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August 13, 2007

Comments

LJ

"So how did we get from there to here?"

In part the absence of a real national crisis since WWII and partly national affluence, although that latter is more characteristic of the American liberal elites.

Zach Foreman

Check out the brilliant book "The Strange Death of Moral Britain" by Christie Davies. Here's a synopsis from Amazon.uk:

In the last half of the twentieth century, a once respectable and religious Britain became a seriously violent and dishonest society, one in which person and property were at risk, family breakdown ubiquitous, and drug and alcohol abuse rising. "The Strange Death of Moral Britain" demonstrates in detail the roots of Britain's decline. It also shows how a society, strongly Protestant in both morality and identity, became one of the most secular societies in the world. The culture wars about abortion, capital punishment, and homosexuality that have convulsed the United States have little meaning in Britain, where there is neither a moral majority nor an indigenous emphasis on rights. In the period when Britain had a strong national and religious identity, defense of this identity led to legal persecution of male homosexuals. As Britain's identity crumbled, homosexuality ceased to be an important issue for most people. Similarly, all the pressing questions on abortion, capital punishment, and homosexuality were settled permanently on a purely utilitarian basis in Britain, where all sources of moral argument are weak. The ending of the death penalty marked the decline of the influence of the official hierarchies of church and state, the Church of England, the armed forces, and their representative, the Conservative Party. "The Strange Death of Moral Britain" is a study of moral change, secularization, loss of identity, and the growth of deviant behavior in Britain in the twentieth century. Based on detailed scholarship, it is a tightly argued and clearly written volume that will be of interest to scholars of religious studies and British social history.

Zach Foreman

What is breathtaking is how fast it all happened. In 1964, the death penalty was in full force and homosexuality and abortion were illegal. only three years later, all that had changed. It was 3 decades between Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas (neither represented the majority of the populace). Some of those who voted on these issues were born in the Victorian age! That's a lot of chance in a few years. And Britain is much the worse off for it.

StubbleSpark

I find it odd that he believes the problem of the media liberal is that they tend to see society "from the bottom".

Yes, fear of monolithic and authoritarian government is one of the key driving forces behind Liberalism but it is not a fear of monolithic and authoritarian government per se.

That is just how the message is packaged.

I think overall liberals love the whole idea of stronger, more invasive government. That is why they get so bent out of shape over homosexual civil unions -- they want the government to sanction it or else it will not mean anything.

So far, I have not heard any liberals complain about the idea of supra-government bodies like the UN enforcing agendas like abortion on demand, readily available contraception, and strict limitations on carbon footprints and other ecological agendas; on all "free" nations of the world as well as "developing" ones. Ideas like the Fairness Doctrine in radio and imposing carbon credits on even small businesses are the not work of a freedom-loving people.

What liberals truly fear is a monolithic, authoritarian, conservative government.

The main reason liberals fear conservatives is because conservatives have a more liberal selection of data sources. That is, they are open to using data from supernatural sources like the Church.

For the average liberal, the ideal function of the government extends far into the realm of dictating morality and ethics. It is different from the "dreaded" marriage of Church and state they keep referring to. This is more along the Marxist, Maoist principles of the state and church merging into a single entity. That is why people are crazy about passing laws forcing tax payers to subsidize embryonic stem cell research when there are no restrictions to private funding.

If the government sanctions it, such research will be ratified as being a moral act.

But conservatives not only view the research as immoral, but the imposition of government sanction as a violation of the role of government and a distressing encroachment on the role of faith.

What I would like to do is propose a peace treaty between liberals and conservatives where conservatives promise to leave government offices if liberals promise to leave church pews.

In a hundred years, we will see which is left standing.

M. Jordan Lichens

Ooops, caught you!

Honestly, I am alright with media bias if the outlet will just own up to it. It's when they pretend to be unbiased and still report with a slant that I become furious.

ukok

"Senior BBC figures have acknowledged that the corporation could suffer from "groupthink" which tended towards a liberal world view"


http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,2105978,00.html

I believe we are mostly a disgruntled nation of licence payers. There was a time, long, long ago when the general public knew and could therefore avoid those channels that pumped out liberalism; BBC 1 and BBC2 were considered to offer balanced programming, that erred if anything, to the right. But the BBC's catalogue of dramas, current affairs programmes and documentaries for example, are ever-dwindling in the face of lefty, liberalism. Instead, the BBC catapults it's social, political, (im)moral agenda onto the screens and thereby into the homes of the Licence payer. Switch on the BBC nowadays and one can scarcely differentiate between it and Channel 5, but for the lack of commercial advertisements.

