Skip to comments.Scalia Questions Catholic Opposition to Death Penalty
Posted on 02/05/2002 10:58:18 AM PST by meandog
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The RCC's continued and ardent desire to have a female goddess (as the other pagan religions do) is reflected in the international Catholic movement Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, which is seeking to encourage the papal definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.
I can well understand your embarassment at such foolish (and likely soon-to-be-'infallible') 'additions' to the Gospel of the Bible. But it is the natural consequence of allowing men to create their own religion and then call it 'infallible'.
Mary was a good woman who was used by God (as, in other ways, we all can be). She died and, hopefully, went to Heaven. (Since, BTW, God doesn't know anything of a 'purgatory' or 'penances' or 'rosaries' or other (readily purchasable) bargaining chips and devices created by the RCC. God recognizes those who accept His Son and no others.) End of (His)Story.
And it's a safe bet you have never read a single word of the theology behind that, which is profoundly Biblical, authentic, true, Christian, and right. You speak out of ignorance and prejudice and nothing else, except when you speak out of malice.
I have no idea what an "autonomist" is, nor do I care. However, if you think that laws define morality and obedience to laws, even bad laws, is automatically moral, you have problems that I cannot even begin to address.
Anyone whose obedience is not first to the moral law is not worthy to be a judge. I believe we discovered that in 1973.
Here are the relevant excerpts from Evangelium Vitae
55. This should not cause surprise: to kill a human being, in whom the image of God is present, is a particularly serious sin. Only God is the master of life! Yet from the beginning, faced with the many and often tragic cases which occur in the life of individuals and society, Christian reflection has sought a fuller and deeper understanding of what God's commandment prohibits and prescribes.(43) There are in fact situations in which values proposed by God's Law seem to involve a genuine paradox. This happens for example in the case of legitimate defence, in which the right to protect one's own life and the duty not to harm someone else's life are difficult to reconcile in practice. Certainly, the intrinsic value of life and the duty to love oneself no less than others are the basis of a true right to self-defence. The demanding commandment of love of neighbour, set forth in the Old Testament and confirmed by Jesus, itself presupposes love of oneself as the basis of comparison: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself " (Mk 12:31). Consequently, no one can renounce the right to self-defence out of lack of love for life or for self. This can only be done in virtue of a heroic love which deepens and transfigures the love of self into a radical self-offering, according to the spirit of the Gospel Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:38-40). The sublime example of this self-offering is the Lord Jesus himself.
Moreover, "legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the State".(44) Unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason.(45)
56. This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God's plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence".(46) Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.(47)
It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.
In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person".(48)
To my knowledge the Catholic church has never had a pope speaking ex cathedra (Out of the chair infallibly)saying the death penalty is immoral. The church has supported the death penalty for many years. To now change the opinion on a basic moral question would make the church a laughing stock.
I have said it before on FR the pope and bishops when expressing their personal feel good opinions should be challenged by rank and file catholics. The clergy are no more catholic than you are. Don't take their liberal bullsh*t.
And while I am at it, why don't you resign Cardinal Law. You are a disgrace as a catholic. - Tom
Your post was making alot of sense until you got to the part about Martin Luther. It's amazing how Protestants will scream that all Catholics do is blindly follow the Pope, and then they call on all Protestants to follow EXACTLY what Martin Luther wanted on every issue that confronts him. Interesting double standard you have. Protestants ran around paranoid that JFK (who was only margincally "Catholic" was somehow "control" by the Pope (LMAO! JFK never meet the Pope and never wanted to!), but when devout baptist Jimmmy Carter ran from President, no Catholic complained that Martin Luther's teachings would "control" him. (which they didn't, even though he CAMPAIGNED like they would)
And it's funny how you would use the death penelty to bring up Martin Luther. It just so happens that the Catholic church RE-AFFIRMED their support for the death penelty when the convined the Council of Trent. Alot of us Catholics would perfer the church return to it's stances of the COUNTER reformation era, rather than those of the Vatican II era. Still, even with a couple "liberal" platforms, the Catholic church today is probably STILL more conservative than half the other Christian churches out there.
It just so happens that in "the bible", Jesus specifically states that PETER and HIS successors will be the spokesman for the church AFTER Christ is gone. (Peter became the first bishop of Rome...guess who holds the title NOW?) That's the section you Protestants like to ignore, while nevertheless complaining that Catholics pay no attention to the bible.
