Pope Changes Teaching On Death Penalty – Exceeds Papal Authority…

From Rorate Caeli… 

What was black is now white: Pope “changes Catechism” to declare death penalty “inadmissible in all cases”.

The Church was wrong in a major issue literally of life and death.

Is the Pope a kind of “Prophet”, as the “First President” of the Mormons, receiving new teachings that contradict completely teachings that the Magisterium had taught since Apostolic Times?

That is what seems to come from the “alteration” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church of 1992 promoted by the current Pope and published today:

The Supreme Pontiff Francis, in an audience granted on May 11, 2018, to the undersigned Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has approved the following new text of the n. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ordering its translation in the various languages and inserted in all editions of the mentioned Catechism:

The death penalty

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, 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 the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

_______________________

[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.

The anachronistic boldness in this decision is astounding: what is merely a modern view of a secularized Europe becomes a completely new teaching, without even the consideration that the current situation of the world will remain the same for all time — as if the secular European present of stable peace would remain forever the same, as if what was common in the past and since the dawn of time would never be possible anymore. The boldness of a personal opinion becoming a completely new and unprecedented “teaching” of the Church.

If such a certain doctrine of the Church (of the possibility of the death penalty at least in some situations), affirmed by Christ Himself in Scripture — when, confronted by Pilate who affirmed his right to inflict capital punishment, told him, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above”, affirming that it is a power granted to the State in its authority, even if, as all governmental powers, it can be exercised illegitimately and unjustly — can be changed, then anything can be changed. A “development” of doctrine may bring about anything: from the end of the “intrinsic disordered” nature of homosexuality to the priestly ordination of women, from the possibility of contraception in “some” cases to the acceptance of the Lutheran understanding of the Real Presence in the Eucharist as a possible interpretation of what the Church has always believed — and so on.

The current Pope has far exceeded his authority: his authority is to guard and protect the doctrine that was received from Christ and the Apostles, not to alter it according to his personal views. [Ed: emphasis added]

We are reaping the rewards of an unchecked hyper-clericalism: the same hyper-clericalism that allowed for abuses of people like Theodore McCarrick to go ignored and unpunished and now allows for the recklessness of the alteration of established doctrine received from Christ and the Apostles.  Ends.

Update: If it were possible to have an even more ridiculous excuse for this change, it comes from the “Letter to Bishops” by Cardinal Ladaria, the CDF prefect:

10. The new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.

That is absolutely ridiculous, and a shameful and pathetic excuse: the Catechism is not a lobbying tool to modify laws: it is supposed to be a collection of the everlasting teachings of the Church.  Source – Rorate Caeli

Comment: 

What should happen now?  Is there anything that the rest of the upper hierarchy can do?  What about Catholics in the USA and other countries where the death penalty is permitted – are they now duty bound to work for its elimination?  Do they commit a sin if they refuse to do so and, instead, adhere to the traditional belief that the State is permitted to use the death penalty in certain cases? If it’s a sin, at what level? Venial? Mortal? What then?  And what about other teachings in the Catechism? Do we watch, even more closely, for this Pope’s personal opinion on this or that issue, in order to prepare ourselves for the next new teaching?  

53 responses

  1. Francis is a loose cannon. I can’t comment on a Pope exceeding his authority, but I can note that Francis is doing precisely what he was elected to do: create anarchy within the Church and legitimize the homosexual death-style. Therefore the “upper hierarchy” will do nothing, with a pathetically tiny handful of exceptions, because it seems most of them desire this very state of things. And if there are those who do not desire this, they are too cowardly to speak out against it.

    It will be interesting to see if Bishop Schneider responds to this (I just posted his comments on the LGBT phenomenon). And it would be really interesting if this provokes an open revolt among the clergy, as the McCarrick-Farrell-Wuerl scandal is provoking an open revolt among the laity.

  2. This is really laughable stuff about attacks on the dignity etc of the person, coming from a pope who says nothing about the murder of babies, even when that was being campaigned for in Catholic countries like Ireland and his own Argentina. So, he’s worried about the dignity of the person found guilty of heinous crimes such as mass murder, but not victims of mass murder, whether the already born or the pre-born. He’s not got the clearest mind in the world, has he?

