Will priests bring Pope Francis’ death penalty message to people in the pews?

Pope Francis delivers a blessing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia File)Pope Francis delivers a blessing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia File)

On Aug. 2, Pope Francis conclusively revised the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding capital punishment, stating that it is always wrong. He stated that the very limited circumstances previously held to permit the death penalty can no longer justify this “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”—there are no exceptions.

Bishops, nuns, religious order priests and Catholic social justice crusaders will rally behind the pope’s words and seek to ban executions in the one developed country that still permits them. But will parish priests and pastors act on the issue? Will the preachers in the pulpits transmit the message? Will the pastors exhort Catholic laypersons and their families in the pews at Sunday Mass to accept and support the new prescription? I have my doubts.

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Bishops, nuns, religious order priests and Catholic social justice crusaders will rally behind the pope’s words, but will parish priests and pastors act on the issue?

Consider St. John Paul II’s statement on the environment, “Peace with God The Creator, Peace with All of Creation,” delivered on New Year’s Day in 1990. While serving as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush, I had lobbied Pope John Paul in a private meeting in Castel Gandolfo to issue an encyclical making the case for protecting nature and natural systems. He did issue a strong proclamation, though not an encyclical.

Likewise, at a reception with President Bush at the White House in early 1989, I encouraged Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago, to issue a pastoral on the environment, as bishops in Germany, the Philippines and other countries had done. Later, he invited me to make the case at a conference of the U.S. bishops. The bishops did issue a pastoral, one fully as persuasive and distinguished as the bishops’ pastorals on poverty and on nuclear war. Both the pope’s and the bishops’ environmental proclamations sank into oblivion. I doubt most congregants have ever heard of them.

Both John Paul II’s and the bishops’ environmental proclamations sank into oblivion. I doubt most congregants have ever heard of them.

When I learned Pope Francis was preparing an encyclical on ecology two years ago, I handed him a letter at the Vatican relating the disappointing experience regarding communication of the previous papal exhortation on the environment and encouraged an extensive, widely disseminated grassroots campaign to publicize the message of “Laudato Si’.” I was concerned his message might fail to reach the average Catholic.

The Vatican did undertake a well-thought-out communication strategy, disseminating the message with publicity and summaries down to the diocesan level. Some bishops did respond. Pastors largely did not. In several years of listening to weekly Sunday sermons, I have yet to hear one in the parishes I have attended in Virginia, California or New York that presents the papal statements on creation or even mentions climate and the environment.

And although the church’s leadership on immigration and the care Catholic organizations provide for immigrants is exemplary, I have heard little about that issue from the pulpit. When I have asked pastors about it, they have explained that mention of the environment, climate change or immigration would risk turning off half the congregation. “It would be divisive,” one said. Another told me he gave very different sermons at his Anglo Masses than he delivered at his Spanish services, where he might speak about immigration issues.

How much more divisive would it be if parish priests were to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty, when pollsters report that a majority of U.S. Catholics support capital punishment? I cannot claim to know how much challenge churchgoers are prepared to accept from their parish priests or the degree to which unwelcome messages from the pulpit will turn Sunday Mass into a rancorous encounter.

But the U.S. church has led before, on labor relations and the rights of unions, on civil rights in the 1960s, at times in places where the cause was unpopular. And now, when climate prospects are dire and migrants are treated unconscionably at the borders, no doubt often by Christian immigration officers, and when scores of men sit on death row, the church has something to say; it has a well-formulated moral philosophy with practical applications. The people in the pews need to hear it. But first the pastors need to preach it.

 

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Monica DeAngelis
7 months 1 week ago

I think it's difficult to argue that Catholics who no longer take their moral cues from Rome on many issues, including contraception and same-sex marriage, are doing so with respect to capital punishment. They are, by and large, following their own counsel. Theoretically, those who do take their moral cues from Rome on such subjects should follow suit on issues like capital punishment, but that seems unlikely at the moment. Exactly how and what one preaches within such murky waters is a very good question, but I doubt our tired and embattled presbyterate is going to mount a crusade any time soon.

