faith of God and a cause of dissension might be removed, since by ancient custom blood and strangled things seemed abominable to Jews, and gentiles could be thought to be returning to idolatry if they ate sacrificial food. In places, however, where the Christian religion has been promulgated to such an extent that no Jew is to be met with and all have joined the church, uniformly practising the same rites and ceremonies of the gospel and believing that to the clean all things are clean, since the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased, so its effect has ceased. It condemns, then, no kind of food that human society accepts and nobody at all neither man nor woman, should make a distinction between animals, no matter how they died”

— Council of Florence, Session 11

If we are going to say that a Council has introduced novelties in doctrine, so that the Church contradicted herself, then we must acknowledge that the smoke of Satan infiltrated the Church many centuries before Vatican II. The biblical prescriptions (including Gen 9:4) were “suited to that time“, but have in effect “ceased.” Some distracted traditionalist might confuse this wording with modernism, if uttered by the Church today.

However, I think Florence overturning Gen 9:4 is very similar to Francis overturning Gen 9:6. The justifications in both have very similar foundations.

On one hand, in both we see an “increasing awareness” of certain foundational points of doctrine. Florence quotes the Lord Himself, Who said it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person. This teaching was a development from the Old Testament Scriptures, even if it seems a contradiction at first glance. However, even if the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem were most certainly aware of these words from Jesus Christ, they still reasserted Gen 9:4. So, the development, while traditional, can only be accounted for by an increasing awareness of where Jesus was coming from, an increasing awareness that took place from Apostolic times right into the 15th century.

On the other hand, both Florence and Francis try to explain why these prescriptions were appropriate for a certain historical context, but no longer apply, since that historical context ceased to exist. Not because doctrine has changed, but because the cultural shifts that took place in the meantime changed the meaning underlying those norms. In an ancient mindset, blood symbolized a life force that should be offered to the gods. Therefore, it had  an enormous religious significance and was inextricably tied to idolatry. Modern day society simply does not attribute to blood the same religious and ritualistic value that ancient pagan and Jewish societies gave to it (even in Apostolic times.) So, forbidding the eating of blood does not add anything of value to our faith anymore. In fact, by getting gung-ho in defending a literalist interpretation of Gen 9:4, we risk interpreting it in anachronistic and life-threatening ways, like Jehovah’s Witnesses do regarding blood transfusions.

Most importantly, both with Florence and with Francis, we have an “overturning” of the Noahide law based on authoritative sources. Both Florence and Pope Francis have received the magisterial authority to interpret Scripture and Tradition. Theirs is the correct interpretation for their corresponding age.

By doing away with a literalist application of Gen 9:4, the Council of Florence has re-focused Catholicism on what is quintessential to that quote. By not allowing us to get preoccupied with secondary questions regarding the eating of blood, it allowed a greater continuity with the doctrine of Gen 9:4. For Gen 9:4 is mostly about idolatry, and idolatry nowadays has nothing to do with eating blood. Focusing too much on the blood bit might distract us from dealing with idolatry, which is the main theme of the biblical passage in question.

In the same vein, I argue that by doing away with a literalist application of Gen 9:6, Pope Francis has actually re-focused Catholicism on what is quintessential to that quote. I explain that in further detail in this article.

Morcelas – blood sausages

So, if you allow me, I will stuff myself up with some morcelas, before going out and lobbying for a full death penalty abolition. And, sincerely, I do not think I am less Catholic for doing that. In fact, by showing my complete trust in the teachings of the Church that Jesus Himself instituted, I believe I am not only not sinning, but actually demonstrating my faith.

[Featured image: “Noah’s Sacrifice”, Daniel Maclise, ca. 1850]

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  1. Avatar Lesley MacDonald says:

    Once again such an excellent article.
    So insightful and informative .Thank you so much Pedro. God bless you and our dear Pope Francis!

  2. Avatar Peter Aiello says:

    The problem with statement from the Council of Florence is that the law given to Noah was given by God thousands of years before the Mosaic Law. It has nothing to do with Judaism. This is why it can’t be changed; and why it was reaffirmed at the Council of Jerusalem. The decision of the Council of Jerusalem is still the decision of the Council regardless of its historic setting.

  3. Avatar David says:

    You folks are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. This also shows how dangerous it is to have unqualified people running blogs. If you can’t distinguish between the ceremonial, juridic, and moral aspects of the old law, then you really shouldn’t be saying anything. There’s a difference between ceremonial/ritual aspects like those pertaining to “clean-ness” of food, which can change and were superseded, and moral prescriptions such as the ten commandments, under which the liciety of the DP flows, which remain for all time. To conflate them in order to try to demonize critics and claim to have a “gotcha” moment is shameful and pathetic. Furthermore, it was not the Church who introduced “noahtide” law, and thus the Church did not then abolish it, and thus did not contradict herself in doing so. Even technically speaking, the church didn’t change or abolish it but it was because “the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased” by itself. Even more, this was not a “teaching” on faith and morals, not doctrine, and thus again not an example of the Church contradicting/changing her teaching. Does the author actually think that prescriptions on unclean foods were a doctrinal matter? Where does the Church ever say that? (It doesn’t of course.) Or is he just setting up a straw man for the supposed “gotcha” moment? (read Thomas Aquinas on the types of old law, for starters, STh I-II qq. 100-105.).

    As such, to try to equate the truly doctrinal teaching on the death penalty to the matter of ritual purity, and then argue how the teaching on the DP can change in like fashion is very wrong logically and theologically. Further, the council of Florence did not say what it did by rejecting a literalist interpretation of genesis, but again because “the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased.” Yet the author falsely imputes rejection of a literalist interpretation as the reason, to set up another straw man. So the claim of precedent for rejecting a literalist interpretation of genesis in regard to ritual purity doesn’t work either.

