Pope Francis Wishes To Change Teaching On Capital Punishment…

Speaking in Rome on October 11th, 2017 (55th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II), at a conference promoting the ‘New Evangelization’, Pope Francis made known his will for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be revised so as to condemn capital punishment as absolutely immoral in principle. He declared the death penalty to be “in itself contrary to the Gospel” (“in sé stessa contraria al Vangelo”). Source

The Pope’s attack on traditional teaching is not going unchallenged, however;  below, extracts from a very interesting analysis from the Society of St Pius X, District of the U.S.A.  Read entire article here

Capital Punishment and Contemporary Catholicism

On April 20, 2017, Ledell Lee, convicted of the brutal murder of his neighbor, Mrs. Debra Reese, was executed in Arkansas, the state’s first execution since 2005. When asked what his wishes were for his last meal, Lee declined a meal but said he wished to receive Holy Communion before execution. He made no public statement before death, but his request to receive the Sacraments was indicative of a desire to die in a state of grace, at peace with God.

Before Lee’s execution, Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, and the Catholic Mobilizing Network, which describes its mission as “Ending the death penalty. Promoting restorative justice,” all wrote to the governor of Arkansas asking that Lee’s sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.

Opposition to the Death Penalty

These Catholic bishops and activists are not alone in their opposition to the death penalty. In June of 2016, Pope Francis sent a video message of support to the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty in which he said: 

“Nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice.”

What then does the Church teach about capital punishment? Is it permitted, and under what circumstances?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent tells us:

“Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thou shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives”
(Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566, Part III, 5, n. 4.).

This contrasts starkly with Pope Francis’s words, “The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty” (Message to the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty).

St. Thomas Aquinas gives two main reasons for the use of capital punishment. One is the common good:

Now every individual person is related to the entire society as a part to the whole. Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since ‘a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump’ (1 Cor. 5:6).”
(Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 64, art. 2)

His other consideration is the good of the criminal.

“They…have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil” 
(Summa contra gentiles, Book III, chapter 146).

The Good of the Criminal
 
On July 26, 2017, Ronald Phillips, convicted of the particularly horrible murder of a child, was executed in Ohio. The day of his execution, he reportedly spent several hours with a spiritual adviser and took time to read the Bible. Just before death, he made his first public expression of regret since his incarceration, asking forgiveness of his victim’s family. He had previously unsuccessfully sought clemency on grounds of his youth at the time (he was 19) and his difficult childhood.

While some claim that the death penalty puts an end to the possibility of the criminal repenting later on, St. Thomas does not admit this objection.

“The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.”

Both Phillips’s case and that of Ledell Lee illustrate St. Thomas’s point: imminent death brings home to the criminal the gravity of his crime and leads him to repentance. Samuel Johnson was the author of the oft-quoted aphorism to the effect that nothing concentrates the mind like a sentence of hanging. Of course, in Samuel Johnson’s day, executions were carried out rather more promptly than they are in the United States nowadays: a criminal can languish for decades on death row, and it is said that nearly a quarter of death row inmates die of natural causes while waiting for execution or appealing their sentences.

The Church has been careful to emphasize the need for due process and true justice. Innocent III said:

The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.”

Whether due process is consistently available in the American criminal justice system is a matter of debate. By all accounts it is in desperate need of reform. One high-profile (and well-informed, thanks to his own sojourn in the United States’ jail system) commentator on this issue was newspaper publisher Conrad Black, who has among other issues emphasized the need to address the huge number of inmates in the prison system and the high rate of recidivism, partly due (in his opinion) to a culture in which convicts become dependent on the system. 

The Catholic Understanding of Death

[F]or the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul. But losing this life, in exchange for the next?…For the non-believer, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence. What a horrible act!”

Does the death penalty deprive the criminal of hope? Of hope for the things of this world, certainly. But there are many instances of dying criminals who have discovered grounds for hope: a certain thief once hoped, “Remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.”

In Conclusion…

From what the Catechism of the Council of Trent tells us, in combination with the teachings of many Popes and sainted theologians, it seems that while the necessity and suitability of capital punishment in a given situation remains a prudential decision for the public authorities, it is clear that traditional Catholic teachings permit the death penalty under certain conditions. One could argue that the rallying of modern Catholicism against capital punishment is at least in part due to the influence of what Scalia calls “the post-Freudian secularist,” inclined to diminish the moral responsibility of the criminal and seemingly blind to the possibility of expiation for sin and life after death.

