Recently, Pope Francis released a statement concerning the death penalty and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Pope’s statements, which can be read here, have upset many Catholics because while not altering Church teaching on the death penalty, they give the impression that Church teaching on settled issued of divine revelation has or has the potential to be subject to change:
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the death penalty now is no longer admissible under any circumstances.
The Vatican announced on Thursday Pope Francis approved changes to the compendium of Catholic teaching published under Pope John Paul II.
“The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church now on the death penalty, with the addition that the Church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”
This is a departure from what the document, approved under Pope John Paul II in 1992, says on the matter: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”
The former formula does stipulate that if non-lethal means are sufficient to protect people’s safety from the aggressor, then authority must limit itself to it, as these “are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”
In 1997, the Catechism was changed to reflect John Paul’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
The addition said that the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
The statement released by the Vatican’s press office on Thursday says that Francis approved the new changes to point number 2267 of the Catechism on May 11, 2018, during a meeting with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Spanish Cardinal Luis Ladaria.
As it’s been re-written, the Catechism now also says that “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.”
Yet today, “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,” reads the Catechism now, as it was approved by Francis.
It’s for this reason, and “in light of the Gospel,” that the Church teaches that the practice is now inadmissible.
Together with the revised number 2267 of the Catechism, the Vatican released a letter by Ladaria addressed to the bishops.
In it, he explains the decision, saying it was Francis who on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism, had asked for the teaching on the death penalty to be reformulated to “better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point.”
The pope’s words came on Oct. 11, when Francis said that capital punishment “heavily wounds human dignity” and is an “inhuman measure.”
“It is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor,” he said.
According to Ladaria, the new formulation of the Catechism expresses “an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.”
He then explains that previous Church teaching with regards to the death penalty can be explained in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and “had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.”
Marking down the development, Ladaria quotes from Francis’s two immediate predecessors, first saying that John Paul II’s document Evangelium vitae is key in this development of the doctrine. In it, the Polish pope enumerated the signs of hope for a new culture of life, including “a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of ‘legitimate defense’ on the part of society.”
Criminals, the late pontiff wrote, shouldn’t be “definitively” denied the chance to reform. It was this document, as Ladaria points out in his letter, that led to the first change in the Catechism on this issue, saying the cases in which the death penalty is justified are, in reality, “practically non-existent.”
Ladaria then goes on to say that John Paul’s commitment to the abolition of the death penalty was then continued by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty.”
He closes the 10-point letter saying that the new formulation wants to infuse energy towards a “decisive commitment to favor a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect.” (source)
There is one line that was added to canon 2267 by Francis of particular interest:
2267. 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”.
Curiously, at the same time, the “Catholic” Archiocese of Canberra in Australia has released a statement saying that it is going to take steps to illegitimately legitimize the LGBT in the church as well as permit for the illegal ordination of women, both of which are things that are manifestly in contradiction of the Faith:
An Australian Catholic archdiosese has drafted a document outlining what they picture to be the “future of the Catholic Church,” and it involves “a more inclusive church” that welcomes LGBT people. The document also proposes “women deacons and women chaplains,” and “married priests,” both of which have historically been prohibited in the Catholic Church.
The document proposing such changes was drafted by the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in preparation for the countrywide Plenary Council in 2020. A plenary council is a term used in the Catholic Church to refer to a meeting between bishops and archbishops of a certain country under the supervision of a papal legate, where representatives discuss changes that should be made to the Church. Bishops are calling the meeting the “highest form of gathering of local church and has legislative and governance authority.” Historically, some decisions made by plenary councils are extended to the universal Church. (source)
The Americans are also contributing to the rise of heresy by supporting the illegal use of women in holy orders:
A new survey has found that the majority of U.S. Catholic religious orders believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons, lending support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the church.
Seventy-seven percent of both male and female superiors in the U.S. believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 percent think the church should go ahead and authorize it, according to the study released Thursday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.
Advocates for expanding the ministry to include women say doing so would provide women with greater role in the ministry and governance of the church, while also helping address the effects of the Catholic priest shortage in parts of the world by allowing women to perform some priestly functions.
Opponents say ordaining women to the deaconate would signal the start of a slippery slope toward ordaining women to the priesthood. The Catholic Church reserves the priesthood for men, saying Christ chose only men as his 12 apostles. Pope Francis has repeatedly reaffirmed the teaching.
Francis did, however, authorize the creation of a commission to study the role of women deacons in the early church in 2016, responding to a request from the International Union of Superior’s General, the Rome-based association representing the leadership of the world’s women’s religious orders.
