Categories

Archives

The Church and the Death Penalty ~ BENEATH THE SURFACE with PAUL MURANO

 

By: Paul Murano – August, 2018

Pope Francis has altered one section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to include the ‘inadmissibility’ of the death penalty. Many faithful Catholics are in a state of disorientation and confusion because it appears to them that the pope may have changed an essential doctrine of the Church. I believe these fears are unfounded.

First, it is the faith of Catholicism that the Holy Spirit keeps popes from teaching error on a matter of faith or morals when teaching ex cathedra (in his official authority from the chair of St. Peter). Dogmas and defined doctrines cannot be changed and what is intrinsically evil can never become good.

However, non-infallible teachings of the Church are subject to alteration due to historical circumstances or accumulated insight, which the Spirit who animates her assists in bringing to light. Capital punishment, in my fallible opinion, falls into this category.

The essential moral element on the death penalty is that the innocent must be protected by the state from unjust aggressors. This is natural law and unchangeable. Hence, if a society does not have the means to protect the innocent they may have recourse to the death penalty. How, when, or if it is administered is a matter of prudential judgment, which is circumstantial and changeable.

The development of this doctrine was first seen in Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, and later inserted into the CCC #2267. It read as the following:

“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 an unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority should limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with 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 definitively 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.”

Here we see John Paul II respecting the tradition that the death penalty, in theory, may be utilized if necessary to protect the innocent, while pointing out that in modern times these situations “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” It is from here that Pope Francis goes a little further. After recognizing the Church’s tradition on the death penalty, the new CCC #2267 now states:

“More effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens, but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption…Consequently, the Church teaches, in light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

Both popes seem to recognize four things: 1) When there is the way and means to keep the innocent safe without killing the criminal, capital punishment should not be considered. 2) Human dignity is not fully extinguished by committing evil heinous acts. 3) Opportunity for rehabilitation should accompany punishment. 4) All nations today should work toward creating the conditions that would make capital punishment unnecessary and illegal.
This teaching has not been met with open arms by all Catholics. Often there is a ‘heart’ problem that accompanies the intellectual disagreement. Being Christian means to be transformed from the inside out by divine life, and this can be measured by one’s response to this command of Christ: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44-45).

To get an indication of how many people have internalized this fundamental aspect of Christianity, mention the names of Hitler, Stalin, or if you’re in the presence of a liberal progressive, Trump. Speak of the rapist or murderer in prison, or the molester who attacked women or children. The vile in people’s hearts will quickly become exposed.

There is no question that the innocent must be protected from predators and other criminals, and that justice must be served. But hatred often reigns in our hearts to the point where it’s difficult to discern clearly and objectively what is the best action. Vengeance can easily be interpreted as justice. In this respect, those whose hearts are stuck in neutral with the vice of harboring anger or ‘getting even’ may be helped to spiritual growth by reflecting on the new version of the CCC #2267.

Relatedly, if the internal motivation is missing, there is the libertarian appeal: If you do not trust the government with lesser things, do you really trust it with life and death decisions? Especially in a post-Christian era when there is a vacuum of principles and confusion reigns under a dictatorship of relativism?

Ponder that a little.

muranoPaul Murano teaches college philosophy and theology and hosts Beneath the Surface radio show on WCAP. Its podcasts may be found on various cites throughout the internet. Paul has graduate degrees in philosophy and theology and is certified in health care ethics. He speaks on topics where faith and reason meet. He also plays at local venues as a solo singer-songwriter-musician. E-mail Paul at PJDM@aol.com

div style=”position: absolute; top: -19999px;left: -19999px;”>
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Smalltools
Streetfashion
Therecipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgil
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Smalltools
Streetfashion
Therecipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Smalltools
Streetfashion
Therecipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Smalltools
Streetfashion
Therecipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
Fitnessequipment
fitness
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motorcar
Realestate
technique
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
Bigdata
business
Fashionshow
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Streetfashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
Therecipe
tourism
travel
Fitnessequipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritiousfood
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classiccars
evaluation
technique
transact
business
Fashionmagazine
Fashionshow
Femalemodels
fitness
health
lifestyle
Smalltools
Therecipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motorcar
movies
music
news
Scienceandtechnology
tutorial
catering
health
Loseweight
outdoors
Reduceweight
science
stretch
training
Abadgirl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys

Paul Murano

Paul Murano

Dr. Paul Murano teaches philosophy at Rivier University and North Shore Community College and hosts Beneath the Surface radio show on 980 WCAP. Paul has a doctorate in marital theology, is certified in bioethics by the NCBC, and teaches adult ed. at St. Patrick's in Nashua. He is founder of Heartbeat Pregnancy Help in Burlington, and is a singer-songwriter-musician. E-mail Paul at PJDM@aol.com

More Posts

Leave a Reply