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 Post subject: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:20 pm 
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Paladin
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This topic was split from the one in Catholicism 101.

ForeverFaithful wrote:
That may be so, but it's also not the case that any Catholic has to support the practice of the death penalty.

Considerations of mercy, or perhaps praticalities of implementing it can lead a Catholic to make the prudential judgment to oppose the application of capital punishment at this time and in this place.


This is simply not true.

One can debate what crime it takes to justify the death penalty, and one can debate what method, etc. but justice is an aspect of natural law. Natural law and justice do not change because of "time and place.”

A Catholic cannot take the position that "at this time" we can abolish the death penalty as if the proper punishment for a heinous crime rewrites itself out of natural law. The real prudential judgment here is to execute proper justice and mercy, within the mean, because authority has been given to men and government to properly carry out punishment, dictated by natural law as authored by God.

Abolishing the death penalty “at this time” is the deficiency, it is mercyism. Executing every criminal is the excessive extreme. What is prudent is to stay within the mean, time and circumstances cannot change this – we are not Modernists who promote evolution of doctrine and historicism.





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Now CCC 2267 is either

(a) saying that capital punishment is intrisically evil, in which case it can not be accpeted.

(b) making in strong language a prudential judgment that there are currently no circumstances where capital punishment is the appropriate response. This is really the only way I would argue to understand the pre-amble which makes it abundantly clear that this has not always been the case, additionally the CDF letter which specifically notes the acceptablity of capital punishment before which would be impossible if (a) was the proper reading.


Why bring in the CDF letter and disregard Pope Francis’ earlier statement, which is the exact wording in which the change was taken from?


Quote:
My point isn't that there is not a case for (a) only that because if "inadmissible" truly meant "intrisically evil" both the new CCC 2267 and the Letter to the CDF become incoherent, and consequently one must interpret it as (b)


B is erroneous and cannot be accepted under Natural and Divinely revealed truth (natural law, Scripture, Tradition).

Solution D: Catechism is not infallible and it contains error. We really don’t need to square a circle and save face every single mistake and error that comes down to us. Stating that the death penalty is intrinsically evil and/or stating that it should not be used "at this time" are both erroneous. So either way, there is an issue here. Masking this under “prudential judgment” utterly fails.


Also, I am still looking for an answer here: what other item is contrary to the "light of the Gospel," and is a "attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person," and is "never admissible" but at the same time is *not* intrinsically wrong?

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:51 pm 
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I already gave you the example of slavery


As to it not being an acceptable opinion that's simply wrong.

If you lived in the Soviet Union and said "I don't think that the state should exercise the death penalty" it could be for innumerable reasons other than the intrinsic nature of the act.

Any Catholic who does not doubt the intrinsic nature of capital punishment is not itself bad can judge that in circumstances it is not prudent to use it. Those circumstances might even be so general that it should be pratically abolished until circumstances change.

Don't take my word for it; Dr Feser and Dr Bessette both agree that this is not against faith, but simply imprudent. It's not a categorical imperative to exercise capital punishment as Kant wrongly believed

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
As a relatively ignorant bystander, it seems to me that the new Papacy exhibits three characteristics.

1. Feelings over precise formulations.

2. Relatively impulsive utterances rather than taking pause to create reasoned, consistent statements.

3. A sense that modernity must be accommodated ... because modernity is reality.

underlying assumption:
0. Practical concrete things are the only real things, doctrine is not "real"

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:15 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
I already gave you the example of slavery


The slavery comment got lost in the quotes above and I didn’t see it. “Slavery” has had many definitions and conditions, whereas the death penalty only means one thing. If I studied the issue correctly, there is a difference between just servitude and unjust slavery.


Quote:
If you lived in the Soviet Union and said "I don't think that the state should exercise the death penalty" it could be for innumerable reasons other than the intrinsic nature of the act.


I don’t follow what you’re saying here.


Quote:
Any Catholic who does not doubt the intrinsic nature of capital punishment is not itself bad can judge that in circumstances it is not prudent to use it. Those circumstances might even be so general that it should be pratically abolished until circumstances change.


You are essentially arguing that non-lethal means serve justice as well as the death penalty in a horrid crime. Please prove this.

Or I can ask the question: If the death penalty is not intrinsically evil, then what purpose did it fulfill in the past?

If you say, “protect society/deterrent” then it’s only half the answer.