    • Unfortunately MMary this Humble of Men knows exactly what he’s doing and has been since he stood on the Balcony of St Peters. His Humility shines through at every statement he reads ( I jest of Course ) out O for a silent order for him to go to . I used to hope for a Month then it was a Week now even a day would be a blessing. He does what he has always done and that is Sow Chaos and Confusion. As you said not One Word came from him on Irelands Abortion Referendum and you can be sure that when he goes there in a couple of Weeks the great and the not so good like Senator Noone and Mrs or Ms McAleese with her Son and his so called Husband will be there on the Platform with all the other Abortion Supporters waiting to be lauded as the Great and the Good . God Help Us . We now have a Pope who thinks he knows better than Thomas Aquines. The Mans a Legend.

  3. When praying this prayer and hearing the words, “holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

    Since Francis deceives even the elect I would judge him not even Catholic, the Vicar Christ’s representive on earth must be a member of the Church founded by Christ. Not to fear we still have the Papacy, the Office and all the teachings of past Vicars. Jesus Christ is the head and always has been in heaven.
    O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
    .

    • MyForever77,

      On this blog we never question the validity of this pope’s election because that is not for us to decide, but we do know that he is the worst ever pope.

      I do admire your faith in Holy Church, though, that is something we should all learn from.

  4. Perhaps this sudden change should have come from a Synod or better still An Ecumenical Council …Also suggesting the required alternative-deterrants….as Trial, conviction and penalizing for criminal acts is considered to be rested on Human Authorities duly established….

    • William Barrocas,

      Or maybe it should not have come at all, this sudden change.

      If Our Lord, who suffered the death penalty, did not criticise it or castigate the Romans for allowing it, who is Pope Francis to decide that it is wrong in all circumstances?

      He is such a conceited man, sorry, but that is my genuine opinion, and such a self-centred person that he wants everything his own way, even to the point of eliminating permitted choices for national governments! He can’t wipe out two thousand years of history with an amendment to the Catechism. So arrogant, is he, to even think of doing that.

      I don’t think anyone will rise up to oppose this – I think it will just be ignored. I certainly hope so.

  5. I’ve been trying to formulate a response that doesn’t question the validity of this pontificate, in keeping with the house rules. It’s been very difficult.

    I read a commentary earlier that said Pope Francis has nothing to base this change on other than his own opinion. Goodness, so much for his humility! He’s anything but !

    • Petrus,

      Hear, hear. I totally agree with your every word. It’s just a pity about those house rules, LOL! Kidding Editor, I get the point, honest!

    • Never was . The only time you saw Francis Humility was when he wanted it to be shown at least that’s what I think. But then again who am I to Judge. Maybe that’s his next step to do away with Judges. One can now see more Lawyers of Murderer’s Rapists Theives and Reprobates becoming Catholics. At least for their trial . A little bit like the Killing of Kate Steiner when the repeat offender who was an Illegal Immigrant said he didn’t know that it was a Gun when he pulled the Trigger.

    • You obviously do have a problem with the validity of the Pope, so at least have the conviction to say so. you deride his every word, his every doing, so why avoid the question of his validity of office?

      • If what he said was the Job for what he was elected for fine . He was not Elected although am sure he and George Soros would maybe deny it to be a Politician .
        I don’t know if your a Catholic or not but even the most Liberal of Catholics know that One even if there a Pope be Tinkering with the Ten Commandments. None of us on here are Saints or profess to be so . He talks on things that Doctors of the Church have made Dogma he is what One would call a Thoughrly Modernist Man who wants to change things for the sake as far as most on here are confidential for Confusion. I take it you know who the Grandmaster of Chaos and Confusing is.

      • Dano,

        Yes, I see this contradiction too. It arises a lot with people who hold the SSPX position. The problem is that we have a pope but ignore everything he says unless we think it fits in with what we think Catholic Tradition is. We can judge for ourselves what is consistent with Catholic Tradition, so it makes one wonder why we even need a pope in the first place.

        Either capital punishment is in line with the teaching of the Church or it is not. That applies to all generations in all time periods. It can’t suddenly become wrong because it’s not popular with the modern man in this day and age. If capital punishment is wrong, then it has always been wrong and the Church erred in telling us that it was right. Consequently, this leads to the question of whether or not we can believe the Church today, because if a pope today tells us something that contradicts his predecessors, then the entire Church loses any credibility. Either he is wrong and his predecessors were right, or the whole Catholic Faith can be dismissed as garbage.

        • Alex F,

          I do not see the connection with the “people who hold the SSPX position” (whatever that may be)

          What has this change in the Catechism got to do with attending an SSPX Mass?

          You’ve lost me – especially since the outcry about this change in teaching about capital punishment isn’t coming from the SSPX but from Catholics the world over. To date, I’ve not seen a single statement from the SSPX (lamentably).

