When the change was made to the Latin text of CCC 2267 – concerning the death penalty (claiming that it is now always “inadmissible”) – I both said in sermons and wrote here that the change was troubling and for more than one reason.
First, when changes are made to doctrinal statements, they should make the teaching of the Church clearer, not less clear. The change to CCC 2267 created confusion.
Second, it struck me that perhaps this was a trial-balloon, floated before attempting to change CCC 2358 on objectively disordered homosexual inclinations.
Also, I explained that something doesn’t become true by the fact of it being put into the CCC. It is put into the CCC because it can be demonstrated to be true. Look at pages in your CCC and you will find lots of footnotes with pertinent references to Scripture and the Fathers and Councils, etc. Look at CCC 2267 and you find one note, referring to a statement that Francis’ himself made in a speech a short while before. That’s it. It’s a bit self-referential. Of course it would be challenging to find references in Scripture or the Fathers or Councils etc. to uphold the position asserted in 2267, for, using all those, the Church has always upheld that capital punishment is admissible in some cases.
Hence, I refer you back to my first point.
Look. You can be, personally, sincerely against any application of the death penalty in any circumstance, but you should still be really concerned about this change. It’s puzzling… and that’s not what catechisms are for. Catechisms might make you stop and think and scratch your head as you work it out, but they are not supposed to leave you puzzled.
People are confused by CCC 2267. It appears to be a radical change to the Church’s teaching. You have to read a lot of things into the vague word “inadmissible” to get to a place where 2267 doesn’t look like a reversal.
The other day, the US Bishops voted with only 8 NO votes – who are those guys, I wonder – to approve a change to the US edition of the Catechism to bring it into line with the Latin of CCC 2267.
Also, I see that Peter Kwasniewski gave a talk in Chicago about the change t0 CCC 2267. HERE
Ed Feser and Joseph Bessette co-authored a useful book about capital punishment.
Finally, does this mean that the CCC is not, any longer, a sure reference work, as John Paul II, called it, for the Faith? No. It is still useful, to the extent that it was intended to be used. The CCC – any catechism – is not and must not be thought of as the final word on every issue of faith and morals. It’s a catechism. As such, it is intended to be a summary for the introduction of teachings to the young and converts, catechumens, and to refresh the knowledge of those who haven’t been maintaining what they had once learned. We could include reverts and the lapsed. Catechisms are imperfect… but useful.
I’ll turn on the moderation queue for this one.