Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two Cardinals Declare Magisterium Wrong
Along with 2,000 years of Church Teaching

I've discussed the death penalty many a time on this blog. I've made no bones that I adhere to what The Church teaches concerning the death penalty. If anyone wants to personally be against the death penalty... fine. Just don't tell me that I'm in a state of sin for adhering to what The Church has always taught since Day One.

Here's some of the article from The California Catholic Daily; (Emphasis mine) “No state can legally claim the right to kill”
Strong words from an archbishop over fate of Mexican citizens convicted of murder and now on death row in U.S.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City, comparing the death penalty to abortion, has condemned a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting a 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering the United States to reconsider the death sentences for 51 Mexican citizens.

Voting 6-3 on March 25, the Supreme Court decided that U.S. courts are not obliged to follow rulings by the International Court, and that President George W. Bush exceeded his authority by ordering the state of Texas to reopen the case of José Ernerto Medellín, a Mexican citizen sentenced to death.

Medellin, who entered the U.S. without proper documents, was convicted of participating in the gang rape and killings 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena and 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman on June 24, 1993, when he was an 18-year-old Houston gang member. The girls had left a friend’s apartment and were on their way home when they encountered the “Black and White Gang,” of which Medellin was a member. Each girl was repeatedly raped by the gang for an hour, then beaten, strangled and kicked to death. A jury concluded that Medellin had raped both girls, and helped to murder at least one by holding one end of a shoelace used to strangle her. He was subsequently sentenced to death and, at 33, is currently awaiting execution in Texas.

“Certainly it is the obligation of human justice to enforce law over those who have committed a crime, but no state can legally claim the right to kill a human being, neither inside his mother’s womb, nor through the ever more controversial and repudiated death penalty,” said an editorial in the March 30 edition of Desde la Fe (“From the Faith”), the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
Hmmm.... abortion is intrinsically evil. The death penalty is a just punishment that Catholicism has ALWAYS said is a morally correct option in certain circumstances. You'd think a cardinal would know that.

Then we have this interesting news item from CardinalRating.com; (Emphasis mine)
Cardinal calls overturned death sentence in U.S. victory for life

A U.S. appeals court decision to overturn the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of killing a police officer in 1981, is a victory for human life, said Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

VATICAN CITY (CNS, 03-28-2008) -- A panel of judges from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld Abu-Jamal's murder conviction March 27, but also upheld a lower court ruling vacating his death sentence.

In an interview published on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 28, Cardinal Martino said: "Justice is not accomplished by punishing with another crime. For this reason, every death sentence not carried out is a victory for man and for life."
Interesting. What the official teaching of The Church has declared to be legitimate, this individual states is "a crime". Funny, I didn't read a whole helluva lot from the good Cardinal about his concern for the family of the murdered police officer... did you?

By the way, if there's any question as to why I support the DP, here's why;

#2267 of the Catechism: “IF non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means. ...” (emphasis mine).

Umm... that's a mighty big "IF". Just what IF non-lethal mean AREN'T sufficient to defend and protect the public?

#2266: Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense.

Did anyone else notice the word "proportionate"? Lemme see - if I take an innocent person's life, that means that most certainly can have my... well, I'm sure you can see the obvious here. I don't think I have to spell it out.

#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. By the way, that "traditional teaching" has been around for.... what was it I said before?... oh, yeah - 2,000 years.

Even though there are very narrow parameters, The Church does declare the DP to be legit. but two of our Princes call it a crime and/or compare it to abortion?

As I've said before, the anti-death penalty under ALL circumstances mentality is more in line with the secular and atheistic Age of Enlightenment, than it is with Sacred Scriptures or the writings of Sts. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas.

15 Comments:

Blogger Al said...

Cardinal Martino, no surprize, I doubt if he knows what the Church really teaches. He may have seen the Catechism but I doubt he's read it, unless it was to criticize it where it varies from what he sees as true.

