The Readings for the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
Saturday in the 17th Week of Ordinary Time (B2)
So, you have to be careful if you want to speak about The City… make it look like you’re saying something else.
The Holy Father is again taking flak from the right. At issue is a recent change to the Catechism. Now, first and foremost the Catechism is not an infallible document. It’s edited and changed as needed.
2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should 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.
Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.‘[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.] Emphasis added
A proposed revision to paragraph 2267 reads, in full:
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,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. Again, emphasis added.
The issue is the application, not the teaching. The govt has legitimate rights and powers. But salvation is more important. In this way we return to the early stance of radical support for the Gospel: where even the monastic fathers of Egypt said it was better to hide a criminal from the police, and so give him a chance to repent, than to turn him over. The latter would only mean his death. It is selfish to waste someone else’s soul for a false sense of security. They were speaking of a Christian govt in a Christian empire. It’s not that way now, not at all, not here nor anywhere. We have a duty to protect lives.
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