    This also entails saying that it is the Church- not any “traditionalist”- who has had an erroneous, literalist interpretation of scripture all this time. It is the Church who has cited Genesis 9:6 for the liciety of the death penalty, and the fact it is divinely revealed, which thus means it can’t later be claimed to be immoral, e.g., catechism of trent, innocent iii’s profession of faith for the waldesians. This is precisely the problem- what the Church taught unwaveringly and firmly, arguably infallibly, is now supposedly wrong, and Francis alone correct. You can try to dress it up with other descriptions, but the practical fact remains- the prior teaching would then be mistaken. Of course, if the Church was previously mistaken, then Francis could easily be so, and indeed the odds would heavily be in favor of the latter. Let us also remember that Genesis 9:6 is only one citation for the teaching and one would then also have to discard all the others, scripturally and otherwise.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      “You folks are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

      Not really. I still have lots where that came from
      ************
      “This also shows how dangerous it is to have unqualified people running blogs.”

      Thank you for agreeing with us. Let us then follow the Vicar of Christ, not blogs
      ************
      “There’s a difference between ceremonial/ritual aspects like those pertaining to “clean-ness” of food, which can change and were superseded, and moral prescriptions such as the ten commandments, under which the liciety of the DP flows, which remain for all time.”

      The Jews at the time of Jesus might disagree with your assessment on the ability to supersede the ceremonial/ritual aspects of the law.

      And that’s the point. Who has the authority to interpret Scripture and Tradition? It’s not about conflating the two situations doctrinally, but about comparing the authority of both Francis and Florence to interpret Scripture and Tradition in ways that seem superficially contradictory
      ************
      “To conflate them in order to try to demonize critics…”

      I never demonized anyone
      ************
      “and claim to have a “gotcha” moment is shameful and pathetic.”

      Even if I have never demonized anyone, you have been extremely disrespectful. If you want to continue commenting on this blog I suggest you tone it down a bit.
      ************
      “Furthermore, it was not the Church who introduced “noahtide” law, and thus the Church did not then abolish it, and thus did not contradict herself in doing so.”

      The Church *did* “contradict” herself if we include the Council of Jerusalem, though
      ************
      “Even technically speaking, the church didn’t change or abolish it but it was because “the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased” by itself.”

      Correct. Just like Francis didn’t change the teachings, but developed them, citing his own reasons for it, just like Florence did. If you reject those reasons, the problem is yours, but you have no authority to claim that Francis is wrong, just like dissenters who were proclaiming a literalist interpretation of the Bible at the time had no authority to claim Florence wrong either
      ************
      “As such, to try to equate the truly doctrinal teaching on the death penalty to the matter of ritual purity”

      The Noahide law is not about ritual purity
      ************
      “Further, the council of Florence did not say what it did by rejecting a literalist interpretation of genesis, but again because “the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased.” Yet the author falsely imputes rejection of a literalist interpretation as the reason, to set up another straw man.”

      I never said that the Coucil of Florence used “literalist interpretation” as a reason to reject the apostolic prohibition

      What I did said was that not acknowledging the authority of the Council of Florence leads to literalistic interpretations of Gen 9:4 that are wrong. I mentioned the example of Jehova’s Witnesses, but you also can see a comment up-thread by Peter Aiello, where he rejects the Church’s authority in Florence because of a literalist interpretation of Scripture.
      ************
      “is the Church who has cited Genesis 9:6 for the liciety of the death penalty, and the fact it is divinely revealed, which thus means it can’t later be claimed to be immoral,”

      I have dealt with that in my previous article, linked on this one. But here goes the link again:

      https://wherepeteris.com/death-penalty-continuity-or-hardness-of-heart/
      ************
      “This is precisely the problem- what the Church taught unwaveringly and firmly, arguably infallibly, is now supposedly wrong”

      *Now* being the key word here. Francis has specifically said that it was not wrong then, but it is now. He cited his reasons, just like Florence did. If you reject it, you reject the interpretation of Tradition of the Vicar of Christ
      ************
      “…and Francis alone correct.”

      Both the Church at the time *and* Francis are correct. Rather it is you (and your cohort) alone who are wrong
      ************
      “You can try to dress it up with other descriptions, but the practical fact remains- the prior teaching would then be mistaken.”

      Francis rejects this claim and so do I. Who is trying to set up a strawman to play “gotcha” now?

      It is not the prior teaching that was mistaken, it’s your interpretation of the prior teaching
      ************
      “Of course, if the Church was previously mistaken, then Francis could easily be so,”

      Neither was mistaken, so this point is moot
      ************
      “Let us also remember that Genesis 9:6 is only one citation for the teaching and one would then also have to discard all the others, scripturally and otherwise.”

      This article focuses only on the Gen 9:6 objection. Other citations were not dealt with here purposefully because they are off-topic. If I decide to address them, I will do so in other articles

      • Avatar David says:

        Your own citations refute you: we are precisely speaking of matters of ritual purity/ceremony. A couple of paragraphs before the one you quote in the council’s decree there is further explanation about the distinctions. The paragraph you quote itself describes them as ceremonial- sometimes called ritual- but clearly not doctrinal! Also, the council is clearly speaking of the mosaic law which you contrast with the term “noahtide.” So the council is not even speaking of a “noahtide” law but the mosaic, so you can’t substitute one for the other, which you do. To insist that matters of ceremony are doctrinal and ever comprised a teaching of the Church on faith or morals is just wrong. Can you provide any sort of authoritative citation for claiming an equation of ceremony of the old law with doctrine, and that the Church ever taught such as a doctrine? That is certainly not to be found in the council of Florence. If you can’t, then that speaks for itself. And again in your own quote, the council of Florence itself did not change anything- it merely pointed out that the causes of the old prescriptions ceased to exist by the very coming of the gospel; which also means the council could not have changed anything- it was the coming of Christ that rendered it obsolete. So, to equate this with a council changing a teaching of faith and morals is also incorrect and thus your claim of this as an example to support the change in the DP doesn’t hold.

