You will want to check out, at First Things, an open letter – an appeal – to all of the Cardinals of the Catholic Church.



To their Most Reverend Eminences, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,

Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.



The list of signatories follows.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. padredana says:

    Is it possible to put my name to this?

  2. Il Ratzingeriano says:

    We need a sizeable number of Cardinals and prominent bishops to sign this or something similar, perhaps a new set of dubia.

  3. teomatteo says:

    thank you Fr. Z for signing the letter. Like i said in the past…. its your Z-ubia.

  4. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I agree with everything stated here.

  5. Arthur McGowan says:

    If only four respected Cardinals would put their names on this, then surely…oh…wait…

  6. Farmer0831 says:

    The death penalty thing is very obviously meant as a distraction from the pederasty and corruption in which many of the Cardinals and bishops who are Pope Francis’ closest confidants and supporters are expressly complicit.

  7. chantgirl says:

    Fr Z, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for signing this.

  8. Sportsfan says:

    Thank you to all signatories.

  9. Dismas says:

    Perhaps his holiness did, in fact write a response to the Dubia. Of course, since he would have meant it to be public, and likely required an infallible response. Perhaps at that point, something akin to a divine writer’s block set in, or more embarrassingly, something akin to a Tourrette’s episode of doctrinal purity occured.

  10. TonyO says:

    I absolutely love the simplicity of this letter. Rave reviews by this lifelong Catholic and death penalty scholar! Guys, you nailed on the head, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you for addressing yourselves to the cardinals, who have a positive duty to deal with this pope who sows confusion. Now is the time for them to pay for their wearing the colors of princes of the Church: the bill has come due: they are called to man up and fulfill their high office.

  11. Thank you, Fr. Z., for signing that appeal.

    I made an attempt at a Latin version (open to improvements):

    Eminentiis Reverendissimis Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalibus.
    propterea quod hoc verum Dei Verbo inest et Ecclesiae Catholicae magisterio ordinario universalique docetur, quod homines crimine damnati potestate saeculari interfici iure possunt quando id ad ordinem iustum in conversatione civili servandum necessarium est, et propterea quod hic pontifex Romanus iam plus quam semel se eam doctrinam docere abnuentem palam manifestavit ac potius magnam confusionem Ecclesiae intulit quippe qui ei contraria dicere videtur et Ecclesiae Catholicae Catechismo insevit paragraphema quod efficiet et iam efficit ut multi et fideles et infideles putent Ecclesiam contra Dei Verbum existimare poenam capitalem intrinsece malam esse, Eminentias Vestras provocamus ut Eius Sanctitatem moneatis eius officium esse huic scandalo finem imponere et illud paragraphema ex Catechismo demere et Dei Verbum purum docere; et profitemur hoc nobis persuasum esse quod hoc officium vos coram Deo et coram Ecclesia graviter alligat.

  12. SKAY says:

    Thank you for signing this Father Z.

    Thanks to the others who signed also.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you to Fr. Z and the other signatories.

  14. xpinem says:

    I find “when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society” to be the key in the doctrine. In today’s civil society, is the death penalty still necessary? Was it the death penalty that Crucified Our Lord? Did God say: Vengeance is Mine? Did God say: Do not repay evil for evil? For whom does Our Immaculate Mother Mary wail aloud in pain laboring to give birth? Is time a Gift from God? Time in prison may be a Great Gift from God. It may provide time for conversion and repentance. Which prison sentence is Justice in God’s Eyes: Death, while a vile sin is still on the soul, or life in prison, while the gnawing conscience has time to stir repentance and reparation for one’s sins? Are the souls of the most vile criminals unredeemable? Would saying “Yes” to the previous question be blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Might Pope Francis be protecting the innocent Holy Priests, who will now be falsely accused of deviant sexual abuse and crimes, and then thrown into jail via an imperfect justice system? Some who sign this petition may become the “Maximilian Kolbes” of our times. Many Priests may be drafted into Jail Ministry full time. I signed a petition asking for lawful secular prosecution of every Priest, found guilty, by the Church, of participating in the present day, sexually sick, and diabolical scandal. I grew up hearing the phrase, “There, but for the Grace of God, Go I.” Does anyone have enough Mercy in their heart to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt on this issue? Or, are pointing fingers looking for an Anti-Christ, that the Anti-Catholics have prophesied for so long?

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