Source: YES YES NO NO via Adelante la Fe

Avvenire, October 11, 2017 : Pope Francis at the meeting promoted by the Council for the New Evangelization : "The death penalty is contrary to the Gospel."

Francisco's speech

Participating in the new Synod Hall, in the Vatican, at the meeting promoted by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the apostolic constitution Fidei Depositum by John Paul II, text accompanying the appearance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CIC], Pope Bergoglio made reference in his speech "to a topic that should find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CIC] a more adequate and coherent space. I think, in effect, in the death penalty, "he said, a problem that" can not be reduced to a mere memory of historical teaching without revealing not only the progress in the doctrine acted by the last Pontiffs, but also the changed conscience of the Christian people , who reject a consensual attitude towards a penalty that seriously harms human dignity . It must be affirmed with force that the condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates, whatever the way in which it is applied, the personal dignity - he continued -. It is in itself contrary to the Gospel because it voluntarily decides to eliminate a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of which God alone, in the final analysis, is true judge and guarantor ".

According to Francisco, "no man, not even the murderer, ever loses his personal dignity" (Letter to the President of the International Commission against the death penalty, March 20, 2015) [...]. Nobody , therefore, can be deprived not only of life , but of the same possibility of a moral and existential rescue that redundates again in favor of the community. " [...] For the Pope, "we are not in any contradiction with the teaching of the past, because the defense of the dignity of human life from the first moment of conception to natural death always found its voice in the teaching of the Church coherent and authorized. "

The harmonious development of the doctrine, however, "requires the abandoning of statements of position in defense of arguments that appear already decidedly contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth. It is necessary to reaffirm, therefore, that no matter how serious the crime committed may be, the death penalty is inadmissible because it threatens the inviolability and dignity of the person [...] ". Then, he added to leave the idea clearer that "Tradition is a living reality" and that "only a partial vision of the deposit of faith" can be considered as "something static" : "The Word of God can not be preserved in naphthalene as if it were an old blanket that must be protected against parasites! " [This last passage has not been offered by Avvenire , but only by Famiglia Cristiana , on October 10, 2017]. To the exclamation, the Pope has made follow a sonorous "No!". In effect, the "Word of God is a dynamic reality, always alive, that progresses and grows because it tends towards a fulfillment that men can not stop," he concluded.


The new teaching of Francisco on the death penalty contains, therefore, substantially, 4 elements to analyze:

Progress in doctrine on the part of the last Popes

1º) According to Pope Bergoglio there has been a progress in the doctrine: "licit death penalty" (CIC, 1992) - "illicit death penalty" (Francisco, 2015-2017) by the last Pontiffs, but this is evidently false because John Paul II taught in the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church (CIC) of 1992 that the death penalty is not always necessary, but it is lawful and applicable; Benedict XVI also taught this in the promulgation of the ICC Compendium in 2005. In addition, "from the origins of mankind, the death penalty has always been in force and no one has ever considered it unjust [...] only in the Enlightenment period. He began to doubt about the legality of the death penalty.

The reaction, more and more alive, was favored by the liberal mentality that prepared the French Revolution and undoubtedly was caused by the extreme ease with which it was used to inflict that pain [...]. In fact, the legislators demonstrated that the death penalty can neither be admitted nor excluded in an absolute way : the two theses pecan - respectively - of excessive pessimism and optimism towards human nature; that is, it can not be assumed that the citizen is everywhere and always a potential criminal or that everywhere and always a saint in act [...]. Subject to infinite influences, abusing agency, one can abandon the most uncontrolled excesses of selfishness and, therefore, be dangerous to society; and, enlightened by the most varied experiences, can not only reconsider, but mature to be sensitive to the demands of social life and respect their laws [by natural law]. If society is a perfect and autonomous legal person, as it has the right to live, prosper and preserve itself, it also has the right to defend itself against anyone who attempts to subvert its order threatening the common good.

Therefore, if he can defend himself only by eliminating his own enemy, the State can reject his aggression by inflicting the death penalty. Or, if the defense against the unjust aggressor is considered everywhere and always legitimate for the individual, even up to the case of violence eliminating the adversary, with more reason is legitimate for an entire Nation, which personifies all citizens and is committed to protecting their rights. Now, the self-defense of the individual responds to a law that is not written but natural , that we owe neither to education nor to Tradition nor to culture, but exclusively to nature by instinct ; it is she, therefore, which, in the event that our life is exposed to any attack or violence and the wounds of bandits or enemies, makes lawful any means to ensure our safety [...]. Therefore, if the Nation, to defend itself, could not punish with death the citizen who threatens to wound her subverting public order:

1º) for not doing violence to the violent ones, it would be violent against the innocents;

2nd) would make more insolent and incorrigible the criminals, encouraged to do evil by the weakness of the State;

3rd) would declare its own failure ... " [1] .