Hmmm-m-m-m, wonder why popes during the Spanish Inquisition had no problem with this?
Ah --- right. Perhaps one citation to the Bible. I know that's alot to ask. How about one.
Look, I know that's unfair and rhetorical. The RCC does not feel bound to Biblical Christianity. It believes it can work with whole cloth and make up any crazy doctrine it wishes. If it did believe itself restricted to Biblical Christiantity, there would be no 'perpetual virginity' of Mary, no praying to Mary, no rosaries, no purgatory, no sale of indulgences, no 'transubstantiation', no pope, no papal 'infallability'. Golly, I guess what would be left would be Jesus Christ and Him alone -- and that, as Martha Stewart would say, would be 'a good thing.'
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Mat 16:18-19
Sorry I dont see Christ creating a special office of Pope or any mention of his successors. I think based solely on that passage it requires a tortured hermeneutic to support papal authority.
But thats the dilemma isnt it. The Pope claims thats what it means and it means that what he says it means it means. If biblical authority is used to create papal authority then which authority is the highest authority? Or when does the Pope have the authority to supersede biblical authority? As a reformed protestant I realize that all earthly authority must submit to Gods authority, not vise versa.
OK, one more time.
1. Ad hominem arguments are not helpful. I do not "hate mankind" (i.e. a misanthrope). I do not have a 'problem with my mother', except that I can't see her anymore. She died of Alzheimers three years ago.
2. Man-made doctrines involving long-dead women cannot provide 'maternal influence'. That is why God gave us mothers -- and their 'maternal influence.'
3. I am not sure why it is 'so funny' that Christians base "all beliefs on Scripture". But that is true. And the reason is a lack of any other reliable evidence of the Person of Jesus Christ.
4. Your statement that Christians "ignore the facts of who assembled the [B]ible" contains a false premise, i.e. that some authorative person or group did that -- and they didn't. The manuscripts which circulated in the late first century and early second were not 'assembled' but rather individual letters. It was only when other non-authorative 'church' writings began to circulate in the mid-second century when Marcion, a bishop of Rome (oops :-)) began making 'helpful' (infalliable? :-)) changes to the original ciruclating letters which are now the New Testament in an effort to further his view that the OT was opposed to the NT. (Boy, does Marcion have some spiritual heirs in the RCC or what? And what about that funny guy, Mohammed? He sure tried to make some 'helpful' changes too.)
In any event, other groups of Christians began accumlating the writings of the Gospels, the Acts, the Pauline letters (or those thought to be his), even the catholic epistles (don't get your hopes up, fellows, that's 'catholic' with a small "c").
Some of the second century Christians had other non-apostolic books which they liked and thought ought to be authorative. [For example, Origen really liked the Shepherd of Hermas, a non-scriptural book found in some of our earliest codexes such as Codex Sinaiticus.]
[BTW, you RCC guys would really like the "Shepherd of Hermas" because there are lots of visions with women giving all kinds of authorative instruction (and you might even say 'maternal influence') and there is even one little passage that seems to presage the development of a concept of 'purgatory'. Unfortunately, poor Hermas' vision only allowed one, repeat one, major sin to each Christian after becoming a Christian and you can't really make much of a market for indulgences if each Christian only gets one sin to be worked off in some 'purgatory'-like setting. So poor ol' Hermas' work product fell into disuse.]
But the important point here is that the writings which ultimately became the NT came about because of consensus amoung Christian beleivers and all, repeat all, were written (or, more accurately, thought to be written) by the apostles of the first century. Other good and thoughtful writings which were circulating at the same time (which today we call "the apostolic fathers") were excluded by common consent. No meetings, no conventions, no caucuses, no 'papal bulls.' Just good and faithful followers of the Person of Christ making the obvious choice that those closest in time and affiliation to Jesus Himself (or the Apostles, such as Mark to Peter) were reliable. [There was some considerable dispute about Hebrews, the catholic epistles and Revelation on a variety of grounds.]
By the close of the second century however, there was general agreement on the books in the NT. But it wasn't for another 170 years that any 'church council' took any action. At that time, the Synod at Laodicea seems to have taken some action. [This 'synod' by the way includes about 30 unspecified men. Not a huge group.] "Seems" because the earlier 'minutes' of their meetings simply say "no 'uncanonical' books should be read in church." However, later versions of the 'minutes' include a list of the 26 books omitting Revelation for the NT.
