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 Post subject: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evil?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:42 am 
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If the new passage claims capital punishment is an extrinsic evil it's the same view as St John Paul II.

If the new passage says it's an intrinsic evil it would seem impossible to reconcile it with past teaching.

Which is it

It's not part of the infallible magisterium correct? Or did the CDF make it that way by calling it a doctrinal development?

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:12 am 
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I think it depends.

Death penalty in Roman Times was useful. But nowadays, it seems to be no longer needed.

In modern times, we have too many martyrs such as in Cambodia genocide as well as zillions of babies killed by abortion.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:23 am 
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The CDF doesn't have that authority, and the text doesn't say so anyhow.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:29 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The CDF doesn't have that authority, and the text doesn't say so anyhow.

Not even the Pope has the authority to declare that the death penalty is intrinsically evil.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:30 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The CDF doesn't have that authority, and the text doesn't say so anyhow.


But doesn't "doctrinal development" imply that the actual underlying moral teaching has changed?

If it's just a extrinsic evil the teaching has not developed just the situation to which it is applied.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:31 am 
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To call this a "doctrinal development" is incoherent anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:01 am 
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Peregrinator wrote:
To call this a "doctrinal development" is incoherent anyway.


That's part of the problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:17 am 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
Peregrinator wrote:
To call this a "doctrinal development" is incoherent anyway.


That's part of the problem.


I mean, sure. The idea that the Pope is the developer of doctrine and not the guardian of doctrine is extremely silly on its face.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:26 am 
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lbt wrote:
I think it depends.

Death penalty in Roman Times was useful. But nowadays, it seems to be no longer needed.

In modern times, we have too many martyrs such as in Cambodia genocide as well as zillions of babies killed by abortion.


Dying in a horrific manner hardly qualifies someone automatically as a martyr...


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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Perhaps this should be more in the apologetics arena, and if so, I invite the mods to break it off and move it there. But 1) I don't want to start another thread on the same topic, and 2) my question is intended to be theological/philosophical and directly springs from this topic. Anyway, you all know one of my long standing criticisms on the core of the RCC is what I see to be a necessarily self-refuting claim to authority (such that I think any claim to interpretive authority of any kind is necessarily self-defeating). The quips go something like, "Oh, if only there was a magisterium to explain the magisterium!" My question here is sincere. Francis, and a great many around him, clearly think that the death penalty is contrary to the teachings of the Church. We he or one of his advisers here, it isn't hard to imagine an honest disagreement of opinion as to what constitutes not merely official doctrine but historically official doctrine. Even someone were to claim that Francis and his supporters on this actually didn't care about historical doctrine, that itself would be a claim related to the nature of the magisterium, and that would itself be a claim about Francis' interpretation of that magisterium. In other words, how do we not have here an absolute break of unity? It doesn't strike me as sufficient to say that the catechism isn't official or that the official documents don't have magisterial authority, as if this were a legal problem. This strikes me as a theological problem. The essence of the RCC, of the magisterium, isn't that any particular person gets it right; it's rather that there is even an interpretive authority at all. And on this particular issue, you have a very sincere and deeply held difference of opinion on what that interpretive authority is even saying. Some make sincere and honest arguments that the interpretive authority says and has always said the DP is permissible with whatever nuances they might prefer; other's make make sincere and honest arguments that the interpretive authority says that the DP is at least no longer permissible, whatever nuances they might prefer. There is and can be no authority to interpret the authority, so where is the unity? How does this not demonstrate that unity isn't found in an interpretive authority at all and that all such claims are . . . well . . . to put it charitably, too strongly worded? I mean, at least when people appeal to the SCOTUS as a sort of example on the importance of a final interpretive authority, well at least there you have an actual body whose decisions are accepted even if the flatly contradict previous rulings. In other words, the SCOTUS can abrogate its original rulings and change its mind. But that's not the claim of the RCC (as I understand it). The claim is that the interpretive authority safeguards and faithfully passes down the true interpretation. So you can't just appeal to the latest interpretation, and this seems as good an illustration of any as to why (and it's only one of a great many such examples people like me can easily point to and that are always very near the front of my mind insisting on attention whenever this conversation comes up). Again, please hear, the question is sincere.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Givi46 wrote:
lbt wrote:
I think it depends.

