“HEY! Wait for me!” Latin of change to CCC 2267 about capital punishment now available.

You have to wonder who is running things.

Some of you of a certain age will remember going to the circus and seeing the classic clown car.  A tiny car would zoom out into the light and an impossible, Newtonian physics defying number of clowns would get out.  In big pants and huge red shoes these clowns would chase each other around for a while with noise-making bats, bottles of seltzer water, and oogah horns.  Then, after some clownish hijinx and delivering a few face pies, they’d somehow all pile back into the little car and, with a loud, farting backfire – BLAM! – go hurtling off with swerves into the darkness.

Almost as an afterthought or a sort of, “Ooops! Didn’t anyone remember the official language, Latin?” the Holy See Clown Car stopped long enough to eject, along with the vernacular versions running around, the Latin text of the CCC change.  No, oogah horn, however, to let everyone know.

“HEY! Wait for me!”  OOgah! OOgah!

Texts of the CCC change HERE.  Note that it, too, is a “traduzione”, although when the Latin appears in the AAS it will be the official text of the Church, not the vernacular versions.

The key word:

Italian: inammissibile
French: une mesure inhumaine  UPDATE: This was corrected HERE
German: unzulässig
Spanish: inadmisible
Portuguese: inadmissível
Polish: niedopuszczalna

Latin: non posse admitti

 

Traduzione in lingua latina

Summus Pontifex Franciscus, in Audientia die XI mensis Maii anno MMXVIII Praefecto Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei concessa, hanc novam Catechismi Catholicae Ecclesiae paragraphi 2267 approbavit formulam, quam alias iussit in linguas verti atque cunctas in praedicti Catechismi versiones inseri.

De poena mortis

2267. Quod auctoritas legitima, processu ordinario peracto, recurrere posset ad poenam mortis, diu habitum est utpote responsum nonnullorum delictorum gravitati aptum instrumentumque idoneum, quamvis extremum, ad bonum commune tuendum.

His autem temporibus magis magisque agnoscitur dignitatem personae nullius amitti posse, nec quidem illius qui scelera fecit gravissima. Novus insuper sanctionis poenalis sensus, quoad Statum attinet, magis in dies percipitur. Denique rationes efficientioris custodiae excogitatae sunt quae in tuto collocent debitam civium defensionem, verum nullo modo imminuant reorum potestatem sui ipsius redimendi.

Quapropter Ecclesia, sub Evangelii luce, docet “poenam capitalem non posse admitti quippe quae repugnet inviolabili personae humanae dignitati”[1] atque Ipsa devovet se eidemque per omnem orbem abolendae.

Hoc Rescriptum typis edetur per publicationem in actis diurnis L’Osservatore Romano habetque vigorem eodem die, ac deinde foras dabitur in Actis Apostolicae Sedis.

ALOISIUS F. CARD. LADARIA, S.I.
Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Praefectus

 

Datum ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die I mensis Augusti, a. D. MMXVIII, in memoria sancti Alfonsi Mariae de’ Liguori.

_______________________

[1] FRANCISCUS, Sermo ad participantes conventum a Pontificio Consilio de Nova Evangelizatione Promovenda provectum (die XI mensis Octobris anno MMXVII): L’Osservatore Romano (die XIII mensis Octobris anno MMXVII), 5.

That’s interesting, no?

Let’s see some texts side by side.  Including a super literal, slavish translation so that you who have some Latin can see what is going on in the text.  This is not an attempt to make a smooth rendering.

Italian Released English Latin Super literal English of Latin (so you can see what’s going on)
Pena di morte

2267. Per molto tempo il ricorso alla pena di morte da parte della legittima autorità, dopo un processo regolare, fu ritenuta una risposta adeguata alla gravità di alcuni delitti e un mezzo accettabile, anche se estremo, per la tutela del bene comune.

 

The death penalty

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.

 

De poena mortis

2267. Quod auctoritas legitima, processu ordinario peracto, recurrere posset ad poenam mortis, diu habitum est utpote responsum nonnullorum delictorum gravitati aptum instrumentumque idoneum, quamvis extremum, ad bonum commune tuendum.

Concerning the penalty of death

2267.  The fact that legitimate authority, an ordinary process once completed, could have recourse to the death penalty, was held for a long time as a response suited to the gravity of some crimes,  and a suitable means, although extreme, for protecting the common good.

