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  #1  
Old 31st August 2006, 03:40 AM
Joan
 
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Default Is prohibition of capital punishment a temporal decision, an ordinary teaching?

"The faithful have a need to dissent from ordinary Church teaching, and to disobey temporal decisions of the Church -- to some extent.
One of the reasons for this need is that the ordinary teaching is fallible. One cannot require intellectual submission and acceptance of falsehoods.
Another reason is that even a true teaching may not be the whole truth. So a contrary opinion, even if it is seriously flawed, may contain a grain of truth not found in the official teaching." [posted by Ron in this category of dissent]

As I recall the explanation of John Paul II on this matter, the Holy Father's assumption was that modern society had the ability and means to protect its populace and institutions, to rehabilitate "capital offenders" short of exacting the death penalty; for that reason, the ultimate penalty should not be invoked by governments.

But my recollection may be wrong. I don't necessarily dissent from the ban. I do dissent from the assumption that we are protecting society and people from predation by violent, murderous offenders.

Last edited by Joan : 31st August 2006 at 03:42 AM.
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  #2  
Old 31st August 2006, 04:15 AM
Bomber
 
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I have mixed feelings on the death penalty. Catholics are not bound by the church to oppose it, but I can see opposing it in some cases. But what about in war? You have caught a bad guy in a trap. Do you leave him there and go forward on your mission or do you kill him on the spot. If you leave him he will get more men to com kill you in the next block.

Kill or not?
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  #3  
Old 31st August 2006, 04:41 AM
garyo951
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan View Post
"
As I recall the explanation of John Paul II on this matter, the Holy Father's assumption was that modern society had the ability and means to protect its populace and institutions, to rehabilitate "capital offenders" short of exacting the death penalty; for that reason, the ultimate penalty should not be invoked by governments.

As are most of JPII's comments, this is well thought out in the context of the modern world. I observe two underlying reasons for the death penalty: self-defense, and revenge. In cases of war, police activity, etc, clearly, the use of force is justified for the protection of the innocent and of society. If a prisoner is a threat to escape or motivated to escape and do harm at all costs (ie, a suicide terrorist), then I can see a rationale for the death penalty.

In a majority of cases, however, the principle motivation that drives the death penalty is REVENGE, and this is the opposite of what we as Christians are instructed by Jesus to pursue. While it may be difficult to forgive anyone who harms a loved one, a life sentence w/ no parole at the very least can allow the guilty the maximum possible time to repent - we're hoping that they will repent and save their souls, rather than removing their chance at redemption by expediting their judgement (this would be a little too much like Jonah's behavior toward the Ninevites).

-Gary
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  #4  
Old 31st August 2006, 11:56 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Joan,

It is certainly an infallible teaching of the Church, from Tradition, Scripture, and the ordinary and universal Magisterium, that the death penalty can be used by proper authority morally. This is clear because in the OT God required the Israelites to administer the death penalty. And the teaching of the Church has always held that use of the death penalty can be moral, depending on the circumstances.

The claim by John Paul 2 that the circumstances of modern society make the death penalty immoral in almost all cases is a judgment of the circumstances and so falls under the temporal authority.

Bomber,

Combat against enemy combatants during war is another matter. This type of killing is not the death penalty, because you are not judging that the enemy has committed a serious crime. In general, it is moral to kill enemy combatants during a just war, even if it is not self-defense (i.e. they are not, at the moment, actively trying to kill you).

Gary,

You are right that revenge is not a proper reason for the death penalty, and that we should consider that someone be given the opportunity to repent. The death penalty is moral when society is using it to defend itself against criminals who are too dangerous to incarcerate. Also, I question whether a life sentence without parole is moral in many cases; this penalty may be excessive in some cases, not allowing for repentance.


Ron
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  #5  
Old 1st September 2006, 03:13 PM
logue
 
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I think the death penalty is too good for some of these people.
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  #6  
Old 1st September 2006, 08:57 PM
Joey Joey is offline
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I am personally opposed to the death penalty for any reason whatsoever. Thou Shalt Not Kill. As my dad used to say, "They are the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions."
__________________
"Closer to You bid me, that with Your saints I may be praising Your name, forever and ever."

Joey
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  #7  
Old 5th September 2006, 08:30 PM
Bomber
 
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Ron,

I have heard that the original wording was "Thall shall not "murder", as opposed to "kill". If so, that makes a big difference. Does it say that?

Murder is the killing of innocents without justification.

Thanks
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  #8  
Old 5th September 2006, 09:12 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Yes, it is well known that the Hebrew is
Thou shalt not murder
not the more general thou shalt not kill.

The Latin text of the Gospel of Matthew has Jesus reciting the Commandments as:

{19:18} Dicit illi: Quć? Iesus autem dixit: Non homicidium facies: Non adulterabis: Non facies furtum: Non falsum testimonium dices:
{19:18} He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony.

~ Notice that Jesus specifically says ‘murder’ (homicidium), not ‘kill.’ Therefore, the Old Testament translation of the commandment as ‘You shall not murder’ is correct.

However, the ideal is to have a society where no killing occurs, neither as a crime of murder, nor in self-defense or law enforcement or warfare.
Therefore, the translation of Thou shalt not kill is also a good translation, expressing the ideal as opposed to the minimum requirement.


Ron
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