        You’re also playing with words to avoid the contradiction: you admit the prior teaching was correct “in its time” but then claim it was not wrong compared to now. If something is now the contrary- as in the logical category of contraries- of what it was, it must have been previously wrong or else you have violated the principle of non-contradiction. To say that something is moral or immoral in itself means it must always be so, if that is what is being taught. The nature of the act can’t change- that’s what it means for something to be intrinsically such. Theft or abortion could not go from being immoral to moral, for instance. Very tellingly, there is no precedent in the Church’s entire history I am aware of in which something taught to be moral in itself was later declared immoral. (People sometimes cite usury as an example, but this is not the case.) This is a novelty in the entire history of the Faith, which alone should sound the alarm bells! The mere passage of time can’t change it: because x amount of years have passed, the species of an act as good or evil can supposedly change and the mere gap of time allegedly allows for something to be correct only “in its time.” It’s even more maddening when you bring in Revelation, for then you’re inferring God’s revelation changes from time to time. Or, you would again have to say that the Church was previously in error in its interpretation of scripture. You can’t have a correct interpretation that was only good “for its time” but then a contrary interpretation which is also correct, at another time. Either one or the other interpretation is right or wrong at any given time. Where has the Church ever taught such things? Or taught that an act as intrinsically good or evil can ever change? Any citations? This cannot be explained away by a bald appeal to an absolute papal will- whatever Francis says goes, regardless of whether it can be explained, shown to be true, shown to be part of the deposit of Faith, contradictions not resolved. It’s very telling and strange that there has been no official explanation given about any of this, aside from just claiming ‘it’s a development, just take our word for it.’ The Church has not operated that way, until now. Anyone should be concerned about this, for there is no teaching that can’t be changed or undermined by an appeal to the same illogic. Indeed this is precisely what seems to underlie this: a test case to change other things, and indeed those are already being proposed by those around Francis, and even officially, with the amazon synod.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        “Also, the council is clearly speaking of the mosaic law which you contrast with the term “noahtide.” “

        You cannot overturn, in practice, the Mosaic Law on eating blood without effectively overturning the Noahide Law
        ***************
        “To insist that matters of ceremony are doctrinal and ever comprised a teaching of the Church on faith or morals is just wrong”

        Then glad I never did so, even if you’re desperately trying to pin me on that position to score points

        But there are those who would disagree that the Church would have the authority to overturn those ceremonial matters (Jews, Bible literalists) because that would contradict inerrant Scripture. And that’s my point.
        ***************
        “Can you provide any sort of authoritative citation for claiming an equation of ceremony of the old law with doctrine, and that the Church ever taught such as a doctrine? (…) If you can’t, then that speaks for itself.”

        I don’t need to find a citation to justify your strawman
        ***************
        “And again in your own quote, the council of Florence itself did not change anything- it merely pointed out that the causes of the old prescriptions ceased to exist by the very coming of the gospel; which also means the council could not have changed anything- it was the coming of Christ that rendered it obsolete.”

        First: I find it telling that you reduce this to Old Testament prescriptions superseded with the Gospel, when my article specifically mentions something you conveniently ignore: Florence “contradicting” the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem

        Secondly: Pope Francis also says he did not change anything – it merely pointed out that the current use of non-lethal alternatives, coupled with a development in our moral conscience, rendered the DP obsolete. And therefore its application nowadays is always immoral.
        ***************
        “You’re also playing with words to avoid the contradiction: you admit the prior teaching was correct “in its time” but then claim it was not wrong compared to now.”

        I’m not playing with words, I’m making a case. I know you don’t like it because you need it to be a contradiction, since your whole narrative justifying dissent is built upon it, but I do not fall for your false dichotomy.

        The article clearly lays out in unarguable terms that the Church can say that something was so “in its own time” but that since then the conditions have made that situation “cease to exist”.

        Your whole premise forces Florence to not being able to argue what it does argue. Every single argument you make about the Church not being able to make determinations “in its own time” undermines Florence.
        ***************
        “If something is now the contrary- as in the logical category of contraries- of what it was, it must have been previously wrong or else you have violated the principle of non-contradiction”

        So, in order to not violate the principle of non-contradiction, you postulate that if the application of the DP is moral in some cases, then it is always moral?

        By your logic, carrying out the DP in a case of a miscarriage of justice would not be immoral, because the DP can be moral in some cases. Would that violate the principle of non-contradiction? Clearly no, because the circumstances change the way we should apply the doctrine, even if the doctrine did not change.

        My point is exactly that. You are the one bringing up the “intrinsically evil” debate, but neither me nor Pope Francis are concerned on whether the DP is immoral or moral “in principle”. What we are concerned is if *today*, for a variety of reasons, there is any case where the DP can be morally applied. And both me and Francis say no. And we do not violate the law of non-contradiction by saying so.
        ************
        “Very tellingly, there is no precedent in the Church’s entire history I am aware of in which something taught to be moral in itself was later declared immoral.”

        Slavery.
        Torture.
        ***************
        “The mere passage of time can’t change it: because x amount of years have passed, the species of an act as good or evil can supposedly change and the mere gap of time allegedly allows for something to be correct only “in its time.””

        I never said it was the mere passage of time that made the DP inadmissible, and neither did Francis… and neither did Florence say it was the mere passage of time that allowed for eating blood. Just because you studiously ignore the reasons given, that does not mean those reasons do not exist
        ***************
        “It’s very telling and strange that there has been no official explanation given about any of this, aside from just claiming ‘it’s a development, just take our word for it.’”

        It is very telling that you seem to ignore there is a CDF text on this matter
        ***************
        “Indeed this is precisely what seems to underlie this: a test case to change other things, and indeed those are already being proposed by those around Francis, and even officially, with the amazon synod.”

        You should take off the glasses of the hermeneutic of suspicion. That is just a narrative from dissenter echo chambers and it is keeping you from full communion with the Vicar of Christ

      • Avatar carn says:

        @David

        “To say that something is moral or immoral in itself means it must always be so, if that is what is being taught.”

        Again:

        WPI people do not seem to claim that Pope Francis teaches that DP is in itself immoral.

        But they also do not want to say, that DP should be dropped due to the circumstances making it unnecessary, as this would leave open the door for people arguing “prudential judgement”.

        I think they – and i guess that might also be Pope Francis intent – want to have all wiggle room for “prudential judgement” regarding DP gone, but do not care how that could be without DP being intrinsically evil.

        Therefore the arguments sound in part as if arguing DP is intrinsic evil, although that is not what they want to express.

    • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

      David,

      Regarding your statement about it being dangerous to listen to “unqualified people on blogs,” did you seriously think about the implications of this statement before posting it? How does your statement not refer, ironically, to you– especially given that, from what I have seen in your comments here, you are often opposing Pope Francis, and the WPI authors are not?

      Are you, a poster of comments on a blog pertaining to Catholic matters, somehow more qualified to tell us (or anyone) what authentic, orthodox Catholic teaching is than the current Vicar of Christ? The Pope has the supreme office and the supreme teaching authority in the Church. The revision in the Catechism, regarding the death penalty, is an exercise of his office and authority. I am Catholic, so I accept the revision. Why would I not accept it? The Pope is my spiritual leader under Christ Himself. Francis is the Vicar of Christ. I don’t have the authority in the Church to make formal declarations of Catholic teaching that are binding on other Catholics. The Pope does. No Catholic should listen to me over the Pope. Why should any Catholic listen to you over the Pope?

    • Avatar carn says:

      Take care David what you exactly presume to be WPI’s position.

      I think they are not of the opinion that the words of Pope Francis mean that DP is intrinsically evil and/or that it wasn’t licit for the Church to “tolerate” it all the years.

      As your arguments seem to aim at DP being intrinsic evil and variations thereof, there are likely going to miss.

      No, i cannot explain to you what then the actual position is; it is something along the lines that today for every Catholic DP is now and in the future always forbidden forever, cause the Pope has found that since a few decades stable societies without DP are possible.

      But i suspect that that description might still miss WPI position.

      Doesn’t change that one’s argument should fit to the position of the other side, and i am skeptical whether yours fit to their position.

  4. Avatar M. says:

    @David
    Wait, the Catholic Church before Pope Francis held the death penalty as a doctrine of the church? As in, the doctine of the death penalty? Or did the church just tolerate/allow it,? Somebody help me out here-

  5. Avatar ONG says:

    It’s a fact that 2/3 of the countries in the world, as of today, have abolished the death penalty! (Correct numbers with some retaining few clauses are available.)

    The following is what the Social Doctrine of the Church articulated in 2004 at the dawn of the third millennium:

    405. The Church sees as a sign of hope “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defence’ on the part of society.

    Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform”.[833]

    Whereas, presuming the full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the guilty party, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude the death penalty “when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor”.[834]

    Bloodless methods of deterrence and punishment are preferred as “they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person”.[835]

    The growing number of countries adopting provisions to abolish the death penalty or suspend its application is also proof of the fact that cases in which it is absolutely necessary to execute the offender “are very rare, if not practically non-existent”.[836]

    The growing aversion of public opinion towards the death penalty and the various provisions aimed at abolishing it or suspending its application constitute visible manifestations of a heightened moral awareness.
    _____________________________________
    [833] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 27: AAS 87 (1995), 432.

    [834] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2267.

    [835] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2267.

    [836] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 56: AAS 87 (1995), 464; cf. also John Paul II, Message for the 2001 World Day of Peace, 19: AAS 93 (2001), 244, where recourse to the death penalty is described as “unnecessary”.

    • Avatar ONG says:

      @carn
      Did you really read the rest of my comment?

      You diverted again:

      //You used amnesty’s prestige as a human rights organization as argument against DP.//

      • Not an argument! Just as example, = e.g., for numbers and for what they are doing in that context.

      //Amnesty has lost all its prestige due to the reason i stated. Accordingly, your argument does not work.//

      • It has not, regardless of you forcing your opinion against the abolition of the DP.

      //Amnesty being against DP carries not weight, just as amnesty being in favor woulnd’t carry any weight either.//

      • It does carry weight instead, like it or not. Your typical attempts to *nullify forces* will lead you to no action at all.

      • Whatever contribution to *positive good* is welcome and shouldn’t be dismissed.

      Rather concentrate on the theological argument in CCC 2267 = inadmissible in light of the Gospel!

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Did you really read the rest of my comment?”

        Yes. Irrelevant to the appeal to numbers, authority, prestige, human rights and/or whatever you exactly tried to express with:

        “Full worldwide abolition is supported by all humanitarian organizations regardless of religious Creed or affiliation.”

        “Amnesty International, e.g., has been one of the most influencing for its abolition worldwide.”

        “you forcing your opinion against the abolition of the DP.”

        Which isn’t what i did here. I argued that one of your arguments/examples is a bad one and of little relevance for the debate. That itself is not argument for or against DP.

        “Your typical attempts to *nullify forces* will lead you to no action at all.”

        False. And i could provide hundred of pages of evidence and about 15 to 20 testimonies showing that whatever my approach to ethical matters might be – and i suspect you do not understand my approach – that it did not lead me to no action at all.

        If you would care about careful discernment of matters, you would note that if my claim for such evidence existing would – if true – show beyond any doubt, that this statement of yours: ” Your typical attempts to *nullify forces* will lead you to no action at all.” is false. Accordingly, as you cannot know whether there is such evidence, you should at least consider your statement to be in doubt, if you are apt at careful discernment.

        “Rather concentrate on the theological argument”

        Which you should do instead of citing irrelevant examples like Amnesty.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        I have shown both my theological and social arguments FOR its abolition. You haven’t mentioned *one single one*, neither from the article on Gen. 9!

        ••• Where are yours? •••

        You only argue with yourself with IFS, with FOR vs. AGAINST, assumptions, presumptions, and so on, as IF you were hoping the DP remained.

        You WANT the Death Penalty!

        Am I wrong?

        You keep on saying, false, false, irrelevant, you didn’t do/say that, you have your ethical approach no one understands, could post 20 pages of arguments…

        Talk is cheap, and all of this talk leads to *no action* -factual actions- in the sense that someone else is contributing to the DP abolition (as FACTS) while you still argue about abstracts!

        Accept first that the DP is NO longer tolerated by the Church. This should be your *firm and start position*, and that would be GOOD!

        Is it good, for you?

        There are NO more *arguments* to look for AGAINST its abolition, or FOR it to remain in use…

        That means NO arguments TO ACCEPT and DEFEND the DP!