Death penalty in Roman Times was useful. But nowadays, it seems to be no longer needed.

In modern times, we have too many martyrs such as in Cambodia genocide as well as zillions of babies killed by abortion.


Dying in a horrific manner hardly qualifies someone automatically as a martyr...

Yes, we've talked about this very issue before.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:24 pm 
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From the other thread where I originally mis-posted my comments above:

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The pope's authority to make decisions at the highest level cannot be delegated to the CDF or anyone else.

Granted, but as I noted, I don't think this is just an issue of legal authority. Francis certainly seems to disagree with you here. He and his supporters are going to make arguments that they are not in violation of church teaching. And they may well then may make different arguments about the CDF than you do. So, the question becomes, again, the nature of the interpretive authority. What use is it to appeal to such if it doesn't actually exist . . . I mean, if it doesn't have any function? It feels to me exactly like what you accuse Protestants of when they appeal to Scripture. You say that everyone is their own pope with a different interpretation of their final authority. It seems to me that you here on this board and Francis and his "board" have a different interpretation of their final authority (the interpretive authority). And even if Francis were to come out and make ex cathedra claims, you'd have people (on this board!) just arguing that such claims wouldn't be real anyway. They'd be invalid, so damn the interpretive authority regardless. As I said, I'm trying to really understand the nature of this authority you all think so highly of and find so central do your faith, because this seems exactly to me like the insurmountable problem that I cannot get past no matter how hard I try. I have people here telling me that the authority is real and means one thing. I have Francis and his advisors with real and sincere differences of opinion on what that same authority teaches! So . . . sure. In my mind, you're all just Protestants who are your own popes, interpreting your final authority in light of your own conscience. As I said before and I'll say again, please here that the question/confusion is real. I'm not out to make arguments for arguments sake or to prove anybody wrong. I'm genuinely at a loss here.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:00 pm 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
But doesn't "doctrinal development" imply that the actual underlying moral teaching has changed?



Development of doctrine is literally the exact opposite of 'a change' in doctrine, development is when something becomes what it really is in a fuller, deeper and richer way, an acorn develops into a tree, a fetus develops into a fully functioning adult, a puppy becomes a dog. The nature of the thing doesn't change, it simply becomes more mature.



'Change' would mean that something ceases to be one and becomes something else, separate and distinct from what it originally was, a puppy changes into a cat, for example.


I recommend you read Cardinal Newman's famous book on the Development of Doctrine, one of the first topics he addresses in that essay is to distinguish development from change' or 'evolution.'


What Pope Francis has done is not develop doctrine, but rather change it, in fact, do an about face, Pope Francis is declaring that the real truth is the exact opposite of the traditional teaching of the Church.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:05 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Givi46 wrote:
lbt wrote:
I think it depends.

Death penalty in Roman Times was useful. But nowadays, it seems to be no longer needed.

In modern times, we have too many martyrs such as in Cambodia genocide as well as zillions of babies killed by abortion.


Dying in a horrific manner hardly qualifies someone automatically as a martyr...

Yes, we've talked about this very issue before.


Thank you for linking that, that discussion was on my mind but I neglected to hearken to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:24 pm 
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theJack wrote:
From the other thread where I originally mis-posted my comments above:

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The pope's authority to make decisions at the highest level cannot be delegated to the CDF or anyone else.

Granted, but as I noted, I don't think this is just an issue of legal authority. Francis certainly seems to disagree with you here. He and his supporters are going to make arguments that they are not in violation of church teaching. And they may well then may make different arguments about the CDF than you do. So, the question becomes, again, the nature of the interpretive authority. What use is it to appeal to such if it doesn't actually exist . . . I mean, if it doesn't have any function? It feels to me exactly like what you accuse Protestants of when they appeal to Scripture. You say that everyone is their own pope with a different interpretation of their final authority. It seems to me that you here on this board and Francis and his "board" have a different interpretation of their final authority (the interpretive authority). And even if Francis were to come out and make ex cathedra claims, you'd have people (on this board!) just arguing that such claims wouldn't be real anyway. They'd be invalid, so damn the interpretive authority regardless. As I said, I'm trying to really understand the nature of this authority you all think so highly of and find so central do your faith, because this seems exactly to me like the insurmountable problem that I cannot get past no matter how hard I try. I have people here telling me that the authority is real and means one thing. I have Francis and his advisors with real and sincere differences of opinion on what that same authority teaches! So . . . sure. In my mind, you're all just Protestants who are your own popes, interpreting your final authority in light of your own conscience. As I said before and I'll say again, please here that the question/confusion is real. I'm not out to make arguments for arguments sake or to prove anybody wrong. I'm genuinely at a loss here.