Oggi è sempre più viva la consapevolezza che la dignità della persona non viene perduta neanche dopo aver commesso crimini gravissimi. Inoltre, si è diffusa una nuova comprensione del senso delle sanzioni penali da parte dello Stato. Infine, sono stati messi a punto sistemi di detenzione più efficaci, che garantiscono la doverosa difesa dei cittadini, ma, allo stesso tempo, non tolgono al reo in modo definitivo la possibilità di redimersi. 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. His autem temporibus magis magisque agnoscitur dignitatem personae nullius amitti posse, nec quidem illius qui scelera fecit gravissima. Novus insuper sanctionis poenalis sensus, quoad Statum attinet, magis in dies percipitur. Denique rationes efficientioris custodiae excogitatae sunt quae in tuto collocent debitam civium defensionem, verum nullo modo imminuant reorum potestatem sui ipsius redimendi. In these times, however, more and more it is recognized that the dignity of the person can in no way be dismissed, not even indeed of one who committed most grave evil deeds.  Moreover, a new opinion of penal sanctions as far as they belong to the State, is perceived more each day.  Finally, theories of more efficient confinement have been thought up, which put the required defense of citizens in a safe condition, but in no way lessen the ability of criminals to redeem themselves.
Pertanto la Chiesa insegna, alla luce del Vangelo, che «la pena di morte è inammissibile perché attenta all’inviolabilità e dignità della persona»,[1] e si impegna con determinazione per la sua abolizione in tutto il mondo. 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”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. Quapropter Ecclesia, sub Evangelii luce, docet “poenam capitalem non posse admitti quippe quae repugnet inviolabili personae humanae dignitati”[1] atque Ipsa devovet se eidemque per omnem orbem abolendae. On account of which, the Church, under the light of the Gospel, teaches that “capital punishment cannot be admitted because it opposes the inviolable dignity of the human person”[1] and She devotes Herself to it being abolished throughout the whole world.
Il presente Rescritto sarà promulgato tramite pubblicazione su L’Osservatore Romano, entrando in vigore lo stesso giorno, e quindi pubblicato sugli Acta Apostolicae Sedis. MISSING IN ENGLISH Hoc Rescriptum typis edetur per publicationem in actis diurnis L’Osservatore Romano habetque vigorem eodem die, ac deinde foras dabitur in Actis Apostolicae Sedis. This Rescript will be announced through publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and it will have force on the same day, and thereafter will be given forth in Actis Apostolicae Sedis.
Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.
Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede
Dal Vaticano, il 1° agosto 2018, Memoria di Sant’Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori.
MISSING IN ENGLISH ALOISIUS F. CARD. LADARIA, S.I.
Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Praefectus
Datum ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die I mensis Augusti, a. D. MMXVIII, in memoria sancti Alfonsi Mariae de’ Liguori.
Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.J.
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Given at the Vatican, on 1 August, 2018 on the memorial of St Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori.
[1] Francesco, Discorso ai partecipanti all’incontro promosso dal Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione della Nuova Evangelizzazione (11 ottobre 2017): L’Osservatore Romano (13 ottobre 2017), 5. [1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5. [1] FRANCISCUS, Sermo ad participantes conventum a Pontificio Consilio de Nova Evangelizatione Promovenda provectum (die XI mensis Octobris anno MMXVII): L’Osservatore Romano (die XIII mensis Octobris anno MMXVII), 5. [1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.
     

Meanwhile, the Holy See’s online version of the Catechism, in Latin, remains as it was.

 

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43 Responses to “HEY! Wait for me!” Latin of change to CCC 2267 about capital punishment now available.

  1. Sieber says:

    What a field day Gilbert and Sullivan could have with this.
    In the last act of Iolanthe it is dicovered that by the simple inclusion into the law of the the word “don’t,” the law could now obviate the previously rule, allowing peers of the realm to marry fairies.

  2. jhayes says:

    It will be interesting to see which language version appears in the AAS. A quick scan through the first 50 pages of AAS 109 [2017: 1] (the most recent on the Vatican website) shows about 10 pages in Latin with the other 40 mostly in Italian with a few in Spanish.

    In this case, the Traduzione in lingua latina” notes at the end “Testo originale: Italiano” I wonder if it has been decided that documents recorded in the AAS will now be presented in whichever language they were originally composed rather than being translated into Latin,

  3. jhayes says:

    Meanwhile, the Holy See’s online version of the Catechism, in Latin, remains as it was.

    They are not good at updating things. The changes to the Code of Canon Law that Benedict made in “Omnium in mentem” in 2009 were still not there in the copy on the Vatican website the last time I looked

  4. surritter says:

    “Holy See Clown Car”… ha ha ha!

  5. excalibur says:

    And a sad individual named Andrew Cuomo jumps all over this and demands that the death penalty be abolished in New York State, where no one has been executed by the State in decades.

    Yet this same sad individual celebrates his manifest hate for the unborn at every opportunity. Even to the clown car statement that if SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade he will sue. It might be funny if it were not so very sad.

    JMJ

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  6. Herman Joseph says:

    Fr. Z, the Latin Seems stronger…am I right? Posse comes from possum, with origin being potis and sum. Potis means able or possible. So non posse seems to be saying impossible or not possible…employing the death penalty is not possible. That would far stronger than inadmissible.

  7. chantgirl says:

    I cannot accept this, as it does contradict the words of Christ in the gospel, and the “past” teaching of the Church. If we accept this, be prepared to accept that the Francis will continue to line-item veto other parts of the catechism.

    The train has left the cliff, and we are officially in free fall. The only unknown is the time it will take to reach bottom, and when Our Lady will intervene.