James Haraldson
7 months 1 week ago

How infantile to treat truth as a matter of taking a “cue” and to speak of one’s own “counsel” as though sinful human individuals do not live on a Mount Everest of self-delusion because of their sinfulness. Truth comes from humility before God, not from decision making processes.
Catholics who contracept are not Catholics anymore than a buffoon of a pope more in love with his global ego than moral truth, who can not comprehend the murderous damage he aids and abets by undermining the entirety of Catholic moral doctrine with his moronic, capricious insult to real human dignity, is really a Catholic or a pope. Pope Buffoon has told the world everything Catholics believe is made up as we go along and requires the input from Christianity hating mass murdering bigots to get right.
Neither is this self-important, prestige seeking author a Catholic.

Kester Ratcliff
7 months 1 week ago

Just for clarity, James, you are saying you refuse to be in communion with the pope and those who are in communion with the pope? Are you still formally participating in the Eucharist in a Catholic parish? Why?

I'm also curious why you're following a Jesuit periodical publication if you feel like that? how is getting that angry rewarding for you?

Phillip Stone
7 months 1 week ago

Pope Stephen VI (896–897), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, tried, de-fingered, briefly reburied, and thrown in the Tiber.[1]
Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.
Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048), who "sold" the Papacy.
Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who is lampooned in Dante's Divine Comedy
Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.[2]
Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), a Borgia, who was guilty of nepotism and whose unattended corpse swelled until it could barely fit in a coffin.[3]
Pope Leo X (1513–1521), a spendthrift member of the Medici family who once spent 1/7 of his predecessors' reserves on a single ceremony[4]
Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), also a Medici, whose power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany got Rome sacked.

Are you in communion with the above men, Kester?

Was St Paul wrong when he rebuked St Peter for backsliding in Judaism? Did Peter change after having his error challenged?

Mark Silverbird
7 months 1 week ago

Mr. Stone, very good point made to Kester! It is not about anger, it is about keeping the true faith in Jesus Christ's Catholic Church. There is such a thing as blind obedience, and there is such a thing as false faith. Many Catholics are on a slippery slope that is headed to hell, and this site that is promoted by Fr. Martin is on that slippery slope. The pro-lgbtq priests are on a path that is a god like unto himself, and if the laity and hierarchy do not see it, Catholic lay people will be lost to salvation. Being Prepared in a time like this is unlike all others, because faith has been perverted into evil as good and good as evil. I am a Catholic, but I do not follow this Pope's ways of thinking, because his ideas are far from being Catholic. His thoughts include LGBTQ, Euthanasia, Abortion and changes to Catholic doctrine that can only bring about a church of darkness over-run with church of darkness priests. I pray that this church of darkness leaves Rome. God bless you Mr. Stone for your wise comment

Christopher Lobb
7 months 1 week ago

Our link with Jesus isn't necsessarily the traditions of the Church, but the teaching of the Gospel. And the latter makes inarguably clear that killing (or 'executing') enemies is a serious violation of Jesus' express command to love them.

matthew padula
7 months 1 week ago

Loving your enemies is trying to get them to heaven. An obstinate sinner who never repents is not going to heaven. Thus to kill them would be no sin. It would just expedite the inevitable end. Plus Jesus was talking to his disciples. He would never interfere with the just killing of a condemned hopeless lost soul by people who weren't his disciples.

Phillip Stone
7 months 1 week ago

How about his express statement that certain sins against innocent children were so horrendous in the eyes of Jesus that it would have been better that the perpetrator not have been born and that the fit punishment would be to have a mill-stone fastened to the neck and cast into the depths of the sea?
That looks like an execution to me.

Michael Barberi
7 months 1 week ago

I agree with Monica.

I have heard "zero" in my parish in Charlotte on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation 'Amoris Latitia' (AL), the process of discernment for the possibility of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. On the other hand, my old parish in San Diego has embraced AL.

In my 50 years of attending weekly Mass in 3 States, about 99% of every homily is focused on the Gospel readings. Rarely, had I ever heard of a discussion on contraception, same sex marriage or how any parish or diocese plans to treat homosexuals with respect, dignity and sensitivity. The list goes on.

Every poll over the past 30 years tell us that Catholics use their informed consciences on most sexual ethical teachings and how to love and serve God and neighbor. The hierarchy has lost its credibility 50 years ago and it has dug a deeper hole for itself over the recent clergy sexual abuse scandals involving Bishops and Cardinals in the U.S., Ireland, Australia and Chile.

I seriously doubt I will hear anything about capital punishment. To be clear, I always was against it However, a lifetime in solitary confinement also violates human dignity.