        Do you want to defend the DP?
        Or do you want to argue with those who defend it?

        It should not be hard to answer these questions without using 20 pages.

        My conclusion instead is:

        It only remains NOW to keep on working and hoping that more and more states/nations will abolish it with WHATEVER argument (already in use), and with petitions, campaigns, exhortations, diplomatic addresses, etc. that are made available in the states that still execute people.

        And, the Pastoral work many ALREADY do with prisoners on death rows, might be a topic you could also ponder on as well!

      • Avatar carn says:

        “••• Where are yours? •••”

        As DP being inadmissible is tied verbatim in the catechism (“Consequently”) to certain matters which are not matters of faith and morals, but which are claims about facts of the world as it is (e.g. “effective systems …, which ensure the due protection of citizens”), which might change over time and/or space,

        CCC2267 does not declare the DP to be intrinsically evil and does not change anything fundamental compared to what was before in CCC2267,

        but states that the Pope and other high ranking Church members are after having studied the matter of the opinion, that the situation everywhere in the world is meeting the criteria in the catechism, making DP inadmissible everywhere.

        The consequence is that any Catholic of the opinion that the facts are different (e.g. that such “effective systems” do not exist everywhere) in some situation and that therefore DP is admissible in that situation – due to the criteria in the catechism tied to inadmissible not being met – should spend considerable effort and then some to ensure, that the situation is really such that the criteria of CCC2267 are not fulfilled and therefore DP might be still admissible.

        “You WANT the Death Penalty!

        Am I wrong?”

        Yes, you are wrong.

        At least in my home country, the conditions set in CCC2267 are fulfilled and therefore DP is inadmissible. I also think that in the US the conditions are fulfilled and/or can be fulfilled if some limited amount of political effort is spent, and accordingly DP is either already inadmissible in the US or should be in a few years.

        “Accept first that the DP is NO longer tolerated by the Church. This should be your *firm and start position*, and that would be GOOD!

        Is it good, for you?”

        As i said, i accept that Pope Francis are of the opinion that the criteria set down in CCC2267 are fulfilled everywhere. As whether the criteria are fulfilled or not is a questions of facts and not something about faith and morals, i formed my own opinion, if and where this criteria are fulfilled. I concluded they are fulfilled in Germany. About other countries i can at best guess, so i have about many countries no definite opinion whether i agree or disagree with Pope Francis opinion about the facts on the ground.

        “Do you want to defend the DP?”

        In Germany, no. Regarding other countries i have – as i said – not sufficient knowledge, though i guess it is likely that the US should be able to drop DP soon.

        “Or do you want to argue with those who defend it?”

        I want to understand those who seem to defend the opinion, that somehow DP is not intrinsically evil and yet is due to Pope Francis teaching inadmissible in every corner of the world with absolute zero possibility for some Catholic disagreeing due to somewhere these “effective systems” not yet being available.

        It seems to me a position that however argued will contain a contradiction.

        And that is in my view so glaringly obvious, that i am a bit at a loss who people holding this position cannot see it.

        “contributing to the DP abolition (as FACTS) while you still argue about abstracts!”

        DP is abolished in Germany since decades. So there wouldn’t be much to do for me locally. Convincing people in other nations, e.g. the US, that either they already can abolish DP or could abolish it after some political changes, is not one of the things i am feeling called to do and i could not argue for other countries well that the criteria are met.

        That were less than 20 pages.

        Simple question for you:

        Presume that due to lack of effective systems, the only means available to stop a serial killer from escaping again and killing again a child with his father and mother watching is to execute that serial killer; DP then admissible or inadmissible?

        And i am interested to see whether you manage to answer the question, instead of arguing the premises.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        Since I don’t consider Pope Francis’ changing of the CCC abt. the DP *an opinion* open to debate among Catholics, my position rests in coherence with all my other previous comments.

        Regarding your hypothetical question (which I will address in a minute), I still see from it that you aren’t distinguishing (or discerning, if you will) the difference between Church and State and between Faith & Morals of Church Laws and Constitution Ethics in Laws and norms of a State. Since the Church teaches according to the will of God for the entire human race, it should be the task of the ENTIRE Church to promulgate His will to everyone, to react and offer correctives when humans laws and behaviors deviate from the right path, and, hence, to insist on changes.

        Apart from the assent of the faithful (which should be taken for granted), the above correctives to the seculars will still be on a basis of *proposing*, and not of *imposing*.

        An example for understanding the above mentioned differences could be made with, say, *stealing*: While for the Church it is a sin, for the State it is not, than just a simple breaking of the rules/law.
        Whereas it still remains a SIN, doesn’t it?

        Now your question:

        //Simple question for you:

        Presume that due to lack of effective systems, the only means available to stop a serial killer from escaping again and killing again a child with his father and mother watching is to execute that serial killer; DP then admissible or inadmissible?//

        //And i am interested to see whether you manage to answer the question, instead of arguing the premises.//

        First, it depends on what you understand by *inadmissible*. German says: “unzulässig/unstatthaft”, which should also mean: “improper”, “unacceptable”, thus “contrary”, “not in line with the Gospel”.

        Secondly, if that State USES the DP or not.
        Third, how much that State does care for what the Church says.

        Short answer: There is no compromise! The DP will remain *inadmissible* whether or not the execution takes place. The lack of effective systems does NOT justify the DP .

        Now some questions to you:

        What if it was you that should carry out the execution??

        What if it were you one of the parents of the child killed?

        Would only the DP satisfy your sense of Justice? Or would it be REVENGE instead of Justice?

        Any probability of forgiveness from you?

      • Avatar carn says:

        @ONG

        The distinction between Church/faithful and secular/state is of little relevance here cause – as you suggest by your questions yourself – a catholic might find himself into the position to carry out the law and of course also to vote on the law (as a parliamentarian or as voter) or to judge according to the law (as a judge).

        The moment something is inadmissible under any circumstances, this can put Catholics directly into the situation of what this means for their vote/other action influencing/deciding whether state uses DP or not.

        “The DP will remain *inadmissible*”

        Ok.

        Your position seems to be that for the present and all the future to come DP is to be treated as if it were intrinsically evil.