First, while you might find some supporters of Francis (Prof. Fastiggi, for example) making arguments in support of his novelties, you won't find Francis making any arguments at all, or even being at all clear about what, exactly, his novelties are. "Inadmissible" is not a theological term. It doesn't mean anything precise. Whether Francis is in keeping with Catholic teaching or not is very difficult to tell, based on the text.

Second, suppose that Francis wishes to teach that the death penalty is intrinsically immoral. This would be a terribly confusing thing for the faithful, and many, many people would naturally enough go along with that teaching, including of course many priests and bishops, and many professional theologians. But this doesn't raise any kind of serious epistemological problem of the sort you're talking about. The fact of the matter is that the Church has been wholly consistent and entirely explicit in saying that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral. The Church's teaching is abundantly clear. Not everyone is aware of all the evidence that I'm aware of when I say that, of course, and perhaps you're in that camp. If so, then it could certainly seem to you as though this were a difficult case of "well, one set of folks think the Church teaches X, while another set of folks thinks the Church teaches not X, and how could one hope to judge--they're all Protestants being their own popes." But you don't have to stay in that camp. You can look at the evidence. At which point, it will become clear to you that the Church has been wholly consistent and entirely explicit in her teaching that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral.

You say--"but that ignores the point! Professor Fastiggi has seen all that evidence and he disagrees with you! So the evidence can't be as clear and explicit as you say."

Well, no. That's not true. The evidence is as clear and explicit as I say. Why certain smart people don't see that, I do not know. But there it is.

As I say, I don't think this is the kind of epistemological problem that you think it is. The fact is that certain smart people often fail to see obvious things. Almost always, in fact. This doesn't make those things non-obvious. Nor does it put some kind of burden on those who do see those obvious things to pretend that they don't see them. In other words, the debate over the death penalty within the Church these days is between those who believe the obvious and those who just deny it, just as the debate without the Church regarding, say, the horrific consequences of the sexual revolution are between those who believe the obvious and those who just deny it. Some people just deny the obvious.

Third, not every dispute is between those who recognize the obvious and those who deny it. The dispute between the Dominicans and the Jesuits over Grace isn't such a dispute. The dispute over whether Limbo exists isn't such a dispute. Etc. There are many areas within Catholicism where we are more or less allowed to be our own popes--at least to the extent of forming our own judgments about things not clearly defined by the Church, or regarding our own callings or emphases. (Some religious orders strongly emphasize philosophical/theological training. Others really more or less overlook it. Some religious orders are devoted to directly and physically serving the poor [or whatever]. Some are devoted to prayer and fasting. Etc) Oftentimes, disputes among Catholics are this sort of thing. Matters of emphasis or theological opinion.

The death penalty thing isn't like that. Except when it is. Which is most of the time. JPII and Benedict XVI really made their points along the lines of emphasis. And there was naturally enough spirited theological dispute over whether their emphasis was the best one. That's great, and altogether within the realm of legitimate diversity of opinion.

But saying the death penalty is intrinsically immoral ain't like that. It's just wrong. Demonstrably. (I mean via Catholic teaching.) Fortunately, the Pope hasn't managed to actually say anything as clear as all that, so he can't be convicted of actually teaching error--non-magisterially as it is anyway--but he's sure as heck spreading a huge amount of confusion and anguish. :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray:

Despite appearances, this isn't really meant to try to convince you (though it's great if it does). It's more for Catholic lurkers in case they struggle with questions like yours.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:49 pm 
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I very much appreciate your response, and I particularly appreciate your concern for making sure Catholic lurkers see it. To that extent, I hope they do see it and embrace it. I don't want to press it any further because, as I said, my goal isn't to make an argument against the church here. I'm trying to understand, and while I'm not persuaded, it is at least clear to me that my problem, which you seem to anticipate, lies exactly here:

gherkin wrote:
You say--"but that ignores the point! Professor Fastiggi has seen all that evidence and he disagrees with you! So the evidence can't be as clear and explicit as you say."