    Cardinals, you must rein this man in, for the sake of the Church and the souls who will be lost in the fog of war. If you cannot rein him in, you must at least call out his errors for the sake of the confused.

  8. Unwilling says:

    Thank you for posting the Latin and other synoptic wordings. I had begun to form some critical ideas based on the English that were quite irrelevant to the official text.

    However, from the English and still from the Latin, I was concerned about what kind of rationalization of a change was intended by the words “his autem temporibus”. It struck me as a modernist appeal to the authority of the social consensus, a la Comtean positivism – others’ comments reflect this concern which may be justified. However, if the Italian given, “oggi”, is the touchstone, perhaps the intention is not to justify a change, but merely to contextualize the moment of proclamation. The existing text of CCC, after all, explicitly contextualizes its minimalist reasoning with the phrase “nostris diebus”, which is not itself an argument but a reference to the technical feasibility of imprisonment vs death.

    I hope, therefore, that this novam formulam will turn out to be no doctrinal change at all, but merely an emphatic (albeit very untimely) reaffirmation of the pro-life doctrine set forth by St JP ii.

  9. Emilio III says:

    I guess the charitable thing is to say that Invincible Ignorance has been promoted to the highest levels.

  10. dmwallace says:

    And for whatever reason the clown car translators decided to cut and paste the wrong sentence from the French edition of Francis’s Oct 2017 address (the source of the quote in the new CCC paragraph). It used “On doit affirmer avec force que la condamnation à la peine de mort est une mesure inhumaine qui blesse la dignité personnelle, quel que soit son mode opératoire” instead of “Il faut donc répéter que, quelque puisse être la gravité de la faute commise, la peine de mort est inadmissible car elle attente à l’inviolabilité et à la dignité de la personne.” All the other translations use the latter of these two sentences.

  11. Malta says:

    Funny, the French “not humane” is very different from “inadmissible.” Well, anyway, this change is not part of the perennial teaching of the Church, and thus can be ignored.

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m pleased to see that the Latin has not the absolute howler found in the English translation of imagining that death might “definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption” …

  13. JabbaPapa says:

    Herman Joseph :

    Fr. Z, the Latin Seems stronger…am I right? Posse comes from possum, with origin being potis and sum. Potis means able or possible. So non posse seems to be saying impossible or not possible…

    Latin “posse” actually comes from pot- meaning “can”, “capable”, “having power to” etc., plus the infinitive postfix -se, which is actually reflexive, as well as being subjunctive, and passive, so that the proper use of a Latin Infinitive is for the illustration of processes that exist within themselves, and conceived in sentences as being distinct from causes and effects, albeit not necessarily subjects and objects.

    Imagine that the phrase “can of itself” had a Passive Infinitive, and that’s what “posse” would mean.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    jhayes :

    In this case, the Traduzione in lingua latina” notes at the end “Testo originale: Italiano” I wonder if it has been decided that documents recorded in the AAS will now be presented in whichever language they were originally composed rather than being translated into Latin

    This is by definition a special case, as it’s a modification of a canon in the CCC, the reference text of which is the Latin one.

  15. Ms. M-S says:

    We can only hope that any further efforts to elucidate the Church’s teaching will reflect “sub luce Evangelii” to the extent of adhering to the words of Christ in the Gospels.

  16. ogn.i.zhupel says:

    Agnoscitur – it is being acknowledged. By whom, may I ask? The world, the majority? By this logic almost any perversity can be justified. Conforming to the current “agnoscitur” is what is destroying the Church.

  17. BrionyB says:

    So non posse seems to be saying impossible or not possible…employing the death penalty is not possible. That would far stronger than inadmissible.

    It says “non posse admitti”, so “not possible” seems to refer to the act of “admitting” the death penalty, rather than the penalty itself.

    What on earth that actually means is another question, of course. Is admissible the same as permissible? Who knows?

  18. Malta says:

    I don’t care if every government on earth puts a convicted serial killer in solitary confinement for life; that’s a fate worse than death. I just think having the possibility of a death sentence on the books is a good deterrent to violent offenders. As a former prosecutor I know that some violent offenders actually like having three square meals a day in prison, working-out, etc., but the prospect of being put to death does scare them. This pope should focus on more important things….like abortion.

  19. Andrew says:

    Catechismus Romanus rem exponit ita:

    Alterum permissum caedis genus est quod ad eos magistratus pertinet quibus data est necis potestas, qua ex legum praescripto judicioque in facinorosos homines animadvertunt (1), et innocentes defendunt. Quo in munere dum juste versantur, non modo ii caedis non sunt rei, sed huic divinae legi qua caedes vetatur maxime oboediunt. Cum enim legi huic finis is propositus sit, ut hominum vitae salutique consulatur, magistratuum item, qui legitimi sunt scelerum vindices, animadversiones (2) eodem spectant, ut, audacia et injuria suppliciis repressa, tuta sit hominum vita. Quare David: “In matutino” inquit “interficiebam omnes peccatores terrae, ut disperderem de civitate Domini omnes operantes iniquitatem.”
    ————————————————————–
    Nota bene sensum vocabulorum “animadvertere” et “animadversio”:

    (1) animadvertere – est etiam considerare et notare quidquid minus rectum sit, idque reprehendere, castigare et punire.

