#91: The Death Penalty and the Sex Abuse Scandal—Dr. Michael Pakaluk

#91: The Death Penalty and the Sex Abuse Scandal—Dr. Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk is a father of 15 (not a typo—you can read the fascinating backstory in the memoir The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God about his late wife Ruth, who may one day be raised to the altars, but that’s another story). I mention that he’s the father of a sprawling passel of children because it is germane to this interview and to the essay he wrote in a recent edition of First Things magazine that got my attention.

Pakaluk connects to dots that don’t seem at first to have much in common: the change of phrasing in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty and the passive or abhorrent handling of the priestly abuse scandal.

The basic connection is an inability to exercise fatherly authority when it come to imposing punishments that involve separation, vengeance, and isolation. All of which distinguish true justice from what he calls “regulatory compliance.”

Bad fatherhood leads to weak and passive men, which in turn leads to doctrinal innovations and policies that are weak and passive, and hence dangerous for the Church, not to mention the victims of homosexual predators and other criminally behaving priests and bishops. Both deficiencies have made it harder for non-Catholics to accept the truth claims of the Church, and harder for Catholics to continue to trust their leaders.


In this episode you will learn:

  • Why vengeance is a virtue not a vice
  • How vengeance is not opposed to Christian meekness
  • How passivity in the face of evil is not a masculine trait and how this has wreaked havoc in the Church
  • The reason why saying “punishment is never retributive, but only deterrent” is a grave error
  • How the crisis of fatherhood in general helps explain the crisis among men who are called Father by their flock
  • Why a new emphasis on chastity in preaching and teaching needs to take root
  • How the weak passivity has influenced and been influenced by the theory of Hans Urs Von Balthasar of a possibly-empty hell


Resources recommended in this episode:


Question of the week

How has feminist ideology contributed to the crisis of masculinity in the Church and in the culture?



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