          • Editor,

            This is a problem because it signals a change in Church teaching, (just like Amoris Laetitia) so obviously we have to ask about the validity of Francis as pope or accept that the change is consistent with the Tradition of the Church. It’s one or the other. The SSPX position (Recognise and Resist) is not consistent and does not stand up to scrutiny. That is as much as I shall say on the matter because I do not want to break the rules of this blog. However, we have to accept that closing down the discussion in one forum will not stop people from asking questions.

            • Alex,

              No, it’s not one or the other. The issue of Francis’ validity refers to the validity of his election, and he was accepted by the Universal Church as a validly elected Pope in 2013. If the Church rules later that his election was invalid (because of, say, the actions of the St. Gallen Mafia, Theodore McCarrick, et. al), so much the better – but that is for the Church to decide, not us, nor the SSPX, nor anyone else except a Council.

              The issue of the heresies which Francis has cunningly injected into the Church has nothing to do with his validity – though it may well be a sign that he is an imposter. But again, that is for the Church to rule on, through a Council, wherein he is tried and condemned (if he refuses to retract his heresies).

              There are a lot of people (Louie Verrecchio comes to mind) who mistakenly think that Francis has deposed himself because of his heresies. A Pope cannot “depose himself” – he is entitled to a trial and a judgement by a Council, who will depose him if he is found guilty and refuses to recant. If you have not yet read True or False Pope, that excellent book lays out the procedure for a trial and deposition of a Pope, drawing from the opinions of major theologians.

              In sum, a Council, if it is ever called, has two issues to rule on: whether Francis is a formal heretic, and whether his election was valid. But heresies do not automatically equal invalidity.

              There are also a lot of people who are calling Francis an “anti-Pope.” It cannot be denied that Francis is betraying the Church, but would those same people call Judas an “anti-Apostle” because he betrayed Our Lord?

              Our Lord was betrayed from within; therefore His Mystical Body must also be betrayed from within.

              • RCA Victor,

                Many thanks for that very clear answer to Alex. I had seen his comment earlier, had no time to respond at the time, and have just come in to do so now, but you’ve made a far better job of it than I – or moi – would have done. So, thank you for that. There really is always something for which to be thankful.

  6. The general consensus amongst orthodox commentators is that Francis has indeed exceeded his authority. But here’s one commentator that nails the reason behind this scandal:

    “Make no mistake, the Vatican launched this smoke bomb this week for a reason. (It was actually decided months ago.) To get the world’s liberal activists’ attention. This sends the memo: “Don’t talk about all those molested boys. Talk about this instead!” As even Salon has noticed, it’s a bright shiny handkerchief in the magician’s hand, distracting us from all the sickening sin and corruption. From the fact that the priesthood itself is danger of seeming like a homosexual cult. (Also from the law permitting abortion about to pass in Francis’ native Argentina, about which he has been comparatively silent.)”

    https://stream.org/pope-francis-exceeded-authoritypope-francis-has-exceeded-his-authority-death-penalty/

  7. Hold fast to Tradition: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thes 2:14) St. Vincent of Lerins said: “When a foulness invades the whole Church . . . we must return to the Church of the past.” He also stated in 490 AD: “In the Catholic Church herself every care must be taken that we may hold fast to that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. For this is truly and properly Catholic.” St. Vincent of Lerins also said: “All novelty in faith is a sure mark of heresy. St. Paul cried out aloud, again and again, to all men to all times, and to all places that, if anyone announces a new dogma, let him be anathematized!

    • WF, absolutely. You’ve nailed it there!

      Also, I do think this latest novelty is a smokescreen from a cunning pontiff inspired by the master of smoke. Unfortunately, most Catholics nowadays would agree with the abolition of the death penalty, even learned intelligent people. I do think it was abused in the past and still is in some places but, properly and judiciously used, there is a place for it.

  8. Yes, the timing of this is undoubtedly coincides with the growing outrage against clerical sodomites and it has worked perfectly to distract attention from Mariadaga’s homo-seminary – just as his mate and member of the C9 is starting to feel the heat.

    But in terms of longer term plans he has achieved his objectives also. Firstly we now have the principle enshrined in the CCC that Catholic doctrine can change based on a “growing awareness” of unspecified people around the world. Since when did a growing awareness among unspecified people become a source of Catholic dogma? The only other source of authority that is cited is his own speech given last year in which he expressed his personal non-authoritative opinion. Since when did the pope’s personal opinion become a source of Catholic dogma?

    Secondly, now that the principle of changing doctrine based on a “growing awareness” is enshrined in the CCC, what are the odds that he will refer back to this when he claims that the Church’s understanding of sodomitical relationships has changed as well? I believe that this was a kite-flying exrecise for even more heretical innovations.