Quote:
Don't take my word for it; Dr Feser and Dr Bessette both agree that this is not against faith, but simply imprudent. It's not a categorical imperative to exercise capital punishment as Kant wrongly believed


I am under the impression that Feser, Bessette, and the Catechism cannot change the virtue of justice and natural law. I apologize to the doctors for lacking this ability.

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:18 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
I already gave you the example of slavery



This is a bad example. You make the assumption that all slavery that has ever existed in all societies in history was exactly like it was in the antebellum south. This is false.


The antebellum south is quite unique. How is it unique?

1. The slavery in the antebellum south was race-based. This never happened at any other time or place in history.
2. The slavery in the antebellum south was chattel slavery, i.e. slaves were property no different from a house or a horse, and had absolutely no legal rights, again, this is not the historical norm
3. The slavery in the antebellum south was an inherited condition, if one was a slave, then all of his children were slaves as well, this, again, is unique to the antebellum south.
4. It was impossible to ever leave the condition of servitude, this again, was unique

In most societies in which slavery existed, it was a temporary condition that people entered into more or less voluntarily, for example, if they owed a huge debt that they couldn't pay back, they might agree to become slaves for a period of 10 years on the condition that at the end of the 10 years, the debt will be forgiven. It was not an inherited condition that passed from father to son for generations, slaves had the ability to purchase their freedom and they had legal rights if their masters abused or mistreated them, the law held that the contract was void and the slave was freed. Only prisoners of war were ever made slaves against their will.

Moreover, in most societies, slaves are considered to be almost like members of the family, it was not unusual in ancient Rome for slaves offered their freedom to refuse to accept it and continue serving the same family, they did this voluntarily because there were genuine bonds of warmth and affection between master and slave, it was a lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed.

Involuntary, race-based chattel slavery that existed as an inherited condition from one generation to the next and from which one could never escape is definitely wrong, but it is also something that has never existed anywhere else except the antebellum south.

And it isn't even true that today society takes an absolutist position against slavery, because there are forms of slavery that are legal under the 13th amendment, for example, prisoners are often forced to do labor, like cleaning up garbage by the side of the road, and people guilty of misdemeanors are often given so many hours of 'community service' to perform. Both of these are forms of SLAVE LABOR that society thinks is perfectly okay. And even today, prisoners of war are often forced to perform hard labor, and this is allowed under the Geneva Conventions provided that certain standards of treatment such as periodic breaks and not working them to exhaustion, are met.


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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Slaves in the south could certainly be freed. It's true that there wasn't a term limit to slavery here, but it's not true that it was impossible to be freed.

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:25 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Slaves in the south could certainly be freed. It's true that there wasn't a term limit to slavery here, but it's not true that it was impossible to be freed.


It was impossible for the slave to ever do anything to win or earn his freedom, he couldn't buy his freedom, he couldn't earn it by performing some meritorious act, he couldn't convince someone else to buy his freedom for him, he was entirely at the whim of the arbitrary will of his owner, and was legally a non-person, meaning that he didn't even have the right not to be assaulted, raped or murdered by his owner.


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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Not true in all respects and in all places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_cod ... _of_slaves

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:27 pm 
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Doom wrote:
gherkin wrote:
Slaves in the south could certainly be freed. It's true that there wasn't a term limit to slavery here, but it's not true that it was impossible to be freed.


It was impossible for the slave to ever do anything to win or earn his freedom, he couldn't buy his freedom, he couldn't earn it by performing some meritorious act, he couldn't convince someone else to buy his freedom for him, he was entirely at the whim of the arbitrary will of his owner, and was legally a non-person, meaning that he didn't even have the right not to be assaulted, raped or murdered by his owner.

In fact, Dred Scott sued for his freedom only after his offer to buy his family's freedom was rejected by his master. Slaves often bought their freedom. Well, often may be a bit of a stretch, but it was not unheard of.

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:59 pm 
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Let me just simply state my thesis a little clearer.

To say that current circumstances do not call for the exercise of the death penalty does not entail that the death penalty is intrisically evil.

To say so would be an error of morals.

If you believe that states today

(1) Run to high a risk of a miscarriage of justice

(2) Are so immoral that they're more likely to punish the wrong things with death

(3) How such advanced alternative means of punishment that only a crime the likes of which we do not see would justify the death penalty.

Etc.

then you can say that circumstantially there ought not to be a death penalty


Since you want to continue to return to the question of justice and proportion in natural law, I am not going to fight you on that because you probably can make a strong case with reason. My only point is that as imprudent as it might be to judge todays circumstances are never requiring capital punishment, it is only when one makes a claim that capital punishment is intrinsically evil that one errs against faith and morals.

