98: Is the Death Penalty Now Evil?—Dr . Edward Feser
On August 2, 2018, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Cardinal Ladaria, announced that Pope Francis authorized a change in Art 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty.
The new phrasing declares that the death penalty can no longer be applied in any case, anywhere in the world no matter the crime. Is this a legitimate “development of doctrine” as the Pope’s supporters affirm? Are Catholics now required to give the “religious submission of mind and will” to this new viewpoint of the Roman Pontiff, which, according to Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 25, applies even to papal teaching that is not ex cathedra? Can the new Catechism be changed again?
Associate professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, Dr. Ed Feser, believes it can and, should, be rescinded. The teaching as now phrased seems to openly contradict, not merely amend or develop, the 2000-year-old support for the death penalty in some cases. This is one not to miss.
In this episode you will learn:
- Why, from the Bible, the Church fathers and doctors, and many saints, and sacred Tradition, the Catholic Church has traditionally supported the death penalty
- How the death penalty can lead to the repentance and redemption of the condemned
- The perils of letting vicious criminals continue their evil acts inside prison
- The strongly held opinion of Pope Francis that even life sentences are the practical equivalent of the death penalty, and therefore morally unacceptable
- How you can understand what the next steps might be in light of a worldwide effort to encourage the cardinals of the Church to revisit the Catechism reboot
Resources recommended in this episode:
- By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment by Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette
- 2004 CDF Statement on Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
- Lumen Gentium 25 (“The Dogmatic Constitution On the Church,” Second Vatican Council)
- Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition by E. Christian Brugger
- Dead Man Walking, BluRay, directed by Tim Robbins
Question of the week
Why is this worth talking about considering how rarely it is implemented compared with the number of babies killed by abortion?
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