    The new paragraph of the CCC also contains logical fallacies and obvious straw men:

    “Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes.”

    Straw man: the Church has never asserted that the dignity of a person made in the image and likeness of God is lost on the commission of a serious crime. Sed contra: it is precisely because the criminal retains the dignity of his God-given nature as a free-acting moral agent that he can be held responsible for his crime and thus pay the appropriate and justifiable penalty for committing that crime. It is those who would remove all just consequences for our actions who violate human dignity (he couldn’t really help it, God made him that way….blah, blah, blah….)

    “,,,,do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”

    Erroneous and pernicious: if death deprives the guilty of the possibility of redemption, then we are all doomed to spend eternity suffering in the fires and torments of everlasting hell.

    Sed contra: as taught by St Thomas, the contrite admission of one’s guilt and the acceptance of the just punishment for that guilt – even if that punishment is death – can be the very act which unites us to Christ’s redemption and results in our eternal salvation.

    “Consequently, the Church teaches,…”

    Erroneous: no citation from Scripture, Tradition or prior Magisterium is given to support this bald assertion. The pope’s personal opinion does not equate to Church teaching. This cannot be binding on the faithful.

    I write all the above as somebody who personally would not vote for the restoration of the death penalty in this country, at this time, and for the foreseeable future.

    • Deacon Augustine,

      Thank you for that. I suspect this “growing awareness” wedge has its origin in the so-called (laughable) logic of Vatican II/John XXIII’s opening speech, i.e. that humanity has grown up and now no longer needs condemnation of its errors, but mercy. Opening the door, in other words, to adjust (translation: destroy) the Church according to the fantasy of some undefined improvement in the human condition, now allegedly better than the former (medieval) human condition.

      How many times have we heard from this sleazy Pope that the Church is, in effect, medieval and out-of-date?

      • It is unadulterated Modernism and it falls under the anathemas of Vatican I:

        Dogmatic Constituion on the Catholic Faith, Ch. 4 Faith and Reason, Canon 3:
        “If anyone says that
        it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the church which is different from that which the church has understood and understands:
        let him be anathema.”

  9. The utter spiritual, theological and moral bankruptcy of this sleazy pontificate is now – I almost said fully demonstrated by this. But it was already been fully demonstrated a long time ago. At this point it just seems that the chains of darkness that are locked around the Church are getting thicker and stronger and tighter by the day, choking the life out of her.

    What can you say about a Pope whose strategy to distract from a moral scandal is to create a theological scandal? Pure evil.

    Well, to console myself with a little dark humor from Matt Gasper’s CFN article on this:

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59f88a70bce176951da623c1/t/5b63bbfbf950b784611e90d9/1533262878559/Radical+Catholic+tweet.JPG?format=750w

  10. By similar reasoning, one could make many innovations… The “awareness of the dignity of Thing X developed” and so “what was held for a long time about Topic Y” has been abrogated. For example, baptism and the necessity of confession, or Mary and the Triple Personality of the Godhead, or same sex attraction and the subject of the sacrament of Matrimony.

    The very simple response is to call attention to the fact that Y has a positive doctrine which is contradicted by the development of the awareness of the dignity of X. So either the Church never truly taught about Y, the Church is fallible as a teacher, or the development is wrong.

    • CRM,

      Yes, you’ve summarised the issues well. This is a shocking move by the Pope, – a Pandora’s box, as described in a very good piece over at One Peter Five. Here’s an important extract:

      An Infallible Proposition

      I sought to establish yesterday that the moral liceity of the death penalty is a matter of divine revelation, affirmed by popes and doctors of the Church, and thus, dogmatic and infallible. You can read that longer piece here, but suffice it to say that this is a matter of faith or morals set forth specifically as a divinely revealed truth and thus not changeable. Pope Innocent makes this clear:

      “It must be remembered that power was granted by God [to the magistrates], and to avenge crime by the sword was permitted. He who carries out this vengeance is God’s minister (Rm 13:1-4). Why should we condemn a practice that all hold to be permitted by God? We uphold, therefore, what has been observed until now, in order not to alter the discipline and so that we may not appear to act contrary to God’s authority.” –Pope Innocent I, Epist. 6, C. 3. 8, ad Exsuperium, Episcopum Tolosanum, 20 February 405, PL 20,495.