    (2) animadversio – actus quo actionem aliquam minus rectam notantes, eum qui fecit castigamus et reprehendimus: quo sensu animadversio complectitur non modo reprehensionem, verum etiam ipsam punitionem.

  20. Herman Joseph says:

    We need to look rather at why it’s called inadmissible…because, he says, the inherent dignity of the human person is attacked. But that IS an intrinsic evil. It’s likesaying “not possible” and “impossible”…they mean the same. “Intrinsic evil” and “attack on the inviolable dignity of the human person” are the same. This change then…I can’t see it any other way do far, do correct me if I’m wrong…is saying infallible doctrine was wrong…the Church erred in a matter of faith and morals for 2000 years. Which is not possible. This truly is heretical, is it not, or am I wrong?

  21. JabbaPapa says:

    Herman Joseph :

    “Intrinsic evil” and “attack on the inviolable dignity of the human person” are the same. This change then…I can’t see it any other way do far, do correct me if I’m wrong…is saying infallible doctrine was wrong…

    The possibility that the civil Authority has of imposing capital punishment in its civil law is not an infallible doctrine of the Church.

  22. Notice that the only authorities this article cites to are popular sentiment and a speech by Pope Francis — and I question how accurate is the author’s sense of popular sentiment. Hardly rock-solid support.

  23. JMody says:

    I’m still perplexed by the underlying misunderstanding of “punishment” and “violating human dignity”. Punishment is that adverse consequence merited by a wrong or evil deed, administered by the responsible authority for the purpose of discouraging future behavior. If I take away something trivial, my punishment is not severe, and if something valuable, then the punishment is severe. If I regard the dignity of the person as the greatest good, then taking it away is the greatest punishment. It is NOT a violation of that dignity, it is because of that dignity that it can be a fitting punishment.

    Or can I now say that fines for speeding violate my human dignity in my right to own property, namely money?

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you assume the farmyard definition of the Latin, does it mean you can’t be messing up the death penalty?

  25. TonyO says:

    “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,

    It is true that “inadmissible” is ambiguous in its own right, and has no clear and definitive meaning in the context of morals. It might be an effective equivalent of “intrinsically disordered” or it might be an effective equivalent of “not permitted under such conditions…”

    But Francis narrows down the possibilities by adding “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”. Now, if this sentence were all we had to work with, I would have to say that “inadmissible” has very little room for being taken OTHER than as “intrinsically disordered” because the nature of the reason given is one that is generally understood to hold per se, and not per accidens or “in these conditions”. So, standing with the following clause, “inadmissible” would thus be a direct contradiction to prior teaching. And I think that Francis imagines that this is what the sentence means, and this is what he intended to mean, and what he intended to effect: that nobody should any more credit JPII’s statement in EV that the death penalty is not intrinsically immoral.

    However, if we want to be more squishy and negotiate a more fluid interpretation of the whole passage, the earlier sentences

    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.

    could be taken to qualify the meaning of “is” in the conclusion “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”. How? Because the new “awareness” and the new “understanding” are the lived experience of new ages of anti-Christian Catholics who don’t know Beans about their Bibles, older Catechisms, doctrines, or general theology. They have imbibed too deeply of secular humanism’s doctrine that this life is the only life there is, and in that understanding, the death penalty is an insurmountable, definitive outrage to the human so-called “dignity”. That is to say: in these times and in this culture, given the deformity of the modern understanding of punishment and justice, of the human moral being, of the next life, and of this vale of tears, the death penalty is TAKEN TO BE a violation of the dignity of the person.

    This “taken to be” is, of course, culturally conditioned, dependent on time and place and custom, is capable of difference in degree, and thus can be more so in one place and less so in another place even today. It can be understood as a violation in Italy, and not in the US. Hence Francis’ text would then be read not as setting forth a per se prohibition on the death penalty, but a culturally limited one extending to some situations and not others.

    The alternative to this extended, mushy, and hyperliberal interpretation of how the earlier two sentences qualify the money quote is this: Francis is SIMPLY WRONG that the death penalty is a violation of human dignity. The difficulty here is that for the last 40 year, since the French bishops in 1979 and their followers after have tried to water down the perennial teaching of the Church, nobody has yet tried to cash out what “dignity” means that leads to this conclusion. It has become a bugaboo word, used to beat everyone into submission, a catchall word that defeats all other contestants. But there ISN’T any good argument that the death penalty is a violation of human dignity, and there can’t be, because of Genesis 9:6. The true ground for human dignity is this, that man is made in God’s image. And Genesis 9:6 says that man being made in God’s image is the very reason for the rightness of the death penalty. It is only under the secular humanist’s idea of human dignity that the death penalty is a violation of it, but THAT “dignity” is contrary to Christian principles in a thousand different ways (the simplest being that it denies our being dependent on our Creator for every ounce of goodness we have or are).