        “What if it was you that should carry out the execution??”

        I would carry out the execution that is to my knowledge and to the knowledge of the judge and to the knowledge of politicians the only available means to keep the serial killer from escaping again (in case you didn’t notice: this means already a second “round”; so killer murders a few children, gets caught, escapes due to lack of efficient system, murders again, gets caught again and the prison system is still as ineffective and one has to think now what to do with him and the law allows execution in severe cases) and murdering again a child with the mother and father watching.

        “What if it were you one of the parents of the child killed?”

        Then i should not be the one doing the execution due to personal involvement. I still would, if for some strange reasons no one else would be available.

        “Would only the DP satisfy your sense of Justice?”

        No; DP in the case as specified is according to best knowledge necessary to keep the serial killer from murdering again a child with the parents watching; for justice alone life imprisonment could also be sufficient. But keeping the serial killer from murdering again is also a duty of the state.

        “Or would it be REVENGE instead of Justice?”

        No, see above.

        “Any probability of forgiveness from you?”

        There is some probability of forgiveness.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @ carn

        You say:
        //The distinction between Church/faithful and secular/state is of little relevance here cause – as you suggest by your questions yourself – a catholic might find himself into the position to carry out the law and of course also to vote on the law (as a parliamentarian or as voter) or to judge according to the law (as a judge).//

        • Of extreme relevance instead!
        No human law can force a faithful Catholic to carry out something against his/her conscience.
        If TRUE Catholics TODAY are going to fully accept the new formulation of the CCC (which they ARE obligated to), that means they will STRONGLY combat a LAW that allows KILLING (in those countries that still have the DP)… even to the point of RESIGNING from their governmental office!

        //The moment something is inadmissible under any circumstances, this can put Catholics directly into the situation of what this means for their vote/other action influencing/deciding whether state uses DP or not.//

        See above ↑ – On the nuances of the term “inadmissible” see previous comment!

        //“The DP will remain *inadmissible*”

        Ok.//

        • Good!•

        //Your position seems to be that for the present and all the future to come DP is to be treated as if it were intrinsically evil.//

        •”Seems?” = definitely wrong perception! You cannot manipulate MY position as it pleases you!
        Please go read again the other WPI’s articles on the DP, and also Pedro Gabriel’s latest one (June 21) where *intrinsically evil* was taken up.•

        //“What if it was you that should carry out the execution??”
        I would carry out the execution that is to my knowledge and to the knowledge of the judge and to the knowledge of politicians the only available means to keep the serial killer from escaping again (in case you didn’t notice: this means already a second “round” so killer murders a few children, gets caught, escapes due to lack of efficient system, murders again, gets caught again and the prison system is still as ineffective and one has to think now what to do with him and the law allows execution in severe cases) and murdering again a child with the mother and father watching.//

        • Your reasoning is warped! A country in those conditions is still in a barbaric tribal situation to be called a country. It would fall outside the entire discussion of this post!
        Rather find ANOTHER job and voluntary occupation to best help the people living there.•

        //“What if it were you one of the parents of the child killed?”
        Then i should not be the one doing the execution due to personal involvement. I still would, if for some strange reasons no one else would be available.//

        • As already stated: It’s *your* conscience; not *mine*, not any one’s else! •

        //“Would only the DP satisfy your sense of Justice?”
        No; DP in the case as specified is according to best knowledge necessary to keep the serial killer from murdering again a child with the parents watching; for justice alone life imprisonment could also be sufficient. But keeping the serial killer from murdering again is also a duty of the state.//

        • Best knowledge? Of an *imaginary State* and *situation* you created in your mind and make yourself spokesman for? •

        //“Or would it be REVENGE instead of Justice?”
        No, see above.//

        • I’ve seen above! Not convincing! You cannot justify your conscientious responsibilities to an unjust law, by saying: “I just followed orders”. You yourself remain ACCOUNTABLE for your actions whatever that law says! •

        //“Any probability of forgiveness from you?”
        There is some probability of forgiveness.//

        • Good! Though still not convincing. Feelings fluctuate! You provide too many variables to be trusted! •

        CONCLUSION: Write shorter, delimit your concepts, and compress your essential points in less words as possible. Too long comments, esp. in chat form, cannot handle such serious questions as “life and dead”.
        Moreover, you, willingly or unwillingly *filter out* important elements in what has been commented to you earlier; including quotes, Bible verses, CCC, video clips, speeches, homilies, etc. Everything constitute a whole! (The deposit from where you takes your tools.)

        For a DIALOG to be DIALOG it must be HONEST. (It was taken up earlier.) A discussion, a conversation and a debate are different than DIALOG!

        One cannot manipulate the interaction / the exchanges, by leaving out parts of what it has been said on purpose, just because they would be inconvenient!

        In a chat form (as this) one can’t go back and forth, review and search for earlier comments, cut and paste again and again what is missing in the next line of reasoning, that was completely *forgotten* by the other part.

        *Listening carefully* to what the other says* (before replying!) has been repeated by Pope Francis for years! Latest in Naples, Italy, yesterday, June 21st. (Very important Convention for the future of theology!)

        Therefore, not to put everything in a “contextual whole”, will undoubtedly lead astray. Both thoughts and actions will not be in synch towards the same goal/target.

        I consider thus this one and our previous interactions as still fragmented, which cannot lead to one objective truth and to a reciprocal understanding.

        The TIPS of the icebergs DON’T constitute the WHOLE iceberg. One must go in depth!

      • Avatar carn says:

        @ONG

        As expected; i wrote: And i am interested to see whether you manage to answer the question, instead of arguing the premises.; and now you are arguing/bickering about the premises, e.g. “Of an *imaginary State* and *situation* you created in your mind…”

        “Of extreme relevance instead!
        No human law can force a faithful Catholic to carry out something …”

        Seriously? That is the point why looking at the law of the state is rather irrelevant; as catholics must adhere to what the Church teaches no matter what the state law is, the state law is rather irrelevant (mostly; some Church teaching requires respecting legitimate state law).