Andrew Strada
7 months 1 week ago

"TOKYO, July 6 (Reuters) - Japan on Friday executed the leader and six members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that carried out a deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 13 people. "

Is Japan not a developed country?

Stefan Svilich
7 months 1 week ago

Good for them!

Stefan Svilich
7 months 1 week ago

We haven't heard a peep here in Virginia about Ted McCarrick abusing his position to abuse those underneath him; why should we expect anything on PF & the Death Penalty? Besides, we have death penalty here that works just fine, thank you very much. Another way to look at it: it's not so much a death penalty as an early opportunity for God to judge cop killers, murderers, etc.

William Guglielmi
7 months 1 week ago

I used to believe as you did but have, over the years, come to the conclusion that the death penalty is incompatible with democratic values. I came to this conclusion a couple of years before the Pope did. Pastors should preach about this change in doctrine but I feel they won’t in many cases because they are probably unwilling to talk about ‘controversial’ topics. Sad from my perspective.

Stefan Svilich
7 months 1 week ago

x

Paul Mclaughlin
7 months 1 week ago

hell, no they won’t. The clergy enjoy being the boss of their church. But they don’t want to offend folks in the pews who are pro-death penalty. I can’t even my pastor to talk about the Exhortation on the Family. He just had a psychotic episode after I reached out to members about serving on a committee to figure out how to bring it forth. We got into a huge shouting match after he unilaterally broke a commitment he made.

Szymon Moldenhawer
7 months 1 week ago

Yes they do not want offend pro death penalty folks but wait when was the last pro abortion pro euthanasia politician excomunicated.shun or exoriated by McCarrick? and a like.... cricktes in the end simple math 5000+ vs 54 000 000 which should we prioritize? Hm...? Indulge me in a sophistry same that was used by people like you to justify slavery 170 years ago.

Robert Lewis
7 months 1 week ago

Last Sunday's homily was about the finality of the pope's prohibition of the death penalty, and how it was as binding on Catholics as the Church's position on abortion. The pastor spent a great deal of time outlining how Pope Francis's delegitimizing of the death penalty was a logical development from the declarations of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. My parish is in Texas, the capital punishment capital of the nation, and the pastor also made it clear that the papal teaching will put Catholics into direct opposition to the position regarding this matter of many Texans.

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

Did he mention that Pope Francis also said....” Stop ISIS....I do not say bomb”. He is an idiot in matters of self defense. Obama had the planes bomb ISIS at the base of Sinjar Mt. and thus he saved the Yesidi men above from death and the women from rape. God wants us to recognize when a deficient human rises to the papacy as per several in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Wendy Posh
7 months 1 week ago

It seems Mr Reilly is not arguing from what is intrisitic evil and that death penalty has never been taught as an intristic evil. That a government or people have a right to self protection. Abortion is always an intrsintic evil. Mr Reily used an image of social warrior but in his public profile he says he voted for Hillary Clinton a pro abortionists with no limits. How can a Catholic take him serious or hinged to life and dignity. Full disclosure I did not vote for either candidate in 2016

Szymon Moldenhawer
7 months 1 week ago

Will priests bring message that you can never never vote for pro abortion candidate? Or that same sex marriage will never be sacramental? or whatever is politicaly incorrect? I doubt it.

William Guglielmi
7 months 1 week ago

Nor should they. They can, and should, preach what the Church teaches about abortion, the death penalty, same sex marriage, and other issues but should never tell one how to vote. Such action is not proper. We each have a conscious and should use it when determining how to vote. The clergy can, and should, help us to form our conscious but should never endorse or not endorse candidates. I am about to go out on a limb here but I would bet that many Catholics calling for the Church to liturgically punish pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage political figures would have a conniption if the same clergy recommended voting against a thrice married, serial misogynistic candidate or preached against the appointment of a woman who engaged in an adulterous affair as Ambassador to the Holy See. Just saying.

Szymon Moldenhawer
7 months 1 week ago

In Democracy it is always a choice between two evils but math makes it easy 54 000 000 million+ killed 5000+ killed. If you do not vote you voted for 54 000 000 million killed rest is sophistry

JOHN SHERIDAN
7 months 1 week ago

In my entire life in going to mass I have never encountered a single homily that ever mentioned any papal document at all.