The dignity of the human person

2º) According to Francisco, the death penalty harms the dignity of the human person, but that is also false because Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Official Doctor of the Church) teaches that man, in sin, lapses from the close dignity of a person , still remaining the remote and radical dignity of human nature, and lowers himself to the level of the brute, destined to serve man as a useful means. Therefore, the incorrigible criminal deserves to be treated as a dangerous animal, so that he can be killed licitly and without sin for the common good [2] .

St. Thomas also explains that "The common good is superior to the particular good. Therefore, it is right to eliminate the private good in order to preserve the common good. But the life of some pestiferous men prevents the common good that is the concord of human society. Therefore, it is just that these men are eliminated with death by human society. [...] The doctor does something good and useful when he amputates a rotten organ that threatens to infect the entire body. Therefore, the Head of State also justly and without committing sin commits evil men, so that the peace of the State is not disturbed ... " [3] . For St. Thomas [4] the person is an "individual of a rational nature" or "subsisting in a rational nature".

Therefore, the person is a subject of a rational nature, that is, endowed with intellect and will; it exists and acts independently of another, it is autonomous in being (since, as a substance, it does not need another reality to rely on) and in acting (since, thanks to its rational nature, it addresses itself in the action, insofar as it owns its acts). The only one on whom it depends is God, its creator and conservator in being. St. Thomas explains that intellectual creatures are governed by God, as willed by themselves, while nonrational creatures are ordered to rational creatures. Naturally, this does not mean that man is not ordained to God, his ultimate goal, but only that, among creatures, the human person is the end of irrational beings, which must be served to reach God. They correspond to the person rights and duties, that is, the right to do what is necessary to achieve their own natural and supernatural purpose and the duty to do so. The person, by virtue of his rational nature, is capable of merit and demerit and, when he acts, he is obliged to choose the good and avoid evil, that is, to order his action to God and away from what deprives him of it. God.

As for the "dignity of the human person", it is necessary to distinguish, since dignity is a quality or "value" that confers a certain superiority (that not all have) to any and distinguishes it from others. Man has only relative dignity to non-rational creatures (minerals, vegetables and animals), but he does not have absolute dignity or by himself, as personalism affirms. The person has dignity only by virtue of human nature, in which it subsists, that is, human dignity is due to human nature and does not belong to the subject in itself; dignity belongs directly and in the first place to nature and secondarily to the person or subject that subsists in that rational nature. Speaking of "dignity of the human person" is not exact, it would be appropriate to say "dignity of human nature" in which the subject or the person subsists [5] .

Dignity is divided into

  1. to) radical-ontological: it is of the person who is rooted in a rational human nature. Therefore, radically all people are equal, insofar as they are all rooted in a human and rational nature, and only this dignity can not be lost;
  2. b) total-moral or practical : It is of the person taken totally, in his being and acting. The total dignity of the person is given by his acting, by his good works, while the bad ones deprive him of total human dignity. Not all men are equal, there is someone who does good and is good and who does evil and is bad. In effect, man's own work is to know the truth (intellect) and love or want the good (will). There will be total-moral dignity only if the person knows the truth and loves the good; whereas, if he adheres to error and loves evil, he loses total-moral dignity, although radically conserves human and rational nature.

Pope Leo XIII teaches: "The intellect and the will that adhere to error and evil fall from their native dignity and become corrupted" (Encyclical Immortale Dei , November 1, 1885). St. Thomas Aquinas writes: "With sin, man abandons the order of reason: for that reason he falls short of human dignity , which consists in being for oneself and in working for good; thus degenerating, in some way, into the servitude proper to the beasts, which implies subordination for the benefit of another (horse to the knight, sinner to Satan) [...] a bad man is worse than a beast " [6] . This principle justifies the death penalty inflicted by the Authority to those who have lost their total human dignity by committing the evil seriously.

Another practical consequence is that the right to act is founded only on the total dignity (the person in his act) and not on the radical dignity (the person subsisting in a rational nature). To act badly, adhering to error, means losing total dignity (which consists in doing good), even conserving the radical (human nature). There is therefore no right for the human person to profess the error and to do evil , based on the dignity of the person, who, working badly, loses the total dignity, which alone founded the right to act, although maintaining dignity radical, which refers to the individual and not to his works.