The commission’s work has been shrouded in secrecy and it’s not clear if or when its findings will be made public.
In the meantime, the church is pressing ahead with the issue. A recent preparatory document for the Vatican’s 2019 summit of bishops on the Amazon called for church leaders to identify new “official ministries” for women to play in the Amazon, which has been afflicted by an acute shortage of priests.
That suggests that the diaconate for women could be on the table at the meeting, though there are other “lay” ministries open to women as well.
The CARA survey of U.S. religious orders was conducted from January-May and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.55 percentage points. About half of the 777 religious superiors replied to written questions and follow-up from researchers. The center said the 385 responses it did receive “strongly resemble” the overall pool of potential respondents.
The survey found that 76 percent of responders believed that ordaining women as deacons would benefit the church’s mission. Eighty-four percent believed that doing so would increase calls for ordaining women as priests.
From the start of his pontificate, Francis has insisted that women must have a greater role in the life of the church and greater say in its decision-making — while reaffirming that they cannot be priests. He has said repeatedly that he values the “feminine genius,” that there’s no reason why a woman couldn’t head certain Vatican offices and that the church hierarchy would do well to hear more from women’s perspectives. (source)
In light of the absolute mess that is what has become the state of Rome, it is a good time to review some points about the state of the Church.
First, is that divinely revealed truth does not change, ever. Pope Francis can say whatever he wants. He can pronounce whatever he wants. However, if it does not accord with the settled teachings of the Church in that it contradicts teaching on faith and morals, then it must be rejected.
Second, is that to the above statement, one cannot arbitrarily reject statements without clear, irrefutable proof such activity having taken place. Just because something gives the impression that it is or could be heterodox does not mean that it is and one must work to see the most morally legitimate understanding of it that is possible.
Third, again referring to the above, is that Francis and his questionable supporters in the hierarchy (see cardinals Kasper and Marx, both not coincidentally from Germany) are using liberally written and sometimes unclear statements that while in themselves not morally inadmissible, have the potential to be interpreted privately by the public or even other members of the hierarchy that Church teaching has changed and so to give license to such changes by a slow process of public acceptance while ignoring questions for clarification (see the Dubia scandal of recent times).
Fourth, is that even if the pope and all of the entire hierarchy of the church were to fall into heresy, it would not change the teachings of the faith. It would be the same if all the governments of the world were to declare that gravity does not exist and to pass laws against saying that gravity exists, because no matter what one says, gravity does exist and the proof comes when one jumps off a building.
Fifth, is that Christ Himself promised St. Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail over His Church:
Sixth, and to the previous point, is that if the hierarchy refuses to do its job to preserve the teachings of the Faith, then the laity historically intervenes to do the job of the bishops. However, if the laity either does not step up or cannot step up due to restrictions places upon them- and the reality is that both factors are involved in the situation that is taking place today- then God will step in and clean up the mess. Europe is already close to another major war, and given the union and rise of Germany and Turkey with US assistance, and how both Germany and Turkey have sacked Italy before, that it is very possible that a unified Turco-Teutonic force will again attack and lay waste to Rome, the New Jerusalem, which has become like Sodom and Egypt.
Seventh, is that no matter what happens, the Church is not going to disappear, and that all will be made right. As Jesus says in Matthew 24:13, “he who perseveres to the end will be saved,” but at the same time, “when the Son of Man returns, will He find Faith on the Earth” (Luke 18:8)?
It is important that Catholics stand up for their Faith and those who would manipulate it. That said, it is also time for those who do believe to prepare themselves, because at this point the proverbial “fox running the henhouse” is taking place and it is not improving, and the punishment for this apostasy will be war and destruction.
Get you own soul in a morally acceptable state, and also start preparing your temporal state. Reduce debt, spend less, learn to repair what you have instead of purchasing new and learn to care for your own food. Keep the Faith alive and do not engage in most debates, not because one should not stand for what one believes in, but that most do not care and now is not the time to waste energy on those who want to fight before listening with a genuine mind.
Again, I do not want to give the impression not to help others. This would be very wrong. However, one cannot help others if one cannot help oneself. Any help given to others must be made in the context of getting the self ready because one does not save a man from drowning by allowing oneself to drown, but first helping oneself and then either having already done or in the process of doing this, helping another as one is able to.
The sin of sodom is still a sin that cries out for vengeance and is worthy of death. Female clergy never were, are, or will be legitimately ordained.
If they are “ordained”, or if the sin of the LGBT is permitted, not only is it illegal, but it is a sign of the impending wrath of God against the world and those in His Church who have refused to do their job.
Prepare yourselves accordingly.