        “”Seems?” = definitely wrong perception! You cannot manipulate MY position as it pleases you!
        Please go read again the other WPI’s articles on the DP, and also Pedro Gabriel’s latest one (June 21) where *intrinsically evil* was taken up.”

        The wrong perception is on your side at least regarding what i wrote there. I did not claim that it seems your position is that DP is intrinsically evil. I claimed that it seems that your position is to treat DP from now on onward exactly as if it were intrinsically evil.

        That are two different things.

        “Your reasoning is warped! A country in those conditions is still in a barbaric tribal situation to be called a country. It would fall outside the entire discussion of this post!”

        Bickering about premises; whatever that country is or isn’t, if it is a country or not, is irrelevant for your answer to the question whether in such an area DP under the stated conditions would be inadmissible or not. Leaves me still uncertain, whether you actually answered the single question i asked you in the last post, in which i answered about 8+ of your question.

        Strange form of dialogue, in which i am to answer your questions and when you do answer mine, it is with such bickering about premises of question, that i am uncertain how your answer is to be understood. (to spell it out: if you rejected some premises of the question when answering, you did not answer the question with its premises, but answered another question)

        I’ll try again:

        Presume that due to lack of effective systems, the only means available to stop a serial killer from escaping again and killing again a child with his father and mother watching is to execute that serial killer; DP then admissible or inadmissible?

        You try “inadmissible” or “admissible” without any bickering that such a country does not exist, is outside the scope of discussion or whatever; or you just state that you are unwilling to answer the question.

        “I’ve seen above! Not convincing!”

        Why should i have to convince you of anything?

        You asked questions, i answered them honestly to the best of my abilities. Do whatever you want with those answers.

        “leaving out parts of what it has been said on purpose, just because they would be inconvenient!”

        I leave out replies to those parts i see no point commenting further. For example, everything you said about dialogue, listening carefully, etc. is pretty pointless to reply to, cause you are convinced that you do not fail in respect to these, while you are convinced that i fail there. It is actually the other way round, but no need to discuss that.

        “One must go in depth!”

        Of course one must. But i do not think i fail here to go deep enough.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        I already answered your questions. Reread what you left out.

      • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

        @ONG, @carn: I can sense that you’re both frustrated with this discussion, and for that reason I would kindly ask if you could remain calmer or otherwise depart as brothers, praying for each other. Unfortunately I am unable to follow the whole discussion and I’m afraid that it might become too heated without me noticing

      • Avatar carn says:

        @Pedro Gabriel

        You are right that there is nothing else to do but depart.

        @ONG

        Never mind; i do not get what you are saying and you do not get what i am saying.

  6. Avatar M. says:

    Thanks ONG, I am never sure where to find these things online and don’t have extensive library at home. I appreciate it. It doesn’t sound to me like the death penalty was ever a “doctrine” of the church that Pope Francis changed. It sounds to me like the Church has tolerated the death penalty and allowed it. That is quite different than defining the death penalty as some kind of infallible doctrine or something. So we have gone from tolerating the death penalty to no longer tolerating the death penalty…is that correct?

    • Avatar ONG says:

      @M.
      In EU we don’t have the DP, so it has always sounded strange to me how it could have been possible to execute people by death. In some states, I remember, it was only used in case of treachery against the state itself, but never for people’s crimes.
      These conventions might have to do with the *Declaration of Human Rights* of 1948, after WWII.
      It seems obvious that such extreme punishment belongs to a remote past, and in democratic societies of postwar civilization there should be no more use of it.
      Full worldwide abolition is supported by all humanitarian organizations regardless of religious Creed or affiliation.

      It’s rather disturbing to still hear people advocating for the DP by quoting from the Bible, as being God’s will even today. I have been in discussion groups earlier where they would even label anyone as *non-Christian*, and against the *word of God* itself, to both refuse and to abolish it.
      Go figure!
      Amnesty International, e.g., has been one of the most influencing for its abolition worldwide.

      Here is one recent article I had saved:

      https://www.amnestyusa.org/issues/death-penalty/

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Amnesty International”

        Amnesty has no claim to be a relevant human rights group since they started to support legalization of abortion up to birth with no limitation.

        But it is a fascinating pattern, that there is some overlap between abolishing DP and legalizing abortion; not seldom groups in favor of the first are in favor of the second and vice versa.

        There are of course exceptions – Pope Francis to be mentioned foremost – but it happens still too often to be coincidence.

        And that although it is in a sense really absurd to be fine with killing an unborn innocent and defenseless human being 1 or 2 months before it would be born, but be really worried about a brutal and cruel serial killer being killed after his crimes have been proven beyond any doubt.

        I neither find the position bizarre to be against both killings – like probably Pope Francis – nor to be against only killing the baby – cause at least the serial killer brought it upon himself and some severe punishment and some action to prevent him to commit further crimes are due.

        But make taxpayers pay for killing the baby, but being up in arms about killing the serial killer cause its supposedly such a severe human rights violation, is something that i simply cannot identify any intelligent thought behind.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn

        Are you trying to deviate from the Death Penalty into the abortion debate now?

        You should already know that Human Rights organizations don’t focus on the rights to live from conception, so what’s the point?

        Amnesty has focused on the rights of the women, even adolescents (not the baby) to have a “safe” abortion in extreme cases, violence, rape, etc., and where their life was in danger and they got denied abortion because it was 100% banned. With historical precedents like promoting illegal and unqualified abortionists where desperate mothers went to and couldn’t choose better. That is another ethical issue altogether which has nothing to do with THIS post. Each case has to be evaluated!

        The Church teaches that ALL LIFE is sacred, as it has been taken up in another post in connection with contraception, and that abortion is a CRIME.

        Stick to the Death Penalty topic. And besides, taxes will you always pay anyway! You can only complain against the prohibition of the liberty to choose!

        So I’ll leave you now with a paragraph from Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est:

        //The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.//

      • Avatar carn says:

        @ONG

        You used amnesty’s prestige as a human rights organization as argument against DP.

        Amnesty has lost all its prestige due to the reason i stated. Accordingly, your argument does not work.

        Amnesty being against DP carries not weight, just as amnesty being in favor woulnd’t carry any weight either.