    So, we can either apply liberal tactics in reading the passage to mean that Francis is not stating an absolute and definitive prohibition against the DP, or we can follow scriptural, traditional (and infallible) teaching that the the DP is in principle morally licit.

  26. Adam Michael says:

    Wow, Tony, I think you are making this way too complicated. The catechism now states that the death penalty attacks the inviolability and dignity of the person. Are such attacks ever not sinful and evil? Use of the term “inadmissible” is not the cash word since it simply means “forbidden.” More important are the other words, which state that the death penalty is forbidden because it attacks human dignity (an act perceived in moral theology to always be sinful). Ergo, capital punishment is sinful according to the catechism revision.

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    TonyO :

    Francis is SIMPLY WRONG that the death penalty is a violation of human dignity

    Careful — this is not merely a theological opinion of the Pope, not even in the manner of a strong opinion such as might be expressed in an Encyclical or an Exhortation.

    This is Church Doctrine, and as such, that particular statement of your opinion is directly contradicting the teaching of Holy Church.

    You can certainly expose whatever reasons you like to support your notion that the death penalty does not violate human dignity, but these can never justify any direct contradiction of established Catholic Doctrine. You’re not the Pope, and so you are not the only person in the world having sufficient Authority to do so if some previous doctrine should be found to be incompatible with a doctrine of greater or more significant Authority.

    Nor, really, can you legitimately propose that the Authority of doctrine A surpasses that of doctrine B, so that doctrine B is “wrong” — only the Holy Magisterium can establish such things, not we ordinary members of the laity or clergy or orders.

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  29. Herman Joseph says:

    Jabba, all I’m saying is that the pope is, it seems, making a contradictory change, which he has no authority to do, by falsely declaring the dp is an intrinsic evil, which would seem his meaning since it’s an intrinsic evil to attack the dignity of the human person by some act. As for civil authority, the church has always taught…see Jesus before Pilate and St. Paul…that civil government has the authority to execute criminsks, and this has been taught as a moral truth consistently since apostolic times…which means it’s an infallible doctrine.

  30. JabbaPapa says:

    Herman Joseph :

    As for civil authority, the church has always taught…see Jesus before Pilate and St. Paul…that civil government has the authority to execute criminals, and this has been taught as a moral truth consistently since apostolic times…which means it’s an infallible doctrine.

    I disagree, and doctrines are not made infallible simply through the passage of time.

    I do not think that the doctrine that the Civil Authority establishes the Civil Law is a moral truth, I think it’s a pragmatic description of an inevitable state of affairs where the world is divorced from the Kingdom of God.

    John : {18:35} Pilate responded: “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the high priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”
    {18:36} Jesus responded: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my ministers would certainly strive so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not now from here.”

  31. Lurker 59 says:

    I concur with those above who argue that the ability of the State to have recourse to the death penalty is the upholding of the dignity of the human person — of the perpetrator but especially that of the victim. Further still, it is the upholding of the dignity of the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinty.

    Now even if we take the narrow view that “infallible doctrines” are only those doctrines officially declared to be as such by an authority’s exercise of infallibility, that doesn’t mean that “the State has a right to recourse to the death penalty” isn’t a true statement or not a part of the Deposit of Faith, which is much more inclusive than only what is in official magisterial pronouncements.

    What is going on here in this modification to the Catechism, is not per say, an attack on a Doctrine of the Faith, but more so an attack on the Natural Law. Part of what makes a Protestant a Protestant is the belief that Gospel sets aside the Natural Law (Covenant of Works in Calvin just “the Law” in Luther). Part of what makes a Catholic a Catholic is that the Gospel upholds and completes the Natural Law (as well as the Law of Moses). If we peel back the layers on the anti-death penalty argument, as presented in the context of the modification, we see it is a setting aside of the Natural Law.

    Which, if we look at the various points of controversy over the last few years is a pattern. Time and time again, the setting aside of the Natural Law and repudiating it in one degree or another.

    @JabbaPapa No absolutely not. The modification to the CCC is not Church Doctrine. The Petrine Judicial Authority does not extend to the ability contradict the Natural Law. The Sovereign Authority of the Petrine Office is not absolute, but rather dependent upon the authority of God, who is both the author of both the Natural Law and of Divine Law. Therefore, no such binding authority exists to accept this modification on the part of the Faithful. The truth of something in the Catechism is not because it is in the Catechism but because of the somethings correspondence to the truth (as per Ratzinger) and the underlying authority of the pronouncement.