The fifteenth-century French poet François Villon, a ne’er-do-well who frequently fell afoul of the law, composed his most famous work, The Ballad of the Hanged, in jail the night before he was to be executed. It is an entirely supernatural plea to Christ and Our Lady for mercy on his soul and to his fellowman for pity and prayers. His final stanza is remarkable for its humility and its hope:

Prince Jesus, who has command of all,                                
Do not let Hell gain lordship over us:
With it let us have no dealings.
Men, there is no mockery here;
Pray God that He will absolve us all.

Comments invited…

IS Pope Francis right to seek to “revise” Catholic teaching on the Death Penalty?

American Bishops Use “Welcome” Excuse To Encourage Sin & Sacrilege

SAN DIEGO, California, October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Two left-leaning Catholic bishops, along with “married” homosexual partners, celebrated a special Mass for “Families of the LGBT Community” in San Diego last weekend. The event commemorated the 20-year anniversary of a controversial U.S. bishops’ letter on homosexuality that was censured by the Vatican within a year of its release.

Bishop John Dolan, an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Diego, presided over the October 7 mass commemorating the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) letter on homosexuality “Always Our Children.”

The mass, concelebrated with San Diego Archbishop Robert McElroy and 16 other clergy, took place at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, located in the heart of Hillcrest, the historic epicenter of homosexuality in San Diego.

Before the Mass, Dolan said: “This parish falls within the Hillcrest district and there are a number of people in our community here who want to participate in the life of the Church, and we want to make sure they have a welcome home in some fashion here within the Church.”

During his homily, Dolan praised the 1997 letter “Always Our Children” as offering “an outstretched hand” to parents and family members of homosexual Catholics.
“To you parents, there is no denying your own sons and daughters, whatever their walk in life,” he said.

“Married” homosexual partners Kyle and Snapper Escobar-Humphries said they attended the ‘LGBT’ Mass with their 8- and 9-year-old children to teach them about equality.

“It’s important because my kids have two gay dads and I would like for them to understand that this church is open for everybody,” said one of the “dads” to the San Diego Tribune. “I want them to understand how to treat each other equally.”

The USCCB’s letter Always our Children was addressed to Catholic parents  with homosexual children. The letter was criticized by faithful Catholics for its language that originally called the homosexual orientation a “fundamental dimension of one’s personality.” 

Less than a year after its release, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) demanded several changes to the text. One change included calling the homosexual orientation “a deep-seated dimension of one’s personality” so as to avoid the inference that if homosexuality is a “fundamental dimension of one’s personality,” it must be God-given and permanent.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, then bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, said after the letter’s release that it was “very flawed and defective.” He asserted that it was “founded on bad advice, mistaken theology, erroneous science and skewed sociology.”

He added that the “document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.”

Ex-homosexual Catholic Joseph Sciambra has said the U.S. bishops should apologize to Catholics who struggle with same-sex attraction for releasing the letter, what he called a “travesty.”

“The text is still shocking for its gross generalizations and unwillingness to even briefly grasp the intrinsic desperation and depravity found in the modern ‘gay’ lifestyle,” he wrote in a 2016 article.

“The document also openly condemns those with same-sex attraction to a lifelong imprisonment within homosexuality,” he added.

Allyson Smith, who attended the event as a member of Ecclesia Militans San Diego, a group of concerned Catholics, called Bishop Dolan’s homily a “total capitulation to the homosexual activist agenda.”

“(There were) no calls for homosexuals to repent and convert included in his homily,” she [said].

The event was attended by various San Diego dignitaries, including Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, openly-homosexual California State Assembly member Todd Gloria, San Diego City Commissioner and male transvestite Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Democrat city attorney Mara Elliott, city council member Chris Ward, San Diego Unified School District board member Kevin Beiser, and city of San Diego Human Relations commissioner Bruce Abrams.

Laurence Greenbank, a Catholic who attended the event to pray a rosary for participants, called the LGBT Mass a “staged media event.”

“The ‘LGBT’ Mass was a media event, staged by the diocese. I believe the real story is how the bishop turned the celebration of the Holy Eucharist into a media event, not a place of worship. The whole event seemed to be choreographed, with the TV cameras, the VIPs, including the mayor and city council member, the imported rich gays (at least two of them were from Palm Springs), the Hillcrest elite gay men’s group with the matching T-shirts. There was an enormous amount of money and preparation spent on this event,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“It is absolutely disgusting to see the Holy Eucharist used for political agenda,” he added.
Click here to read entire report

Comments invited… 

13 October: Centenary, Miracle of the Sun


The Editor of Christian Order writes…

Hierarchical disobedience/negligence/cowardice/lethargy/call-it-what-you-like, continues to amaze and appal. Even conservative prelates rarely promote the Five First Saturday Reparatory Devotions with any urgency. At best, all talk and no positive action sums up the hierarchical history. At worst — and overwhelmingly — it has been silence and negativity in the Modernistic process of marginalising, ecumenising and secularising Fatima by a thousand condescending cuts.