Erroneously, the personalism (Mounier, Maritain and now Bergoglio) affirms that the human person has an absolute dignity, not relative to the nature in which it subsists. Thus, the aberrant idea that the radical dignity of the person founds the right to act, the right to freedom to publicly express any thought has been imposed on many (Vatican Council II, Decree on "Religious Freedom", Dignitatis humanae personae , December 7, 1965); while sound philosophy teaches that when the person acts badly (intellectually or morally), he loses his total dignity (which refers to acting), even while maintaining the radical (which refers to being). The error has no rights. There is no right - which is such as based on the dignity of human nature - to publicly manifest error and do evil (Pius XII, Address to Italian Catholic Jurists , December 6, 1953).

The death penalty is contrary to the Gospel

3rd) According to Bergoglio, the death penalty in itself is contrary to the Gospel, but this is also false since "All Catholic exegetes agree that in the New Testament there is not a single mention that repeals the Old Law in reference to the death penalty " [7] . Jesus, in effect, did not come to abolish the Law, but to perfect it.

When the Gospel says that you do not have to face the enemy, but pray for him, offer him even the other cheek if necessary, "all this concerns moods and the effective attitude of the individual whenever it comes to their personal interests . [...] Teaching, therefore, can not be called prescriptive in a rigorous sense for everyone and for everyone; while it indicates only a horizon to which everyone must go to rise. [...] A full, unconditional and effective adherence to the spirit of the Gospel does not eliminate in our neighbor the right to be loved, protected and defended by us against all the threats of evil. [...] Who can be so incoherent to harden, precisely out of love for Christ, even to consent to a brute to kill a child, even though he can prevent aggression? It is absurd to invoke a Gospel of nonviolence, it would be the most ridiculous and irritating caricature of Christianity [...]. What is said about the individual is worth more for the State, which should protect life, honor, property, the freedom of citizens against all unjust aggressors, resorting - if necessary - even to force. In this the doctrine of St. Paul excludes all doubt: "Rulers should not be feared when good is done, but when evil is done. Do you want not to fear authority? Do good ... But if you do evil, fear then, because not in vain does she carry the sword; it is, in fact, at the service of God for the just condemnation of those who work evil " ( Rom ., XIII, 3-4). [...] Gospel meekness [...] should not be confused with tolerance exercised as passivity and submission to those who want evil " [8] . Moreover, the good thief, reproaching the wicked, says explicitly: "We, at least, have been condemned justly for our crimes, but he has done no wrong" ( Lc. , XXIII, 41).

Finally, St. Thomas Aquinas affirms that the public power does not violate the fifth Commandment ("You shall not kill the innocent") if it kills the criminal or the enemies of the State [9] . The reason is that, if it is lawful to have your foot amputated to save the entire body, the Society is much more likely to eliminate a citizen who destroys the common good and public tranquility: "laudabiliter et salubriter occiditur ut bonum commune conservetur" / "Laudable and salutary is killed so that the common good may be preserved" [10] . This is why the State can inflict the death penalty on the guilty party, without harming the Gospel and the fifth Commandment "You shall not kill the innocent".

There is no contradiction between the two teachings, but development

4th) According to Francisco, there would be no contradiction between his teaching ("always illicit death penalty") and traditional teaching ("licit death penalty") because today the value and dignity of the human person has been better understood and, that "Tradition" is "a living reality" , "only a partial vision of the deposit of faith" can be considered as "something static": "The Word of God can not be preserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket that must be protected against parasites! ". But here the modernist conception of the heterogeneous evolution of dogma is discovered in Bergoglio. Indeed, according to Bergoglio, "Tradition" is "alive" and therefore the death penalty, which has been constantly taught as lawful (not always due) by the Church (until the CIC of 1992 and the Compendium of the CIC of 2005 ), would be in itself contrary to the Divine Revelation, to the Faith and to the Moral, that is, to the Gospel and to the Commandments of God.

Now, dogma, in a material sense , is a dogmatic truth (for example, God is One and Triune) or moral (for example, the 5th Commandment: "You will not kill the innocent") contained in the two Sources of Revelation ( Sacred Scripture and Tradition), which do not evolve in themselves or intrinsically, but can only be better deepened by the Magisterium and by the faithful, that is, they evolve only extrinsically; in a formal sense , the dogma is the truth proposed as revealed by the Magisterium of the Church with the obligation to believe in it; therefore, the dogma is a divine truth, revealed by God (material dogma) and also defined by the Church (formal dogma) and, therefore, immutable (Vatican Council I, DB, 1800). Now, the legality of the death penalty is found both in the Sacred Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) and in the Tradition (the Commentaries of the Fathers to the Sacred Scripture) besides that in the Magisterium until the CIC of 1992-2005 . Modernism, on the other hand, considers dogma a symbol or a purely sensible and imaginative representation of the subjective religious sentiment of the individual believer in perennial development, that is, in intrinsic evolution (the dogma evolves in itself), heterogeneous or substantial (it passes from one truth to another essentially different truth). St. Pius X condemned these opinions (Encyclical Pascendi , DB 2026 ff., Decree Lamentabili , DB 2079 ff.), As well as Pius XII (Encyclical Humani generis , August 12, 1950).