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

Bill,
The difference is that in the death penalty issue, science was avoided as in deterrence studies. Popes respect scientists on the environment yes....death penalty...no. The people left in the pews know that three Popes effectively circumvented Romans 13:4 which not one of them mentioned on the death penalty....” for if you do evil, fear for not without purpose does the state carry the sword for it is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath ( God’s) on him who does evil.”. Three Popes dissented against God’s wrath taking place and pew sitters...the few left....know it. Three Popes were cafeteria on the Bible and many smell that dissent for what it is....a desparate attempt to be politically correct.
Christ in Mark 7:10 affirms a death penalty as the “ command of God”...three Popes implied that must be a defective pericope.

LuAnn O'Connell
7 months 1 week ago

When you look at the context of Mark 7:10, Jesus is citing a passage from Exodus to make a point to the Pharisees, not affirming the death penalty, And Romans 13:4 does not necessarily advocate death either but the state's role in dealing with wrongdoers; the overall message of the Gospel is one of mercy and forgiveness, as Pope Francis has rightly pointed out. The "science" of the death penalty seems to favor not using it as some innocent people have been executed, it's not shown to deter crime and the methods used are sometimes ineffective.

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

Nice try LuAnn...but Christ had a choice. He could pick a passage from Deuteronomy (27:16) that had no death penalty attached for not honoring one’s parents but simply a cursing which had gradations of penalty as in Gen.9:25. Or He could pick the severest choice...Lev.20:9...which He did. I guess Christ wasn’t thinking ahead to support Francis evolutionary theory on awareness of human dignity. Romans 13:4 was clear as a bell to everyone living prior to the Beatles.
Science...lol....the UN stats on the murder rates of all countries are at wiki by googling “ homicide by country”.
Non death penalty Catholic northern Latin America is the most murderous large region on earth. And Asia, death penalty dominant, is the safest...by UN numbers...a liberal organization. Brazil and Mexico have a combined c 80,000 murders a year...both no executions allowed. China with 3 times their population has c 11,000 murders a year. Drugs. China put an end to their drug problem precisely by being severe. Brazil and Mexico will have their drug problem forever...because they are twisted mercy liberals. Europe is second safest large area with no executions....Why?.... because she has few radically poor.
Latin America and Asia have millions upon millions of poor.

Robert Lewis
7 months 1 week ago

So aren't you actually saying that we have the death penalty as a substitute for social justice? What kind of "Christianity" is that? (The answer, of course, is that it is a form that is cherry-picked from the Old Testament, with no attention to the Beatitudes, or the general intentions of Jesus Christ, as revealed by His life and teachings. It is a heretical form, because it replaces the dialectic of the teaching tradition of that Church which is empowered to "bind and loose" with something set in stone, impervious to the guidance, through a time-space continuum, of a Holy Spirit. You need to realize that, if that is your notion of the Catholic Ecclesia, you actually belong in the Protestant fold.)

Phillip Stone
7 months 1 week ago

Laws are lessons to people on what will be viewed as wrong-doing sufficient to warrant punishment.
Punishment - nothing else - is what a sentence is. Deterrence is rubbish political nonsense, is not now and never has been relevant.

If we follow the argument to its logical conclusion - we have Ten Commandments, they have not deterred humankind from any of the evil they forbid so ... God should not punish anybody as they have not worked as deterrent?

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

Phillip...read the UN murder figures per country. Mild pervasive affluence deters murder....Europe, New Hampshire, Canada etc. Executions timely done where the very poor are in the tens of millions deters murders....China 11,000 murders per year despite having 1.4 billion people....non death penalty Brazil and Mexico have 70-80,000 murders a year despite having 1/3 China’s population. Japan with a death penalty is not relevant because she has no large radically poor so she would change little if she stopped executions.

Jim Petosa
7 months 1 week ago

I was with my family in their parish church in Northern Virginia. We heard an entire sermon about how Pope Francis loves to stir things up so that we can have important conversations about interesting topics, but that his comments on capital punishment are his opinion and have no doctrinal authority. He then went on at great length to talk about the "evil media'. In short, it was an appalling 15 minutes. Oh, the parish bulletin spoke about changes in the 12 noon Mass that would return to much of it being said in Latin. It implied that anyone in the parish who had an issue with that choice could feel free to go elsewhere. Sounds like a good plan.

