Thursday, August 2, 2018
And Now For Some Good News, For A Change
Confession time, again. I sometimes get involved in comment tread duels on Youtube. I didn't used to but I figure if someone doesn't let them know they don't agree with them they'll figure no one doesn't agree with them. The one I'm thinking of happened last week on the comment thread of a Sam Seder video, an argument with an atheist who wanted to blame everything under the sun on religion, specifically in the Vatican. One of my arguments was to ask if the Vatican was so powerful and to blame for ever wrong done to Women and LGBT People, why do the very politicians, courts and governments that do those wrongs totally ignore the Pope when he tells them that economic injustice, racism, religious discrimination and the death penalty are wrong.
Well, I just read that Good Pope Francis has given that argument a charge by changing the official Catholic Catechism to say that the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases.
Pope Francis has approved a change to the official teachings of the Catholic Church, calling for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The pope has frequently spoken out against the death penalty; in a speech in Rome last year, for example, Francis called the punishment “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” The new change to the Catechism, which is the official body of the Church’s teachings, formalizes that opposition based on “an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost, even after the commission of very serious crimes.”
In approving this change, Francis has sent a signal about his priorities—and his posture toward change. The Church has underscored its opposition to the destruction of any kind of life, even when that means defying the state. And Francis is willing to alter Church teaching to make that clear.
The Church has not always been a clear opponent of the death penalty. As Francis pointed out in his 2017 address, past popes presided over executions when they governed the Papal States, the territory in present-day Italy that was controlled by the Church until the late-19th century. Some of these killings were particularly gruesome: When Pope Clement VIII declared Giordano Bruno a heretic in 1600, the philosopher was tied to a stake, burned alive, and dumped in the Tiber.
Francis rebuked his predecessors: “Let us take responsibility for the past and recognize that the imposition of the death penalty was dictated by a mentality more legalistic than Christian.”
Every once in a while, when I'm not brawling in the comments, I like to look at the video of the announcement that Pope Francis was the one who was elected Pope, something I saw live because it was one of the days I was sitting with my very old mother who was glued to the TV when they announced it. As I've said, as soon as he came out and he was wearing a simple white alb instead of one of the three fancy papal vestments in different sizes that had been in the news as being what the new pope would wear, and as soon as they said he'd chosen the name "Francis" I knew he was going to be a different pope than his two immediate, imperial pope predecessors.
Now, let's see how fast the politicians who are anti-choice and anti-LGBT rights adopt this latest teaching of the Pope, since he's to blame for everything else they do. I think it's likely they'll adopt that stand before they have the positions he's got in common with even those two imperial popes that came right before him, economic justice, environmental justice, etc. Compared to any current United States politician I can think of, even they were radicals on those other positions. But, just in case you start holding your breath on them outlawing the death penalty anytime at all, don't. I really can't afford to lose readers.
Posted by The Thought Criminal at 12:52 PM