In fact, according to Catholic doctrine, dogma can not undergo intrinsic changes (the truth that changes in itself) and substantial (from one truth is passed to another essentially different, for example "death penalty law" - "death penalty" illicit "), but it is possible to admit an evolution on the part of the faithful and the Magisterium (not on the part of the dogma itself) in the deepening knowledge of it and in the formulation or expression more and more precise (extrinsic evolution , subjective and homogeneous dogma, which passes from a truth to the same truth, but known and expressed more deeply and precisely through dogmatic formulas defined and taught by the Magisterium of the Church, as the meaning of the truths has been better penetrated revealed contained in the Deposit of the faith or in the two sources of the divine Revelation.

For example, until the twelfth century, the term "transubstantiation" did not exist, it was believed, however, also that with the consecration of bread and wine at Mass the bread ceased to be such and became the Body of Jesus Christ; in the XI-XII century, with the controversy against Berengario de Tours († 1088), which denied the reality of "transubstantiation", it was defined better and more precisely, but in the same sense or homogenously, than with the consecration "transubstantiation" takes place.

This is the homogeneous, extrinsic and subjective evolution of dogma, that is to say: 1st) extrinsic to dogma; 2º) subjective, that is, within the subject external to the dogmatic truth; 3º) homogeneous, that is, that evolves in the same sense and meaning although more in-depth and not moving from one truth to another substantially different [eleven] . According to the modernists, the material dogma and the dogmatic formula defined by the Magisterium do not have a theoretical value that really knows the revealed truth, but only a symbolic or representative / imaginative value of religious feeling, which becomes a practical norm of action or experience. religious.

For example, when the Church defines God as Father, this formula has no cognitive value: it does not mean that Fatherhood really belongs to God and is adequate to Him so that He is really Father; but, as the human intellect can not know what is truly God and objective reality (agnosticism), then it is represented symbolically as a Father so that we behave as his children. In this way, modernism empties the objective and real value of human natural knowledge and faith as the supernatural adherence of the intellect to a revealed and defined dogma.

Now, if it is true that human language and dogmatic formulas can not fully express the divine things, but only by analogy, it is inadmissible, however, to abandon the analogy by equivocation and fall into theological nihilism or apophatism and in the philosophical agnosticism. Therefore, the dogma expresses above all a truth that must be believed and consequently a norm of action and for this the Magisterium has condemned the modernist symbolism (Decree Lamentabili , DB 2022 and 2026) [12] .


The speech of Francisco on the death penalty is seriously erroneous, since it denies the doctrine revealed and defined on the legality of the capital punishment and goes against the instinct and the natural Law, that make due and not only lawful the legitimate defense of the that derive the concepts of just war and the death penalty:

1º) Attempting to pass the new erroneous doctrine through a progress or deepening of the understanding of the absolute dignity of the human person;

2) Affirming that the death penalty is in itself contrary to the Gospel, thus teaching a "different Gospel" to the one revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Apostles (cf Gal ., I, 8 ff.); 3º) teaching the heterogeneous, intrinsic and substantial evolution of dogma, especially when it says that "Tradition" is "a living reality" and that "only a partial vision of the deposit of Faith" can be considered as "something static": "The Word of God can not be preserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket that must be protected against parasites!" Well, that is false, more so, modernist, heretical.

Indeed, the Tradition is not alive as neither is the Sacred Scripture and does not evolve in itself, but only the Magisterium is alive, since, in the person of the reigning Pope, the ecclesiastical Magisterium teaches and responds as a living person to the questions and doubts that are raised by the Pastors and the faithful. The concept of living Tradition, living Scripture and living Revelation is typically modernist.

Unfortunately, we must note that Francisco is objectively modernist and considers that the doctrine of the Church is in perennial and constant substantial evolution, intrinsic and heterogeneous.

For that reason it is due to correct it filially, but without pretending to depose it and to choose another Pope, since "the First Headquarters is not judged by any man", but it can be it only by God. Therefore, at this painful juncture we must pray to the Lord to convert or call Yes to Francis. Indeed, St. Thomas Aquinas ( IV Sent. , Dist. 19, q. 2, a.2, qc 1, 3, ad 2) teaches: "The bad prelate can be corrected by the inferior, who resorts to the superior by denouncing him. , and if he does not have a superior, he will turn to God to correct him or remove him from the face of the earth / if he will not have a superior, recourse to Deum, qui eum emendet, vel of half subtrahat " . Since the Pope does not have a human superior, the only remedy is his conversion or his good death.



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