Ann Reid
7 months 1 week ago

Of all the multiple opinions about the Faith, the ones I find most painful and alienating are the ones written by “pious” folk who identify themselves as “......holier than the Pope....” Jim. If and when you find that elsewhere, please post where you’ve found it. There are plenty of us who would travel a long way........

LuAnn O'Connell
7 months 1 week ago

The only social issue I heard from the pulpit in my ten years in the Catholic Church was abortion. The "cafeteria Catholicism" of the local priests and lay people makes them indistinguishable from their Protestant brethren while the vehement anger of those who diss the pope over the death penalty and other issues they disagree with is disheartening in light of the mercy and love of a God who would come to earth and die that we might know God's love and forgiveness. No wonder "sinners" are not attracted to the church like they were to Jesus.

matthew padula
7 months 1 week ago

He is not the Pope. He is not even Catholic. He's an antichrist bastard that should be put to death.

Steve Magnotta
7 months 1 week ago

Editors of America. Umm. I think some moderation on your part is in order here. It's one thing to tolerate breitbart/church militant type stuff, though I think you shouldn't, as it serves no useful purpose other than to illustrate the madness of our time. But the above is completely unacceptable. C'mon, this place needs some attention.

Mike Macrie
7 months 1 week ago

Nothing gets down to the Pew if it’s going to offend the Republican Party. Not even The American Conference of Bishops stand on Immigration, not a peep at the Pew. L

matthew padula
7 months 1 week ago

You're an offense to God and his Son.

E.Patrick Mosman
7 months 1 week ago

No doubt Pope Francis's statement on the death penalty was nothing more that a cynical attempt to displace the media's attention to keep ex-Cardinal McCarrick' abuse scandal off the front pages.
Also, Isn't the Old Testament still a part of Catholic teachings and God spoke to Moses after the flood

God’s Promise to Noah

9 God said to Noah and his sons:

I am giving you my blessing. Have a lot of children and grandchildren, so people will live everywhere on this earth. 2 All animals, birds, reptiles, and fish will be afraid of you. I have placed them under your control, 3 and I have given them to you for food. From now on, you may eat them, as well as the green plants that you have always eaten. 4 But life is in the blood, and you must not eat any meat that still has blood in it. 5-6 I created humans to be like me, and I will punish any animal or person that takes a human life. If an animal kills someone, that animal must die. And if a person takes the life of another, that person must be put to death.

Colin Jory
7 months 1 week ago

William Reilly is, unwittingly, watering down what the Pope has said when he states that he has decreed "that the very limited circumstances previously held to permit the death penalty can no longer justify this 'attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'." What the Pope has actually said is that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong -- which means that it has always been wrong in all circumstances -- but that social circumstances have hitherto blinded the Church to this, and have misled it into believing that capital punishment is not intrinsically wrong and can be justifiable in some circumstances. In short, the Pope is not merely making a prudential judgment as to how the Church's perennial doctrine regarding capital punishment applies in present circumstances; rather, he is decreeing that the perennial doctrine is wrong and has perennially been wrong. Does any Pope have the sacral authority to do decide thus?

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

If that’s true, Francis should be placed under house arrest. God removed Saul from the kingship of Israel for NOT executing Agag, the leader of the Amalekites...as he was told to do.

William Bannon
7 months 1 week ago

Popes are now cafeteria Catholics as to such passages.

Christopher Lochner
7 months 1 week ago

Parish priests live in the world and are well aware of reality as opposed to Francis who lives in the ivory tower. Again, Francis does not stop with the death penalty as he is opposed to life without parole, life, long sentences, solitary confinement etc. No sin and no punishment as Mercy is a heckuva way to actually run the world.

Colin Jory
7 months 1 week ago

William Reilly is, unwittingly, watering down what the Pope has said when he states that he has decreed "that the very limited circumstances previously held to permit the death penalty can no longer justify this 'attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'." What the Pope has actually said is that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong -- which means that it has always been wrong in all circumstances -- but that social circumstances have hitherto blinded the Church to this, and have misled it into believing that capital punishment is not intrinsically wrong and can be justifiable in some circumstances. In short, the Pope is not merely making a prudential judgment as to how the Church's perennial doctrine regarding capital punishment applies in present circumstances; rather, he is decreeing that the perennial doctrine is wrong and has perennially been wrong. Does any Pope have the sacral authority to do decide thus?