In effect, Our Lady’s personal instruction of Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta between May and October 1917 triggered 100 years of devotion and struggle — in roughly equal proportion: fifty years of signature Catholic devotion to Mary, followed by fifty post-conciliar years of ecumenical embarrassment apropos Marian devotion in general, and the Fatima message in particular.

Sister Lucia famously put this down to the “diabolic disorientation” that views doctrinal, moral and canonical chaos as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and the ensuing “mess” as a work of mercy.

This malign malaise appears to have reached its zenith in the person of the current pontiff. Yet we must pause to consider the plain truth of the matter: that Francis is just the latest link in the ever lengthening Modernist chain.   Click here to read entire editorial

The Editor of Catholic Truth writes…

No names, no pack drill, but in recent weeks I’ve been meeting diocesan Catholics in Novus Ordo Land on their home territory in various parishes in the central belt of Scotland, and believe me, there is just no easy or tactful way to say this: when Sister Lucia spoke of the forthcoming “diabolical disorientation” (presumably divulging something of what Our Lady had revealed, perhaps using her very words) she wasn’t kidding. Discussing Fatima, many, if not most, were shocked at the very idea that all is not as it should be – what they were hearing from us (the – literally – whole truth about Fatima) is just “not Catholic.” All incredible stuff. Talk about “upside down”; talk about “disorientation” – you got it.  Hostility on legs.  

As we approach the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun tomorrow, then, let us pray very hard for our fellow Catholics who have been given stones instead of bread these past fifty odd years and just cannot see it.  The old Faith has virtually disappeared from parish life, certainly here in Scotland.  the people don’t know the Faith; the clergy don’t know the Faith – and, from my recent experience, it seems clear that they don’t want to know it. 

Maybe, though, you have some tips to share to help restore the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Faith to our brothers and sisters in Christ. If so, let’s hear it… Because one of the sticking points in discussion has proven to be the very claim of the Church to be the one, true Church of Christ. Ecumenism has eaten deeply into the souls of the Catholic people. 

However, there is some good news:  the Fatima Scotland group,* formed to offer to distribute literature and give talks in parishes, has now offered to run Fatima Surgeries with a view to answering questions on Fatima, including the various controversies surrounding the Consecration of Russia and the Third Secret.  To sign up for one of these surgeries, please email editor@catholictruthscotland.com  in the first instance.  Your contact details will be passed to the Coordinator of the Fatima Scotland Group, who will be in touch with details of the next meeting.

Spread news of these surgeries far and wide, because there really is a serious lack of knowledge about the gravity of the Fatima apparitions at parish level. Our Lady said that the Consecration of Russia would be done “but it will be late” – and as we see the moral fibre of our societies disintegrating around us, with political leaders and terrorists threatening world peace, it is already very “late”.    It is crucial that we all do what we can to spread the Message of Fatima in what is left of this centenary year – and these surgeries offer a perfect talking point to do so. 

Our Lady of Fatima, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*  This group is separate from the diocesan-approved Fatima Scotland group.  The group referred to above officially represents the Fatima Center, Canada (Fr Gruner RIP) apostolate, appointed to distribute literature etc in Scotland during this centenary year. 

Vegas Massacre: Guns Not The Cause…

Isn’t it refreshing to hear some honest discussion about the real cause, the root cause of the change in society – in this case, specifically the increased violence in the U.S.A… That it is the human condition, fallen human nature that is to blame, not guns per se…  And isn’t it good to see politicians being grilled – really grilled – by a news anchor, compared to the supine approach of  UK journalists?  

Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the injured and relatives of the dead, while we pray for the repose of the souls of all those who lost their lives in this senseless  attack. May they rest in peace…

 

Fatima: Our Lady Got It SO Wrong…

The following extract is taken from a website providing links to the much publicised  Filial Correction

A 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11th. Since no answer was received from the Holy Father, it is being made public today, 24th September, Feast of Our Lady of Ransom and of Our Lady of Walsingham. The letter, which is open to new signatories, now has the names of 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries, who also represent others lacking the necessary freedom of speech. It has a Latin title: ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’). It states that the pope has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church. These 7 heresies are expressed by the signatories in Latin, the official language of the Church.