      • Avatar ONG says:

        @carn
        NB: Due to no reply button, my new reply (June 21 at 4:36am) to your last comment on “Amnesty prestige” (June 20 at 4:47pm) ended under my previous excerpt from the Social Doctrine.

    • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

      M., the problem in part is that it wasn’t just seen as tolerated, but even lawful and a defense of the fifth commandment. Look up the catechism on the council of Trent for this. Other popes have spoken in defense of it as well, not simply by saying to “tolerate” it, but that under certain conditions, it is actually just.

      One could make a certain argument for the legal toleration of things we consider wrong ( like prostitution, or the milder drugs ), but the Church didn’t just do that.

      Having said that, I think DP defenders tend to make more of the pro-DP statements made by the Church than they should. Whenever the church approved of it, it always did so under the conditions of justice, the security of the people, and the restoration of moral order. Though JPII’s emphasis is different. (and I have a few questions about the arguments based solely on human dignity) , the actual substance of his conclusions isn’t actually all that different even from Trent.

  7. Avatar Mary Angelica says:

    Strangely enough, I have had qualms about eating blood because of Genetics 9:3-4, so this argument doesn’t quite help.

    I know that I may be disputing Florence on the following posts, but I’m doing so in search of clarification.

    Genesis 9:6 has read to me more like a descriptor and warning of what would happen if we kill others, not a sanction to execute… it’s like an old testament version of “he who loves by the sword shall die by the sword.” the passage for Romans has a bit more going for it.

    Keep in mind that the Genesis account of paradise involved only plants as food for humans, and animals as conpanions. The sanction is in some sense a concession in the midst of a fallen world. The problem I’m having with Florence is that unlike the ceremonial Mosaic laws, the prohibition against eating blood in Genesis seems to be have a moral, not a ceremonial justification. In the passage, God sanctions the eating of animals, but says that though you can eat them, you can’t drink their blood. and the reasoning it gives is that is in verse 5: “For I will require the blood of your lives at the hand of every beast, and at the hand of man, at the hand of every man, and of his brother, will I require the life of man.”

    Maybe I’m wrong here, but it sounds like this passage is there to curb the instinct towards a disregard for life. Because the life we have is granted to us by him, not eating the blood is there to give back to God, in some sense, what he has granted us, but to do so with respect. We’re have power over the flesh of animals, but not over the life itself.

    And considering the reason for the flood, this makes a lot of sense. God sent the flood to wipe out not just wickedness, but a very particular type described in Genesis 6 in the Hebrew as “hamas”, i.e., violence. And it attributed violence as not just happening between humans, but also on the whole of created life. The noahide laws sanction certain kinds of violence (i.e., the eating of animals) and acknowledge it will continue, but it also controls it. Hence, you can’t get away with killing people wantonly, because you’ll also get killed. Also, we will have the role of the rulers of creation and animals will fear us, but you can’t do whatever you wish with the animals you wish to eat either, because the true source of all of our lives is God.

    • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

      I do want to clarify that I’m not trying to cast doubt on the council, but I’m asking this to clarify some things, partially for myself.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      I am no exegete for sure, but my suspicion is that your interpretation, though instructive for us nowadays, and a possible way to help us grow in the faith, tends to project an anachronistic view into the biblical passage. Blood had a more charged meaning for ancient societies and that’s why ancient religions used blood in their rituals. I suspect this passage had more to do with that than about violence against creation.

      Also, I would like to point out that, even if God allowed Adam to eat the fruits of the garden and even if He gave the animals as companions (which were later not suitable, since they were not from the flesh and blood of Adam), it is not certain that people could not eat meat before the flood. Remember, Abel was a shepherd… why would he herd animals if not for eating? Also, he killed from his stock to sacrífice to God, so humans were already killing beasts before the flood, and in a way pleasing to God.

      In the end, we need to assert Florence’s authority to teach as it taught. But good insights, though.

      • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

        Hello Pedro, I can understand why the “care for creation” approach might seem anachronistic. There are two reasons why I think they are a part of the message. The first is that the covenant with Noah was a covenant with all of creation, and its stipulations directly deal with the relation between man and beast. The second is that the violence before the flood was presented as a kind of violence permeating through all of creation, not just mankind. I do not dispute that animals were lawfully killed before the flood ( though they would have been killed after the fall). You bring up Abel correctly…. what the narrative indicates is that the killing of life was spiraling out of control. One could imagine what sorts of questions or qualms Noah had about how to treat animals. After all, he was tasked with preserving two of each kind, in addition to seven pairs of the kind to be used for sacrifice. What sort of killing would be allowed? God gives the basic parameters for this as a guide for living in a fallen world. I do agree that there is something about how ancient religions viewed blood, and yes, there is a sacrificial component to the prohibition on eating blood, but I don’t think these two different aspects are unrelated, since the reasoning given later in Leviticus for regulations on blood is that “the life is in the blood.”

        Having said that, I think I was able to spot the source of my possible error, after a conversation with my also theologically inclined husband. Basically, the prohibition of eating blood may be related to a moral precept, but it has the nature of a positive rather than natural law. It functions in many ways like Church discipline on fasting functions. I think Florence hints at this, because it gives what one of the moral precepts needing to be protected was, namely to prepare and eat your food in thanksgiving.

        Now, I can see the effectiveness of such a law to teach regard for life. We recoil instinctively at the sight of blood, so much so that we as humans are inclined to sanitize unlawful killing as much as possible lest we see the horror of what we do. We also have this notion that cruelty to animals is a sort of gateway to cruelty to humans. To see the blood of the animal you kill for food definitely would have the effect of reminding you of the gravity of what you are doing, even though it is lawful, which should spur in us gratitude. But the point of said law is the underlying precept, not the way the precept is taught to us. As a result, it is something that is on the Noahide level of ceremonial law. Florence had sound reasoning, and I did not… I just had to think a bit more lol.

  8. Avatar ONG says:

    An interesting story of a lawyer and his wife in FL. He is now a lay chaplain in a death row and tells what he does and his experiences:

    https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-06/stories-dale-recinella-florida-united-states-death-row-chaplain.html