    Further, it should be argued by the Faithful that the modification to the Catechism is not a theological opinion. It is not true as a matter of historical record that there existed both pro and con theological opinions prior to this modification. There only existed the truth of the Natural Law that the State has a right and obligation to recourse to the death penalty and does so as an extension of the Divine Justice. This was upheld by St. John Paul II not that long ago. What St. John Paul II taught was his opinion that the modern State need not apply this recourse. Catholics were free even then to disagree with this opinion, as ecclesial commentaries on this opinion point out. What Pope Francis puts forward as his teaching is his opinion that such a resource is not possible (cannot be admitted). Catholics are also free to disagree with this opinion and, further still, theologians are obliged by the instruction DONUM VERITATIS, to bring up, with all due deference and respect to the Petrine Office, why this modification to the Catechism cannot be accepted by the Faithful, ESPECIALLY if it is intended to be Church Doctrine. (Some might argue that charity would demand that we interpret this modification to not be intended by Pope Francis to be doctrinal in nature — that he would not intend to supplant the Natural Law.)

    Recourse to the death penalty cannot be accepted is Church Doctrine? No, saying such cannot be accepted.

  32. Unwilling says:

    If (as is the case) the Pope cannot change established doctrine, then he has not changed it.

    Therefore, either
    (i) the inadmissibility of the death penalty has always been “doctrine” or
    (ii) Francis’ nova formula for the CCC does not constitute a change.

    This distinction [impossible outrage versus theological analysis] makes a difference that can walk discussants back from the brink of despair and give them the clarity and calmness to edify rather than to risk scandal.

  33. JabbaPapa says:

    Lurker 59 says:

    It is not true as a matter of historical record that there existed both pro and con theological opinions prior to this modification.

    That is a false statement.

    Saint Augustine of Hippo, Letter to the magistrate Macedonius :

    In no way, then, do we approve of the sins that we want to be corrected, nor do we want the wrongdoing to go unpunished because we find it pleasing. Rather, having compassion for the person and detesting the sin or crime, the more we are displeased by the sin the less we want the sinful person to perish without having been corrected. For it is easy and natural to hate evil persons because they are evil, but it is rare and holy to love those same persons because they are human beings. Thus, in one person you at the same time both blame the sin and approve of the nature, and for this reason you must justly hate the sin because it defiles the nature that you love. He, therefore, who punishes the crime in order to set free the human being is bound to another person as a companion not in injustice but in humanity. There is no other place for correcting our conduct save in this life. For after this life each person will have what he earned for himself in this life. And so, out of love for the human race we are compelled to intercede on behalf of the guilty lest they end this life through punishment so that, when it is ended, they cannot have an end to their punishment.

    [In his letters to Macedonius, Augustine asked for mercy for the man who was to be put to death. However, he upheld the authority of the state to impose the death penalty.]

  34. DJAR says:

    JabbaPapa says: “Careful — this is not merely a theological opinion of the Pope, not even in the manner of a strong opinion such as might be expressed in an Encyclical or an Exhortation. This is Church Doctrine, and as such, that particular statement of your opinion is directly contradicting the teaching of Holy Church. You can certainly expose whatever reasons you like to support your notion that the death penalty does not violate human dignity, but these can never justify any direct contradiction of established Catholic Doctrine. You’re not the Pope…”

    Father, [HUH?!?]you completely undermine your position when you point out to someone else that he is not the pope because… neither are you. [Ummm…]

    Therefore, whether what you claim to be Catholic doctrine actually is Catholic doctrine is merely an opinion on your part, and because you’re neither the pope nor the Magisterium, it carries no more weight than an opinion.

  35. christopherschaefer says:

    ‘The Onion’ has released the only plausible explanation for this change to the Catechism ;) https://www.theonion.com/pope-francis-hastily-condemns-capital-punishment-after-1828089531
    OK, OK, so here’s a good breakdown of what’s involved in this “change”: “…The introduction of the development of doctrine concept blurs things a bit, because it’s not quite clear which doctrine has developed. Is it the doctrine on just punishment and the fact that the primary purpose of punishment is redressing wrong for the sake of the common good? This is still emphasized in the previous paragraph of the catechism, no. 2266. Or is the doctrine of the state’s authority to protect the common good and its citizens what has developed?” Petri suggested that rather changing one particular church teaching changing, Pope Francis is a reordering of several complimentary teachings. “I would say that what’s happened here is a different balance in the relationship of doctrines rather than the development of a doctrine: the doctrine of state authority, the doctrine of punishment, the doctrine of the dignity of man and the doctrine of mercy.” “In that relationship, Pope Francis places mercy and patience as the guiding principle’ … Pope Francis does not always express his teachings with the perfect clarity of an academic theologian…” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-and-the-death-penalty-a-change-in-doctrine-or-circumstances-39898

  36. WVC says:

    JabbaPappa – You’re coming across as rather desperate. Unfortunately, you’re still in the wrong. If you think it makes any sense that the Church endorsed and recognized as lawful the right for the civil authorities to do something intrinsically immoral . . . honestly, I can’t understand how your logic works. The clear fact of the matter is that the Church and numerous saints, theologians, and Church fathers all recognized the legitimate authority of the state to kill guilty prisoners. Faced with this clear evidence, you’ve twisted your thinking into believing the Church could recognize and in some cases endorse the civil state in exercising a legitimate but immoral right? How on earth can a right be legitimate if it’s immoral? It’s balderdash. The Death Penalty IS perfectly moral. Either you agree with that statement, or you believe the Church can fully endorse, for thousands of years, an immoral practice. This really is one of those black and white type situations . . .