1 of my favorite (bizarro) reactions ro standing up for what the Church really teaches came about when I told someone that what they were pushing went against the teachings of the Catholic Church as found in the Catechism. She replied: "That's not what the Church's social teaching says." I looked at her & said pointblank that the 2 would never disagree. (& since the Vatican came out with it's Compendium on Social Doctrine, I now have to tool to prove I'm right.)

Remember the reaction when the Catechism was 1st announced. Bishops, etc of the same ilk as these 2 said we didn't need it. Comments like this show exactly why we do. & why it should be required reading with an exam that must be passed 100% before anyone is made a deacon, priest or bishop.

I can & will debate whether a specific situation meets the criteria to be a justifiable execution. (Both sides) & even though I would prefer it to not be used, he Church HAS said it can. Thus, I will NEVER EVER make a statement like these 2 bishops.

ROME HAS SPOKEN!
THAT SETTLES IT!!!

6:54 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Yeah, I can totally see how a cold-blooded murderer is as innocent (if not more so) than an unborn child.

We have people who criticize lethal injection in criminals, but have no objections to the *very same* substances being used in abortions.

What a sick, sick world.

Now, I'm all for a judicial and prudent application of the death penalty, and that it's warranted only in cases in accordance with the CCC.

But for those who think abortion is no big deal, talk to me about the death penalty after we stop sentencing 1.3 million innocent human souls to execution for the "crime" of being unplanned.

2:27 PM  
Blogger KitBrookside said...

Amen, Cavey - we briefcase carrier types always tell juries it's a penalty reserved for the worst of the worst, and that's pretty much what the CCC says...but then you have a whole universe within that narrow field debating what "worst" is. These types, not surprisingly, also tend to be the kind who wonder what the meaning of "is" is.

Slightly off-topic, I hope you caught the CMH ceremony today - I posted on it. Very touching. RIP, PO Monsoor.

Back to topic...

...and then we have pukes like Medellin and MUMIA (don't get me started) who live on, at the expense of our government's time and treasure. Every time I see the MUMIA protestors with their Che-like posters - cop killers being heroes, naturally - I want to scream. They'd never carry posters of heroes like Monsoor, unless as a mockery and desecreation of his selflessness and sacrifice.

4:05 PM  
Blogger PreVat2 said...

As a Traditional Roman Catholic, have always believed in the death penalty, the same as 2,000 years of Catholic teaching has taught. The only difference between me and Holy Mother Church, is that I believe some people deserve the death penalty really, really slowly. But hey, that's just me!

Semper Fi

5:58 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

As a Navy SEAL of my acquainance has been known to say, "Some people just need killing." I concur and the death penalty is one way to rid society of the rabid animals that prey on the innocent.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Mary Rose said...

Your blog is on my list, now. I love the spirit of it!

After reading this entry, I am reminded of how often those who are of a more liberal approach think that we can somehow negotiate with evil. We can't.

An unborn baby hasn't even been given the opportunity to make a choice in life. These animals who kill innocent strangers for no reason other than "fun" has made, societal-wise, a very bad choice. If society allows such behavior, then it only will get worse.

Within our Catholic faith, there are consequences for our actions. Isn't it rather morally irresponsible to not hold accountable those who have broken the law - especially when talking about murder?

If I were able to talk to these Bishops, I'd be very interested on what their teachings are regarding morality. Why do I get the impression they'd be understanding of pre-marital sex and living together as long as the two involved "loved each other?"

8:39 PM  
Blogger KitBrookside said...

F.A.B. - I was a bit disappointed in law school when they told me there's no such thing as "justifiable homicide."

;-)

(No kidding - I was debating vigilante justice cases where parents kill their child's rapist or murderer...voluntary manslaughter)

10:26 PM  
Blogger HappyCamper said...

That is an old Texas line. When the cowboy went before the judge for shooting a man, he said "But Judge. He needed killin'" And the judge said "Oh why didn't you say so? Case dismissed!"