Peter Schwimer
7 months 1 week ago

Pastors are generally afraid to speak on anything that even vaguely hints of a political issue except of course abortion. The Pope's teachings are as though they never happened.

John Wakefield
7 months 1 week ago

The Catholic Church, taking its archetypical clues from Jesus, proclaims life, that it be lived & more abundantly. In keeping with/in being one in spirit with life, with living, the Catholic Church cannot parse the thing down to moments when it is ok to kill life. I feel this thing drifting over to Buddhism, which has certainly informed Jesus´ thinking. You want to argue that, go ahead - but the point is: or we are for life, yes; or, we are for life, with exceptions.

When met with heinous crime of which in our not-so-United-States there is plenty, our life belief takes a real thrashing. It is hard to get past wanting to kill/inject/off the bastard. However, and isn´t it in John´s writing? .. those moments when he could squeek up out of his jail cubicle on Patmos .. wasn´t it in there about not aligning with the hater/the killer .. in other words: don´t do more.

The taste in one´s mouth in following the prescription of life and more life and not killing is not an easy one. It´s called the moral high road, never easy.

About the parish priests who won´t touch controversial subjects with a ten foot pole .. the hell with ´em! The Catholic Church has to stand up in the name of love and just what it might mean ... this is very radical. Americans are the most spoiled brats in the world and part of the spoilage means they don´t go deeply into thinking about anything. They go to the white sale.

Ken Rothacker
7 months 1 week ago

It is irrelevant whether the laity support the policy or not, as it affects only those Catholics with the authority to impose capital punishment: governors, judges, prosecutors, and executioners. And I am curious why non-Catholics like Dennis Prager are troubled by the change. Does the Jewish faith still sanction stoning? This reaction is typical of people who think that a faith is contained in an immutable book.

Jaroslav Lunda
7 months 1 week ago

It is not particularly clever even for "Bishops, nuns, religious order priests and Catholic social justice crusaders" to doing New York Times stuff. It is quite like bus driver selling ice cream instead of driving the bus.

Vincent Gaglione
7 months 1 week ago

Thank you, America, for publishing this piece. Thank you, Mr. Reilly, for writing it and stating the obvious, at least to any thinking Catholic in the nation.

Forgive my cynicism, but two weeks from now, probably less, this call to Bishops and pastors will vanish from attention, and we will be left with more of the same old pap and drivel that substitutes for teaching from our pulpits and church bulletins.

Claire Wilson
7 months 1 week ago

1. The Catholic Church has justified capital punishment in some instances, going back to the early Church. Teachings of the doctors and fathers of the Church support this fact. I fail to see how any pope can reverse this, based on a belief that "human dignity" is somehow divorced from an individual's thoughts and actions, or that a life in prison for heinous crimes - a life often filled with despair, suicidal thoughts, and violence - REAFFIRMS human dignity.

2. The pope can tell Catholics what to do, yet individual Catholics do not mete out capital punishment. STATES and NATIONS do, in the name of the people, and Catholics who are employed by states that make use of capital punishment will apparently (in the pope's mind) have to "choose".

3. What of national defense using firearms? Soldiers in battle kill in the name of the state. How does human dignity factor into that? What of self defense, when we might kill a person attacking our child? What of police forces? If the pope agrees that nations and individuals have a right to kill under certain circumstances, despite the "human dignity" of the Taliban soldier who just blew up 200 people in a mosque, or the "human dignity" of the serial killer who has a razor blade to their daughter's throat, then why shouldn't the state, after the fact, even if no imminent threat exists?

"No capital punishment" is a feel good, fuzzy-warm notion. Christ Himself, according to Church teachings, and as I learnt from the research into death penalty, WILLINGLY allowed Himself to be crucified and killed, thereby AIDING AND ABETTING capital punishment, even if His own. He also said, "Render to Caesar (the state) what is his."

Mike Fitzpatrick
7 months 1 week ago

I find it odd that in my parish during the intercessions they pray for respect for life at all stages and abolishment of the death penalty. No abolishment of abortion? Just respect while they are being performed?

John Chuchman
7 months 1 week ago

Most priests think their homilies should not alienate any donating pew-sitters, strive to make them all feel comfy cozy with their Parish.

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