    N.B. – I reject the backdoor that this edit to the CCC absurdly posits, that the “evolving” understanding of human dignity has revealed some kind of new knowledge. From the Old Testament through St. Paul through countless saints and theologians, I refuse to accept the idea that everyone in the Church was ignorant of the concept or importance of human dignity until Pope Francis enlightened us all. That’s utter nonsense. Perhaps it’s the modern age’s complete misunderstanding of the concept and importance of human dignity that has made us disagree with the army of saints and scholars that precede us.

  37. JabbaPapa says:

    WVC :

    JabbaPappa – You’re coming across as rather desperate. Unfortunately, you’re still in the wrong>/i>

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger : “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty.

    The clear fact of the matter is that the Church and numerous saints, theologians, and Church fathers all recognized the legitimate authority of the state to kill guilty prisoners

    CCC 2267 still hasn’t changed that doctrine.

    you’ve twisted your thinking into believing the Church could recognize and in some cases endorse the civil state in exercising a legitimate but immoral right

    Recognising that power of the State and “endorsing” it in each and every instance of the use of that power are two very different things.

    The Death Penalty IS perfectly moral. … This really is one of those black and white type situations . . .

    Except that, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger : “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty.

    Are you seriously claiming that Cardinal Ratzinger was “wrong” in his teaching that diversity of opinion on this matter is “legitimate” ?

    If, as you claim, the death penalty were endowed of moral perfection, then Cardinal Ratzingezr would quite simply never have provided that teaching.

    I hope that you will stop accusing me of errors that I have not committed …

  38. Lurker 59 says:

    ~JabbaPapa — Except that, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger : “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty.

    First, Card. Ratzinger said, “may be” not “is”.

    Second, “legitimate diversity of opinion” is not any opinion, but rather only legitimate opinion, NOT that opinions are legitimate.

    An illegitimate opinion about “just war” is the position of total pacifism, which is contrary to the manifest historical record of the Faith and is a heretical position.

    An illegitimate opinion about “the death penalty” is the position that the State has no right/ability to wield the sword of justice, that it is inadmissible for the State to do so, for the exact same reasons and is a position that equally cannot be held.

    Also, the Augustine Quote — What Fr. Z said.

    Your position that there existed a plurality of opinions on the legitimacy of the death penalty is manifestly false when the historical record is checked.

  39. WVC says:

    @ JabbaPapa – yes, what Lurker 59 said.

    Also, Cardinal Ratzinger might have had any number of opinions on how much exercise I should get on a daily basis. He might have have a number of opinions on how much exercise the civil authorities might tell me to get every day. Some can legitimately disagree. Perhaps I don’t need that much exercise at all? Perhaps I’m an old fogey nearing death, and exercise is of no benefit to me. The Church could freely support the civil authorities right to tell me how much exercise to get while saying how much exercise I need may or may not be written in stone and a legitimate diversity of opinion can be held on that matter.

    That’s all because EXERCISING is PERFECTLY MORAL!

    The Church could NOT tell the civil authorities they had a right to license me to commit as many abortions as I wanted. People could NOT hold a legitimate diversity of opinions on how many abortions I could perform. There is no moral right to perform abortions, and thus the Church could never recognize a legal right to perform abortions.

    Obviously the Church can ONLY recognize a legal right to something that is PERFECTLY MORAL.

    Jeez! Have I beaten this dead horse or what? Hopefully beating dead horses is also perfectly moral. At any rate, I cry “uncle” – you continue to split the hairs Mr. JabbaPapa.

  40. JabbaPapa says:

    Lurker 59 :

    First, Card. Ratzinger said, “may be” not “is”.

    That’s just wordplay.

    The full quotation, from here — http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm — is :

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    Interestingly, this is from an instruction written specifically to the US, on the topic of Worthiness to receive Communion, and so it is therefore something that US Catholics should pay more attention to than others.

    Cardinal Ratzinger clearly stated that the doctrine of capital punishment as it existed then was of a lesser Authority than the doctrines on abortion and euthanasia : “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia“.

    This is not indicative of the doctrine on the death penalty, as it existed then, having the sort of moral perfection that is attached to the Church doctrine forbidding abortion and euthanasia.

    He further clarified by saying that “the Church exhorts civil authorities … to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals“, and most tellingly, he suggested that “it may still be permissible … to have recourse to capital punishment“.

    You simply do NOT describe something as being “permissible” if it is endowed of moral perfection, and you certainly never describe infallible doctrine as constituting something along these lines : “if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment …, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion“.

