Sunday, August 5, 2018


More on Deathgate from John Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment Blog

The Latin text has now been published; and there is indeed no suggestion that the death penalty is intrinsece malum. That would have been overt heresy.

On the contrary: the accompanying letter to bishops makes clear that the death penalty is not intrinsece malum. "The new formulation ... desire to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favour a mentality  ... in respectful dialogue with civil authorities ...  encourage the creation of conditions ..."

Suppose this were a matter of abortion or trafficking women for sex or paedophilia or genocide. The Magisterium would demand that the practice at once stop, not rabbit on about Favouring Mentalities and Encouraging Conditions. This is not how the Catholic Church talks about grave moral offences.

In the prudential sphere, I think, as I explained yesterday, that aspects of this move are profoundly unfortunate. Not least, the impression given through manipulation of the media that doctrine has been changed. This morning, the BBC account explicitly situated the item in these terms. As in the case of Amoris laetitia, heresy is being promulgated but carefully packaged so that it is not formally expressed. It is this mind-set and methodology which led some of us, last year, to issue the Filial Correction. I fear that PF remains every bit as badly in need of being filially corrected!

And I am as uneasy as I was yesterday about the confection of a new, undefined moral category of "inadmissible". The fact that the French version expresses things quite differently ("inhumaine") suggests that the authors were simply groping helplessly around for terms which sound incredibly stern but have no discernible meaning. People such as head masters, poor poppets, do that sort of thing when they are losing their grip, as they so often are. But have a heart. Don't be too sententious. It can't be all fun working for someone like PF, can it?

If you're feeling anxious, remember that, if doctrine' could be "developed" so easily and so soon as the result of changes in anthropological fads, it could be as easily "developed" again, or even "developed" back again.

If that were to happen ... in a few decades, under Pope Francis IV, we might once again (of course, with papal encouragement) be back to hanging difficult members of our underclass on multiple gallows for stealing thruppence. Or perhaps we shall be employing the picturesque Argentine practice of hurling them into the sea out of aeroplanes. Must move with the times.

Come on, chaps, don't get too het-up. Life's too short.

Just think: the Holy Father's initiative will mean that it will now be dear Cardinal Parolin's happy duty to explain to Mr Netanyahu that he and his political associates have got to drop their naughty campaign to reintroduce the infliction of the death pealty in Israel for terrorist-related murders. Just wait for the accusations of 'Anti-semitism' to start flying around the Eminent head. And next on his list there will be the Chinamen ... It couldn't all happen to a nicer chap.

Instead of panicking, toddle off and have a drink and a laugh. You know you deserve it. And there would be no harm in saying a decade or two ...


rcg said...

So maybe the crew that did the dynamic equivalent interpretation of the Mass, being currently unemployed, took a shot at building this Tower of Babel with the same result. Good thing we don’t have a lingua franca any more that would allow everyone to get the same story.

The good thing about this particular move is that solidifies the body of Pope Francis’s work as worthless so we won’t need to sift the full body of his work to remove the fly specs from the pepper. We can toss the whole box and be only a few years older and wiser.

Anonymous said...

Nearly every nation in Europe and Latin America has already banned the death penalty. Likewise Canada and Australia.

Capital punishment is legal in 31 states of the U.S. Governors have imposed moratoriums on its use in four of those states. In 2016 there were only 20 executiona carried out. In 2017, there were 23.

Mark Thomas said...

Father Dwight Longenecker posted yesterday the follow Tweet:

"A bit of perspective. At 5pm Mass this evening I said, "If anyone has questions about the news headlines about the Catholic Church over the last few weeks, I will be in the Narthex to help you. One person stayed and said, "Is there something we should be concerned about?" "


One supposed "controversy" after another in regard to Pope Francis is much ado about nothing to 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 percent of Catholics.

The leading "traditional" right-wing Catholic bloggers/Twitter folks hate Pope Francis. They thrive upon controversy to promote their blogs/agendas.

In reality, the "BREAKING...BREAKING...BREAKING"...EVIL CLOWN BERGOGLIO TEACHES HERESY, OVERTHROWS DOGMA, CHANGES CHURCH TEACHING!!!!!!!" click-bait headlines/stories promoted by "traditional" Catholics are meaningless, non-stories to 99 percent of Catholics.

"Nobody" cares about the dubia, the Filial "Correction," "MATERIAL HERETIC BERGOGLIO CHANGES DEATH PENALTY DOGMA" nonsense that consumes "traditional" Catholics who hate Pope Francis.

One person stopped in the Narthex to take up Father Longenecker's offer to discuss "news headlines about the Catholic Church over the last few weeks..."

One person.

One person.

One person. That sounds about right. One person.

Rorate Caeli, 1Peter5, etc., etc., etc.,...right-wing, "traditional" Catholic blogosphere Pope Francis-hating conspiracy theory folks, live in bleak, dark, depressing world.

Ninety-nine percent of Catholics live elsewhere.

One person. Yep...that sounds about right.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

It’s official and confirmed everybody, Mark Thomas has cracked up. 99.999999999999999999999 percent of you would have to agree that he has gone over the deep end. I’m sure penance and prayers would be appropriate at this time.

Dan said...

Mark Thomas you are correct. And these catholics also practice birth control, miss mass if "something comes up," and then go to communion, and never go to confession, but so what? At least the catholics that ARE concerned are also concerned that bad shepherds lead these sheep astray.

Your point in reminding how little concern most catholics have about the faith is what?

Mark Thomas said...