Well, no. That's not true. The evidence is as clear and explicit as I say. Why certain smart people don't see that, I do not know. But there it is.

I would say, of course, "there it is." And this is what I was getting at. You have a strong and sincere belief that you are interpreting the authority naturally, historically . . . well, in a word, correctly. And so does Professor Fastiggi and those like him. You rightly say that his failure to see the obvious doesn't impede your ability to see the obvious, which perfectly echos my own repeated argument that someone's ability to do their sums correctly doesn't mean that I can't know that I can't do mine correctly, either. Apply the exact same logic to the interpretation of Scripture, and our position seems to me identical. That does help me get a better understanding, I think, as to the nature of our disagreement. It's an honest one for me, at least, I can tell you with full sincerity that it is. Your assessment of that sincerity or its worth(lessness) is, from my own vantage point, beside the point. So I do appreciate the informed at patient response.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:11 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Apply the exact same logic to the interpretation of Scripture, and our position seems to me identical.

The logic may indeed be identical, but of course the contention (which I'm not attributing to you--I don't recall your views on this) that Scripture is perspicuous is absurd on its face. Needless to say, there are many teachings in Scripture that are admirably clear, once you've got the canon defined by an authority. (Say, the fact that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral, for example. The Scriptures couldn't be clearer about that.) But the claim that one could with utter clarity and reliability get from an honest reading of the textual evidence, say, a clear doctrine of the Trinity--the central truth of the Christian Faith--is obviously false.

So whether the logic is the same is actually epistemologically irrelevant. What's relevant in this case is the truth of the premises fed into the syllogisms. When the premise is "the Church is completely clear that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral," then we have a true premise that can be seen to be true without grounds for doubt. When the premise is "the Bible (just on its own, and of course ignoring questions of the establishment of the canon) is completely clear that God is three persons in one substance," then we have a false premise that can be seen to be false without grounds for doubt.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:16 pm 
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As I said, you've helped crystalize for me a bit the difference. As expected, we have a difference when it comes to assessing the premises that go into the argument. I take great satisfaction in, after five or six years, finally being told my central argument isn't stupid and to be ignored, which has been the consistent response. Because far from making me rethink the strength of my central objection, it's always made me feel like those who attempt to respond simply don't know what else to say. I hate to put it that way, but that's the only response I've been able to come up with, charitably speaking. Your position is, of course, far more meaningful. I hope your fellow Catholics take it seriously. I do, for one.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:22 pm 
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I'm sure there's far more to be said for and against your objection than we've covered, and no doubt I'm overlooking a ton of complexities that would come out of this discussion were to keep going. For example, in granting that the logic is the same, I don't necessarily mean to grant that the logic of your religious epistemology is just the same as the logic of the Catholic epistemology, and that we differ only in terms of our assessment of the truth value of certain premises. I don't mean to deny that, either. I don't have a view about it because I don't know enough about your view. I'm just responding to your objection more or less in isolation.

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 Post subject: Re: Does CCC 2267 say Capital Punishment is an Intrinsic Evi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:31 pm 
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Of course. I hardly think you'd merely grant at the wave of a hand that you believe my view to be as defensible as yours, just as I dont grant that of yours with respect to mine. But I do grant your isolated response is more serious than what has usually been offered and helpful to me in grasping a little more clearly the defensibility of your view. I think that's a good thing. Not because I think your view is right, but on charity. Your basic ideas, while in my assessment are incorrect, are at least far from absurd, which at the level of my objection is how they've always come across to me. I'm truly, genuinely glad to have an experiential taste of what I e always known intellectually, namely that the absurdity isn't real at all. Perhaps in the future someone will continue to take seriously my questions and I'll get still a clearer understanding. Time will tell, I suppose.

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"Things tend, in fact, to go wrong; part of the blame lies on the teachers of philosophy, who today teach us how to argue instead of how to live, part on their students, who come to the teachers in the first place with a view to developing not their character but their intellect. The result has been the transformation of philosophy, the study of wisdom, into philology, the study of words." - Lucius Seneca, Letters from a Stoic.


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