We’ve discussed this ‘Correction’ on our blog elsewhere; I went on record as being in opposition to the idea of restricting the signatories to “lay scholars” and resolved not to sign it, despite being in possession of academic qualifications – two Degrees (Education and Theology) to be precise. Another blogger argued that I should sign for a number of reasons, so I allowed myself to be persuaded and submitted my signature, academic qualifications and humble status as Editor of Catholic Truth (Scotland).  I thought, heck if nothing else, they’ll want at least ONE signature from Bonnie Scotland.  I was wrong.  My signature did not make it and neither, interestingly, did the signature of the academic who coaxed me to sign in the first place.*   We’re regarded as being too outspoken, short on the diplomatic front, because we tend to call out those responsible for the dire state of the Church where we live and move and suffer the consequences of the modernist mayhem around us.  The general opinion of our friends seems to be that it is this outspokenness that has caused our signatures to fail the censorship process.  There are, you see, traditionalists and there are “traditionalists” –  the Pontius Pilate  School of Silent Complicity tends not to approve of the outspoken among us. Remember, some of those behind this Filial Correction kept mighty quiet during the reigns of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, when the rest of us were raising grave concerns about the errors and scandals which abounded during those pontificates.  In fact, at least one of the signatories on the ‘Correction’ waited for an entire year into the pontificate of Papa Francis before raising a voice of mild concern.
* [Ed: quite some time later, our signatures were, in fact, added to the Filial Correction. So, I’m not sure if this is a case of I owe the organiser(s) an apology or “wonders will never cease”…]

Anyway, today, in discussion, one humble gentleman without a single Degree to his name, pointed out that when God sent His mother to earth with messages for mankind of one sort or another, including the Fatima prophecies which are coming true before our very eyes, He chose unlettered children, not “scholars”.   Indeed, Our Lady told Lucy of Fatima to learn to read… she didn’t wait until Lucy was able to read before appearing to her.  The same is true of other important revelations when Our Lady appeared to children. Bernadette of Lourdes is another very good example of how God seems to by-pass the clever-clogs among us, to communicate with the humble, simple and unlettered.  There has to be a reason.  OR…

Comment:

Did Our Lady get it so wrong?  SHOULD she have appeared to some highly qualified scholars at Fatima, rather than 3 un-schooled, shepherd children who were never going to get anywhere in life, who wouldn’t make it to university? 


Pope : Critics of Amoris Laetitia Wrong…

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Seeing, understanding and engaging with people’s real lives does not “bastardize” theology, rather it is what is needed to guide people toward God, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Colombia. 

“The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father,” he said during a private audience Sept. 10 in Cartagena, Colombia. The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal, La Civilta Cattolica, published a transcript from the meeting Sept. 28. The journal provided its own translations of the original Spanish remarks.

Meeting privately with a group of Jesuits and laypeople associated with Jesuit-run institutions in Colombia, the pope told them, “I am here for you,” not to make a speech, but to hear their questions or comments. Continue reading

Brexit & Brainwashed Catholics…

Maybe it’s just me, but I detect a determination both in Brussels and among certain groups of UK politicians to keep us in the EU at any price, despite the majority vote to leave  in the 2016 referendum.  There seems to be a propaganda push to hold a second referendum in the hope that there will be a change of mind and so the Remain vote will prevail.  I’m hearing of Catholics who say that they have changed position amidst so much talk of a threat to jobs, border with Ireland and so on.  The propaganda tactic might just work, with a second referendum giving a very different result. 

The question for us, then, is this: assuming that there is some “Catholic interest” in the matter, should Catholics be contacting MPs to strengthen the Brexit vote – or, in the event of a second referendum, are Catholics, like the ones I mention above, likely to vote in the opposite direction, the second time around?  Are Catholics so easily brainwashed? 

To remind ourselves of the reasons why a majority voted to leave in 2016, watch the video below, and then visit the links to our two previous discussions on this topic. 

Check out our previous discussions here (asking how Catholics should vote in the referendum) and here  (discussing the truth about the Scottish vote) before sharing your opinion with us. Should Catholics stand firm and fight to have the democratic wish of the peoples of the UK, carried out, as expressed in the referendum on 23 June, 2016? If so, why? Are there any specifically  “Catholic” reasons to support Brexit? 

And in the light of news reports today, where Prime Minister Theresa May repeats her belief that “no deal is better than a bad deal” – do you agree? In light of the intransigence of Brussels, I’m inclined to go with that. Take me to the cliff edge anytime (in a manner of speaking!) What about you?