I hope it isn't a sin for having a mental list of those who need killin'.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I'm of the opinion that the situation called to use the death penalty are few and far between.

Just because someone kills someone doesn't mean that it's right to kill them in return.

If the DP can be avoided, let's avoid it.

This situation, he's not a violent agressor...and again, that this situation is only justified if it's the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO DEFEND HUMAN LIVES AGAINST THE AGGRESSOR.

I believe that this is the point that HE was trying to go off of.

Is this perosn doing this kind of behavior now? I normally agree with everything that's said...I'll research and come back. How the traditional Church teaching applies here, I've yet to swallow

7:26 PM  
Blogger KitBrookside said...

I'm all for some good Ol' Testament-y smiting. Sadly, it is done in the wrong order in cases like these...

9:13 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I'm of the opinion that the situation called to use the death penalty are few and far between.

Just because someone kills someone doesn't mean that it's right to kill them in return.


Yes, Joe. The DP is suppose to be "few and far between". Like for those who sexually torture little girls to death, etc. Considering the hundreds of thousands of violent criminals in the prison system today, a few thousand executions would most certainly qualify as "few".

But as far as the "right" to kill someone... well, the catechism and the 2,000 year history of The Church tells us that a legitimate govt most certainly does have that right.

Even Christ said something about millstones being tied around necks, right?

Also, don't forget that the DP is also expiation of sin.

Thanks for posting, Joe. You know your input is ALWAYS welcome here, even if I may not agree with you sometimes!! *insert evil grin here*

6:48 AM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

::semi-evil laugh::

absolutely right VSC, I'm not arguing in the sense that they don't have the right (as Scripture and Tradition say that they do)

As I like to say, if someone beats you up, does it mean that you have the right to beat them up? sure you have the right to do so, however does it mean that you should use it? If this person's being a danger to the society as a whole, then absolutely.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

If someone were to assault me, I in turn, would defend myself with equal or greater vigor than the initial criminal attack.

If someone so desrires to look upon me defending myself as me "beating up" the attacker, then so be it.

I just know this --- as a look down on the beaten and bloodied thug who committed a crime against me, he got what he deserved.

And I can guarentee you this... he won't be attacking me again.

Ever.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Kasia said...

Mr. Caveman, you know I love you. But may I please point out the entirety of Section 2267 of the Catechism?

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."


(My emphasis on that last part.)

I agree - and the Church does teach - that the DP can be morally permissible. And I think Cdl. Martino overstated his case - I don't think it's right to call using the DP a "crime" in the way he did (though of course I suppose there may have been a nuance in the original that got lost in translation?).

But per that last paragraph, it sounds to me like the Church is saying that the DP should be a seriously last-ditch resort. Someone told me recently about something in St. Faustina's diary, when she asked Jesus why He didn't simply destroy the evil men in the world. He replied something to the effect of: "I will have all eternity to punish them; and if you knew how long that is, you would understand why I hold back."

In other words, He wants all sinners to have every possible opportunity to repent. I think that's a big part of why the Church is so circumspect in Her acceptance of the DP.

(And for the record, I absolutely want to smack people who try to equate the DP with abortion. SO, SO not analagous!!!)

5:48 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Kasia, myt friend,
A couple of things... those 3 paragraphs you've cited that a cople of "if's" big enough to drive a Mac truck through! Just what "IF" non-lethan means aren't sufficient?

Also, I know the CCC inderectly points the the USA as having an ever so modern penal sysytem, and the DP wouldn't be needed, but as someone who has worked in prisons, I can tell you that there is plenty of rape and murder that takes place behind bars. So even though someones been incarcerated, they can still committ horrible and evil acts.

Lastly, again, looking at modern America, many say the DP is unneeded.... but what about in some backwards 3d World country? Is it warrented there? The point I'm getting at, is sin now geographic?

6:00 AM  

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