Pope Saint Pius X, Allocution to priests on the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Union, November 18, 1912 A.D.

"The Pope is the guardian of dogma and of morals; he is the custodian of the principles that make families sound, nations great, souls holy; he is the counsellor of princes and of peoples;

"It seems incredible, and is even painful, that there be priests to whom this recommendation must be made, but we are regrettably in our age in this hard, unhappy, situation of having to tell priests: love the Pope!

"And how must the Pope be loved? When one loves a person, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to fulfill his will, to perform his wishes. And if Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself, "si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit," [if any one love me, he will keep my word - Jn xiv, 23] therefore, in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.

"Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed;

"when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents;

"we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey - that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority;

"we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy,

******* "because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope. *******

"This is the cry of a heart filled with pain, that with deep sadness I express, not for your sake, dear brothers, but to deplore, with you, the conduct of so many priests, who not only allow themselves to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not embarrassed to reach shameless and blatant disobedience, with so much scandal for the good and with so great damage to souls."


Mark Thomas

Gene said...

Capital felons need to be executed. Liberal parole boards and judges often allow them back into society, where they commit more crimes. The sword is the temporal arm of the Spirit, or did you forget that? I hear libs whine all the time, "Ewww, a civil society does not execute people." Friend, a civil society does not allow murderers and rapists and child molesters,etc. to live among its people. A godly society believes in justice, and there is no justice in allowing felons to breathe the same air as their victims. Please do not argue that it is not a deterrent to damn well deters the ones we execute. Personally. I think it might be more of a deterrent if we went back to public executions...hangings, firing squads, etc. I would enjoy that just to hear the libs and the likes of Kavanaugh howl and moan. Music to my ears.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Mark Thomas doesn't care if Catholic theology is articulated inchoherently, because, polls.

George said...

One of the things that is so dissonant and contradictory in our own time is the movement of political jurisdictions and advocacy groups to do away with the Death penalty, while at the same time tolerating little or no legal restrictions on the killing of the innocent unborn, and in this being aided and abetted by a supporting judicial philosophy so prevalent in our courts. There are so many today in our societies, even some among those within our Churches, whose faith has become so weakened or non-existent that they have become too spiritually blind to acknowledge and recognize what is so prominent and well known to anyone with even a moderate degree of awareness, and so they dismiss from their minds and consciences, the wholesale slaughter of the innocent.

As far as the Death penalty: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St Robert Bellermine, Cardinal Newman, as well as others, and Catholic tradition as a whole have accepted capital punishment. The Church has not ever taught (that I am aware of) that the death penalty MUST be imposed if certain conditions are met, only that its use, its just application, is allowable and permitted under certain circumstances.

John Nolan said...

Mark Thomas

'Is there something we should be concerned about?' (Referring to news stories over the past few weeks).

Well, not according to you and your estimated percentage of Catholics which, if applied to the total number of Catholics worldwide would constitute a small fraction of a single person. Hyperbole taken to extremes.

An American cardinal resigns his red hat after it emerged that he had been a predatory homosexual for decades. The last such resignation was in the 1920s. But there's nothing to be concerned about.

The Archbishop of Adelaide resigns after being convicted of not disclosing an allegation of sexual abuse made against another priest over forty years ago. I heard this on the BBC news and was sufficiently concerned to check out the story. But then, I'm one of the tiny, nay infinitesimally small minority who actually gives a monkey's.

The same media outlet reported that the Pope has changed the Church's perennial teaching on capital punishment, giving encouragement to supporters of 'gay rights' and womens' ordination that he can similarly change course on these issues.

As it happens, I was already aware of this; Fr Hunwicke reported PF's comments in October last year, and questioned them in his blog.

I happen to know Fr Hunwicke, a learned Ordinariate priest, and read his blog. Yes, he is concerned about the apparent direction this papacy is taking, and his concerns are shared by many eminent people. They are motivated by concern for the Church. However, in your book they are instruments of the devil peddling 'fake news' because they hate Pope Francis.

One has to ask whether your insouciance concerning these issues results from genuine ignorance or selective amnesia. The first may be rectified, but someone who simply refuses to face facts because they don't fit his ingrained prejudices deserves contempt and pity in equal measure.

So, either address issues in a sensible way, or do us all a favour by shutting up. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

I found Mark Thomas' quotes from Pope Saint Pius X in of all places, Rorate-Caeli

Here is the link:

Anonymous 2 said...

Some food for thought that may help promote the exercise of wisdom on the “prudential” issue of the death penalty:

And now some questions: Where do you end up after reading these materials and prayerfully reflecting upon the arguments pro and con? Convinced of the wisdom of the death penalty? Convinced of its unwisdom? Unsure? If you are in the second category, must you not now personally oppose the death penalty and also seek to persuade others of its unwisdom? And if you are in the third category, how will you now decide whether to support or oppose infliction of the death penalty both personally and in persuasive conversation with others? Subscribe to the conclusions of a secular moral system? The positions of a political party? Flip a coin? Is there really anywhere else to go but to the Church for guidance?

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

Lefty clergy slobber and mourn over hardened criminals, folks whom Pius XII agreed deserved the death penalty. But for the millions of innocents killed in the womb, nary a tear.

Anonymous 2 said...


Please clarify the relevance of your comment to the content of my post.

Also, is there any topic on which you do not attempt to shut down conversation by bringing abortion into it?

TJM said...

Anonymous 2, why so sensitive to abortion, your Party's favorite "sacrament?"