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:08 am 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
Let me just simply state my thesis a little clearer.

To say that current circumstances do not call for the exercise of the death penalty does not entail that the death penalty is intrisically evil.

If you believe that states today

(1) Run to high a risk of a miscarriage of justice

(2) Are so immoral that they're more likely to punish the wrong things with death

(3) How such advanced alternative means of punishment that only a crime the likes of which we do not see would justify the death penalty.

Etc.

then you can say that circumstantially there ought not to be a death penalty

But Alexandros argues - rightly, in my opinion - that Pope Francis' speech goes beyond a condemnation of death penalty in practice, a condemnation based on the present state of the world, to its condemnation in principle, ie it is wrong per se.

Alexandros wrote:
So, the death penalty is the following:

Contrary to the Gospel.
Inhumane.
Violates human dignity.
Can only be done by God: “…God only in the final analysis is the true judge and guarantor.”
Not Christian: ”…dictated by a more legalistic mentality than Christian…”
Inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime.

Yet, at the same time, it is not intrinsically wrong.
That’s pretty bizarre.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:28 am 
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But Alexandros argues - rightly, in my opinion - that Pope Francis' speech goes beyond a condemnation of death penalty in practice, a condemnation based on the present state of the world, to its condemnation in principle, ie it is wrong per se.

Alexandros wrote:
So, the death penalty is the following:

Contrary to the Gospel.
Inhumane.
Violates human dignity.
Can only be done by God: “…God only in the final analysis is the true judge and guarantor.”
Not Christian: ”…dictated by a more legalistic mentality than Christian…”
Inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime.


Yet, at the same time, it is not intrinsically wrong.
That’s pretty bizarre.
[/quote]

The French translated of the CCC was edited to remove the cognate form of inhuman :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Change of the Catechism in regards to the death penalty
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:42 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
Let me just simply state my thesis a little clearer.

To say that current circumstances do not call for the exercise of the death penalty does not entail that the death penalty is intrisically evil.


Then that means there is no reason to completely abolish it.

But again, there is another point I am arguing:

1. Justice and retribution are always the same, no matter what year it is.
2. Punishment is served to the person who did the crime.
3. A crime always inflicts injustice upon a society, therefore the punishment serves justice to society
4. All of this is built into natural law.
5. The death penalty has always been allowed because it meets the necessary justice for certain crimes.
6. Ergo, it is erroneous to say it is not admissible and should be abolished for the current time period.
7. Hence, if it is contrary to natural law, then a Catholic cannot hold this position.


Quote:
If you believe that states today

(1) Run to high a risk of a miscarriage of justice

(2) Are so immoral that they're more likely to punish the wrong things with death

(3) How such advanced alternative means of punishment that only a crime the likes of which we do not see would justify the death penalty.

Etc.

then you can say that circumstantially there ought not to be a death penalty


This makes no sense:
1. If *today* it’s not admissible for the reasons above, then please prove 100 years ago, 500 years ago, or 2,000 years ago it was admissible because mistakes cannot happen and bad governments did not exist.
2. Misapplication of the death penalty and bad governments does not mean it should be abolished across the globe. That does not logically follow. One can argue and fight for making sure the person is without a doubt guilty, I can understand that. And an unjust government is going to follow their own rules anyway – wagging a finger in front of their face and saying, “don’t use the death penalty” is not going to stop their abuse. And if they do listen, then they can just institute reform and utmost care to help fix the abuse.

All of history has these issues, therefore, it should have been stopped earlier. But, no because of the “current times” we should now stop it?

If anything, in the past it would be just as bad or even worse.


Quote:
(3) How such advanced alternative means of punishment that only a crime the likes of which we do not see would justify the death penalty.


Is there anything in Scripture or Tradition that states alternative forms of punishment satisfy justice and retribution as well as the death penalty?

Quote:
Since you want to continue to return to the question of justice and proportion in natural law, I am not going to fight you on that because you probably can make a strong case with reason. My only point is that as imprudent as it might be to judge todays circumstances are never requiring capital punishment, it is only when one makes a claim that capital punishment is intrinsically evil that one errs against faith and morals.


Well, it is indeed saying that it is intrinsically wrong since there is other item that falls under all those categories I listed and at the same time is not intrinsically evil. I am having a hard time processing how something can always be contrary to the very Gospels, inhumane, a violation of human dignity, and now inadmissible, but be morally neutral.

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