Now, the guy the RCC really has to hate is a 6th century bishop in Rome named Gelasius. He only held office for 4 years and only did one thing that we know of -- he published a list of the 27 books of the NT and the current books of the OT -- but and this is where he really made life tough for the RCC, he listed some 600 (!!) books which were NOT scriptural. Obviously, he didn't know (oops, not 'infallible'?) that the RCC would want to continue to manufacture ear-tickling, people-pleasing doctrine after doctrine for the next 1500 years and could really have used some of the phony books on his list of outlawed phony books. For example, there were a bunch of books trying to re-style Mary as some sort of goddess (sound familiar?)with special powers and position, like trees bowing down to her and that sort of thing. One or two even tried to give her the title of "Mother of God." Unfortunately (for the RCC) Galasias said 'they're phony books' and ruled them out. [What a party-pooper, he.]
5. Christians certainly don't "ignore the wisdom of the apostles who wrote Acts through Revelation." Ironically, the counter-reformation which led the charge against even reading the Scriptures made precisely the opposite charge, that Christians (who read the Scriptures) would be putting too much emphasis on the Acts-Revelation books. Not true by the way.
More seriously, here's the bottom line: Jesus Christ is the central Figure of His-story. What happens to all of us -- eternally -- depends entirely on what we do in response to His claims about Himself and upon us. Men (not just the RCC certainly, but including the RCC, the Mormons, the Mohammadans, the Jehovah's Witnesses, ad infinitum) have never been satisfied with the simple claims of Jesus and His Gospel. They always seem to want to add some little (or big) doo-dad here or there. ("Other people's religions have goddesses, why can't we have one?" "How can we make budget if we can't have a good indulgence sale now and again?" "See, I found these gold plates in a hill --- but I don't have them anymore." "I think we ought to have some really pretty robes and some secret dispensations that only we can give out.")
But all that clap-trap doesn't change the Person of Jesus Christ. He stands athwart History and warns that none of the rest of the man-made stuff had better cause one of His 'little ones' to stumble. So, that's why those "so funny" Christians try to follow Him and keep it just as simple as He made it -- in the Bible.
1. I am sorry you saw fit not to post your "rebuttle." I am sure it would have been inventive. I am sorry I have not seen a tract in years, but historical facts are facts. More importantly, the Word of God is, indeed, the Word of God.
2. I do not have contempt for Mary; I just don't pray to her. She is dead. Similarly, Peter, Paul, Mark, John, Luke, etc. All valuable instruments of God in this life, but all are dead. Only Jesus was raised from the dead. Only Jesus sits at the right hand of God. We know this because, as you quaintly (and quite redundantly) put it, we are all 'Bible Christians' -- or Christians not at all. We have no other information on Christ and His Message.
3. I know there are many Christians in the RCC -- those who are resolved and determined "to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" -- despite the misleading accretions which have been allowed to encrust and hobble the Gospel in that human organization. I praise God for those Christians. And if they are happy there -- as you appear to be -- and can maintain their love for Christ without pollution in such a difficult setting, more power to them. Certainly that organization -- like any human organization -- needs the leaven of true Christians.
4. Almost every other human organization suffers some such frailties in attempting to encapsulate the Biblical message of Christ, but -- and this is the reason it is worth taking the time to discuss it -- not all have corrupted that core message with human 'traditions' and accretions to the same degree. Like the original woodwork in an old house, the RCC has painted and repainted and repainted with human invention to the degree that, short of stripping away all the accretions, it is difficult indeed to yet discern the Original Design. If you once knew the Message of Christ as He is known to us in God's Word, then perhaps you can be part of bringing that 'Original Design' through the corrupting encrustments of man-made misdirection "so that the cross of Christ would not be made void." I surely hope so.
5. Finally, I would covet your prayers to God and to Jesus Christ, His Son. But, if once you knew God's Word, your heart must still know that prayers to long dead people -- no matter how useful to God they were in this life -- are a waste of valuable time you could use in communing with the Person of Christ. No more effective than the 'prayers' of the heathen witch doctor to pagan spirits, such will only bounce about the beautiful buildings your church often owns.
Blessings to you.
Anyway, here is a transcript of Scalias comments on the death penalty
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