Pope Francis’ carelessness undermines credibility of other Popes . . .

  • Wow, the Magisterium got it totally wrong all this time
  • His pronouncements call into question the reliability of longstanding, indeed original Christian doctrine justified by scripture

Pope wants Catholic opposition to death penalty increased 

– Essentially declaring his opinions the correct ones, Pope Francis labelled the Church’s current position in support of “judicial” capital punishment, in appropriate circumstances, to be “doctrinal errors”!

– How many other long-standing tenets of the Roman Catholic Church are “erroneous” in the view of Il Papa?

As the Vatican’s “chattiest” Pope in modern times:

– He has been an outspoken opponent of capitalism, sovereign borders, fossil fuels, Donald Trump, the United States itself…

– Pope Francis has also established himself as a supporter of “social justice” and “liberation theology”, an ideology which opposes the concept of private property, and portrayed himself as essentially, not an opponent of Marxism.

– the Vicar of Christ has also come very close to correcting what he must perceive as a Church doctrine “oversight” in failing to condemn “climate change deniers” as sinners seriously in need of redemption!

– We await the Pontiff’s opinions on gun control (we can guess), the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and the NFL’s active disrespect for the symbols of a free and compassionate America, as well as any other “doctrinal errors” the Church has made over the last few centuries. (He may also have thoughts on Harvey Weinstein he’ll want to share.)       DLH

Related reading:

By  Pete Baklinski  writing at LifeSite News  (bold emphasis ours)
Pope ‘seems to be contradicting traditional teaching’ on death penalty: Catholic prof  

October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ recent statements about the death penalty being “contrary to the Gospel” seem to be a departure from previous Catholic teaching, a Catholic professor says.

“When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” said Dr. Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in California, to LifeSiteNews.

Pope Francis made his controversial remarks during an October 11 speech to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II (read full speech here).

Dr. Feser is an expert on the morality of capital punishment. Together with Dr. Joseph M. Bessette, who is an ethicist at Claremont McKenna College in California, he published in March a Catholic defense of capital punishment titled By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed.

“The Church teaches that scripture is divinely inspired, that it cannot teach error where matters of faith and morals are concerned, and that it must always be interpreted in the way the Church traditionally has understood it. But many passages of scripture clearly teach that capital punishment is legitimate, and have always been interpreted by the Church as teaching this,” he said.

Both the Old and New Testaments indicate that the death penalty can be legitimate. For instance, Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Or again, St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans teaches that the state “does not bear the sword in vain (but) is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Feser said previous popes have “consistently” reaffirmed the legitimacy of capital punishment and have “insisted that accepting its legitimacy is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy.”

One such pope would be Pius XII, who in 1955 defended the authority of the State to punish crimes, even with the death penalty. He argued that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture because “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” is based on “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.”

“Even Pope St. John Paul II taught that capital punishment is not always and absolutely wrong,” said Feser.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his classic defense of capital punishment in the Summa Theologica, argued that “if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good.”

The Catholic professor said the Church also has “always taught that popes are obligated to preserve traditional teaching and never to contradict it.

“When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” he said.

“If that is what he is doing, then he is flirting with doctrinal error, which is possible when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra, even though it is extremely rare. There are only a handful of cases in Church history of popes who are possibly guilty of this, the best known cases being those of Pope Honorius and Pope John XXII,” he added.

Feser said that if Pope Francis is reversing past teaching on capital punishment, then he is “implicitly saying that every previous pope and scripture itself were wrong.”

“This would completely undermine the authority of the Church, and of Pope Francis himself. For if the Church could be that wrong for that long about something that serious, why trust anything else she says? And if all previous popes have been so badly mistaken, why should we think Pope Francis is right?” he said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible.

“The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense … 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,” states the Catechism (bold added).

The Catholic professor said that if what the Pope said is true that he, in the Pope’s own words, is “not in any way contradicting past teaching” and that his statements “in no way represents a change in doctrine,” then he “ought to issue a clarification, so as to ensure the credibility of the Church’s claim to preserve the deposit of faith.”

The Pope said during his speech that he would like the Catechism of the Catholic Church to change, adding that only a “partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static.”

The “harmonious development of doctrine demands that we cease to defend arguments that now appear clearly contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth,” the Pope said.

So new understandings control, the judgement of generations is not something actually on deposit, it is nothing to bank on. Doctrine is then dependent not on universal truths as revealed, just emanations from whichever Pope takes it upon himself to interpret and upset?

One Pope’s pronouncements, supposedly in concert with the Magesterium, are opinions which another pope has no duty to uphold. By Pope Francis’ words, visions of truth are always partial, a play on Paul through a glass darkly, — except when it comes to his visions which are better, more encompassing and available to be called doctrine should he choose to do so?

The question arises — if scripture supposedly remains the basis — how so?  We are now told the meaning depends on the emphasis of the moment. The newer interpretations are the more advanced visions, presumably immune from corruption?

If emphasis is to vary on fairly clear matters, thus determining doctrine, there is not much to depend on in scripture.  Different day, different emphasis.

The result is a cacophony of different emphasis, — a biblical babel.  And who is to determine the superiority of one group’s “emphasis” over another? Perhaps by what side the Pope gets out of bed on?

The Pope in his no death penalty argument opines ~~ The execution of a human being was fundamentally against the teachings of Christ because, by definition, it excluded the possibility of redemption, he argued.  Excluded the possibility of redemption!

Excluded the possibility of redemption!  How profoundly presumptive, no, far worse , God limiting!   The person convicted of capital crime has the opportunity to repent and be saved. No sin is unforgivable should God decide to do so. Capitol punishment as it is undertaken by the state is not the result of summary execution or even summary judgement with no time prior to execution.  How can a pope be so lacking in basic Christology and essentially dishonest about capitol punishment as an earthly reckoning?  His comments come off as the theology of  modernism and the perfectibility of man and that this life is all there is  — ignoring the Bible’s injunctions, acknowledgments, prescriptions and promises if they do not quite fit currently politically correct predilections and corruptions.       R Mall

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One Response to Pope Francis’ carelessness undermines credibility of other Popes . . .

  1. DLH says:

    Perhaps, Roger, we are forgetting that Pope Francis has “a pen and a phone”…and a raft of opinions on lots of things he wishes to ‘authoritatively’ share with his ‘flock’.

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