    You could NOT make the same statement if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on abortion !! (regardless of the scandalous fact that so many of today’s clergy fail to comprehend this)

    Also, the Augustine Quote — What Fr. Z said

    I find it frustrating that you cannot see that Fr Z contradicted my actual position not at all.

    Saint Augustine argued against the death penalty, whilst nevertheless recognising the power of the civil Authority to enforce it.

    CCC 2267 : “the Church … works with determination for its abolition ; fundamentally, did St Augustine not act simply in this way ?

    Accepting that the civil Authority has the power to enact civil Laws does NOT transform those Laws into “infallible Catholic doctrine” endowed of “moral perfection”, or is a Law permitting gay “marriage” to be praised similarly because the doctrine states that the civil Authority has the power to enact civil laws, and gay “marriage” is one of these laws ?

    ———
    WVC :

    Cardinal Ratzinger might have had any number of opinions on how much exercise I should get on a daily basis

    This sort of comment is extraordinarily unhelpful.

    Obviously the Church can ONLY recognize a legal right to something that is PERFECTLY MORAL

    This statement contradicts the doctrines established by Unam Sanctam, but more significantly, it contradicts vast tracts of Catholic theology and doctrine concerning the flaws of the Civil Law in comparison to the Divine Law.

    If you think that the Civil Authority is not constantly enacting Laws that are directly contradictory of the Divine Law, regardless of the fact that it is through the Grace of God that this Authority has the power to do so, then it suggests that your understanding of these matters, and particularly as to how they proceed from the “economy of Sin”, might be flawed.

    you continue to split the hairs Mr. JabbaPapa

    You continue to claim that the chopping off of heads is “perfectly moral”.

    —-

    I do not have the energy to provide a detailed account of theologically motivated opposition to the death penalty throughout the History of the Church.

    This is because it would be a non-trivial undertaking that not only have I not the time for, but it would also be rather ill-suited to limitations of this sort of discussion forum.

    This however at least — St Thomas Aquinas concluded to be in favour of capital punishment, nevertheless he cited these three theological objections to it. (he did not invent these from out of his head, they are summaries of existing objections that existed in his own time)

    Objection 1. It would seem unlawful to kill men who have sinned. For our Lord in the parable (Matthew 13) forbade the uprooting of the cockle which denotes wicked men according to a gloss. Now whatever is forbidden by God is a sin. Therefore it is a sin to kill a sinner.

    Objection 2. Further, human justice is conformed to Divine justice. Now according to Divine justice sinners are kept back for repentance, according to Ezekiel 33:11, “I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Therefore it seems altogether unjust to kill sinners.

    Objection 3. Further, it is not lawful, for any good end whatever, to do that which is evil in itself, according to Augustine (Contra Mendac. vii) and the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 6). Now to kill a man is evil in itself, since we are bound to have charity towards all men, and “we wish our friends to live and to exist,” according to Ethic. ix, 4. Therefore it is nowise lawful to kill a man who has sinned.

    Aquinas took these objections very seriously — so should we.

  41. JabbaPapa says:

    And see Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 40,41 :

    The commandment regarding the inviolability of human life reverberates at the heart of the “ten words” in the covenant of Sinai (cf. Ex 34:28). In the first place that commandment prohibits murder: “You shall not kill” (Ex 20:13); “do not slay the innocent and righteous” (Ex 23:7). But, as is brought out in Israel’s later legislation, it also prohibits all personal injury inflicted on another (cf. Ex 21:12-27). Of course we must recognize that in the Old Testament this sense of the value of life, though already quite marked, does not yet reach the refinement found in the Sermon on the Mount. This is apparent in some aspects of the current penal legislation, which provided for severe forms of corporal punishment and even the death penalty. But the overall message, which the New Testament will bring to perfection, is a forceful appeal for respect for the inviolability of physical life and the integrity of the person. It culminates in the positive commandment which obliges us to be responsible for our neighbour as for ourselves: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18).

    41. The commandment “You shall not kill”, included and more fully expressed in the positive command of love for one’s neighbour, is reaffirmed in all its force by the Lord Jesus. To the rich young man who asks him: “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”, Jesus replies: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:16,17). And he quotes, as the first of these: “You shall not kill” (Mt 19:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus demands from his disciples a righteousness which surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, also with regard to respect for life: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ?You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Mt 5:21-22).

    By his words and actions Jesus further unveils the positive requirements of the commandment regarding the inviolability of life. These requirements were already present in the Old Testament, where legislation dealt with protecting and defending life when it was weak and threatened: in the case of foreigners, widows, orphans, the sick and the poor in general, including children in the womb (cf. Ex 21:22; 22:20-26). With Jesus these positive requirements assume new force and urgency, and are revealed in all their breadth and depth: they range from caring for the life of one’s brother (whether a blood brother, someone belonging to the same people, or a foreigner living in the land of Israel) to showing concern for the stranger, even to the point of loving one’s enemy.

    To claim that no historic theological opposition to the death penalty exists is simply false.

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