      Edward Feser, one of the most knowledgeable and well read Catholics on this topic, explains the pedigree of this teaching in a piece today at First Things:
      There has always been disagreement among Catholics about whether capital punishment is, in practice, the morally best way to uphold justice and social order. However, the Church has always taught, clearly and consistently, that the death penalty is in principle consistent with both natural law and the Gospel. This is taught throughout scripture – from Genesis 9 to Romans 13 and many points in between – and the Church maintains that scripture cannot teach moral error. It was taught by the Fathers of the Church, including those Fathers who opposed the application of capital punishment in practice. It was taught by the Doctors of the Church, including St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church’s greatest theologian; St. Alphonsus Liguori, her greatest moral theologian; and St. Robert Bellarmine, who, more than any other Doctor, illuminated how Christian teaching applies to modern political circumstances.

      It was clearly and consistently taught by the popes up to and including Pope Benedict XVI. That Christians can in principle legitimately resort to the death penalty is taught by the Roman Catechism promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, the Catechism of Christian Doctrine promulgated by Pope St. Pius X, and the 1992 and 1997 versions of the most recent Catechism promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II – this last despite the fact that John Paul was famously opposed to applying capital punishment in practice. Pope St. Innocent I and Pope Innocent III taught that acceptance of the legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy. Pope Pius XII explicitly endorsed the death penalty on several occasions.
      https://onepeterfive.com/with-catechism-change-an-opening-of-pandoras-box/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Onepeterfive+%28OnePeterFive%29

  11. To paraphrase Chris Ferrara in his Fatima Perspectives article – “Pope Francis calls for worldwide abolition of capital punishment for the guilty, has never called for the worldwide abolition of the innocents still in the womb. Not even when it is about to be legalized in once Catholic Ireland”.

    Since Pope Francis is going to Ireland in the near future, will he keep silent about the murder of the unborn children in the womb? If so – then his silence will be deafening. If my memory serves me right, wasn’t there more or less dancing in the streets of Ireland at the YES outcome to the abortion vote earlier this year?

    https://fatima.org/news-views/the-reversible-magisterium-is-no-magisterium/

    • Theresa Rose,

      Someone needs to tell Chris Ferrara that there is no “more or less dancing in the streets of Ireland at the YES outcome of the abortion vote” – there WAS, literally, dancing in the streets. And all the while, a shocking silence from Papa Francis. Utterly incomprehensible.

  12. A rather dodgy “Vatican Cardinal” says those who criticise Pope Francis are “not faithful to Tradition”
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-archbishop-critics-of-pope-francis-are-not-faithful-to-catholic-tra?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com&utm_campaign=ac00f248d9-Catholic_8_9_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12387f0e3e-ac00f248d9-403774537

    To argue his case, he’s using the popular chestnut of “development” (not change) of doctrine, but that is torn to shreds in the article.

  13. I copied and posted RCA’s above meme on a few Catholic Facebook pages. As expected, it went down like the proverbial ‘lead balloon’ in some quarters.

    I had some papolatrist numpties accusing me of ‘calumny’ and ‘hating God’ because I was bad-mouthing the pope.

  14. Something interesting occurred to me yesterday in the middle of Father’s presentation on actual Church teaching on the death penalty: with this alleged change to the Catechism, the Modernists who currently run the Church […into the ground…] are actually attempting to dictate to the state how to handle criminals.

    In doing so, they are violating and contradicting another primary Modernist dictum: the separation of Church and state.

    (Of course, since when did contradicting themselves slow down the Modernists?)

  15. A group of 45 theologians, philosophers and writers has written an open letter to the College of Cardinals, asking that they advise Francis to withdraw his catechism change.

    They say the change is causing confusion and scandal, by implying that established Church teaching is wrong.

    Of course – given the Cardinals have the collective backbone of a jellyfish which has been run over by a truck, coupled with the usefulness of a chocolate teapot – nothing will happen. But, for anyone with eyes to see – Catholic or otherwise – it’s yet another public blow to the already threadbare credibility of this abysmal pontificate.

    The Catholic Herald reports:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/08/15/academics-appeal-to-cardinals-advise-pope-to-withdraw-scandalous-catechism-change/?platform=hootsuite

    And the open letter is here:

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/08/an-appeal-to-the-cardinals-of-the-catholic-church

    All that saves Francis is the fact that for many Catholics, their faith is just one hour on a sunday morning. They do not follow the Church and her developments closely and so are probably more informed about the Pope from the cheerleading secular media, than they are Catholic blogs and news outlets. Many Catholics are probably unaware that Francis is hopeless, amazing though that may seem. If Francis was held in derision by a large majority of the faithful, he surely could not continue.

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