What exactly are we paying for then? The consistently repeated programming, inane chat shows, retarded soaps, reality TV, pompous personalities to be salaried in their millions to host pitiful programmes? I don’t get it? Well, I do, but I don’t want to pay for it. And that’s what bites.

The problem is that the BBC doesn't have to compete to receive funding to continue spewing out its dross. It used to be the envy of other TV stations, now it's all a bit of a joke. It simply doesn't deliver the goods. If the BBC is worth its Licence fee, let it stand alone, let us see if it's worth the annual revenue it currently extorts from licence payers, if we have to pay by choice, to use the service it provides.

I don't think of myself as a BBC customer, I think of myself as a person who is having an extortionate fee exhorted from my bank account every year, for a service I invariably do not use. Unlike having the option of ditching my service providers for the phone, broadband, household utilities etc, I have absolutely no control over it, because I don't even have a choice about paying. I own a television set and therefore am bound by law to pay an annual licence fee of £134.50 - it's a criminal offence to not pay the licence fee if I want to watch/record any TV programmes even if they are not BBC programmes, how can that be right?

With the dawn of the digital age many of us now have digital TV sets, cable etc and have the option at the click of a button, of watching drivel or documentaries, nonsense or news, film or fluff on a multitude of channels. Though I appreciate the news coverage that the BBC offers and in times past, their excellent period drama series, I would scarcely miss the service they provide if I didn't have to pay for it and had only to rely on my digital TV channels for entertainment, news, sports etc. In addition to ‘freeview’ and other means of digital viewing, let’s not forget that through the medium of the internet we can now access entertainment, news, etc online....but then, oh yes, did you know that the BBC is talking about taxing us for that?

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article417851.ece

You might also find this interesting

Read one mans fight to put the BBC on trial...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2003/07/16/do1601.xml

Uncle Joe

We should expect objectivity and balance from the mass media (BBC included) rather than a conservative bias.

Proving or disproving objectivity and balance is easy - those who disagree with me are obviously biassed :) Seriously though, liberal and left-leaning groups in the UK complain of the right-wing bias in the BBC. I like to think that I want the truth and to hear alternative voices, even when my views are challenged.

The bias isn't all liberal
eg the anti nuclear war film The War Game. was banned by the BBC.

eg senior BBC staff are vetted by MI5source.

It discussing alleged bias it is useful to distinguish between social policies and economic policies. Most of the media are owned by capitalists, some of whom are socially liberal - which is the current discussion here.

Most of the mass media are owned by a relatively small number of very rich interests and individuals, who are, not surprisingly, capitalists rather than socialists. Most newspapers in the UK have a right-wing bias in selecting their news stories, and the BBC often follows their lead in news priorities eg alleged abuses of the asylum and immigration system.

If anything, I have detected an overall pro-establishment bias in the BBC regarding eg science, medicine and history. In recent years there has been an anti-catholic bias in most of the media, not just the BBC.

Perhaps because it is publicly owned, people have much higher expectations of the BBC than other media eg Fox news, and despite possible BBC biases, trust the BBC more than most other news sources.

Monica

ukok, one can always huck the television out of the upstairs window as one of my shoestring relatives did! And then not replace it. With the internet and radio, who needs TV? Ours is exclusively used for watching videos, over which I have control.

Martin Tohill

I have to be the first one to say it, "Thank God NPR isn't a hotbed of liberal bias. I know it's not cause they told me so."

Blackadder

No doubt if someone is far enough to the left, the BBC will seem biased in a right-wing direction. This doesn't show that the BBC isn't biased, only that its biased isn't as far to the left as it possibly could be.

It's also easy to pick one or two examples of conservative leaning coverage and pretend that this cancels out thousands upon thousands of examples of liberal leaning coverage. John Stossel is a libertarian, therefore the American media doesn't have a left-wing bias, etc. I'd note that of the two examples cited, both appear to be from the distant past, and only one can even be considered as a possible instance of right-wing bias (I fail to see the conservative bias in doing background checks on high-ranking government employees, particularly when the "subversive" groups you are checking for include far right-wing groups).

Given that even the BBC itself admits that it has a liberal bias, I don't see why anyone else should waste time trying to defend it against the charge.

Rick

How did we get there?

It is called the rise of the Modern "welfare/warfare" State...it destroys social institutions and teaches people to rely on a faceless bureaucrat and phony politician rather than on each other.

Tim

Stublestark writes:

"What I would like to do is propose a peace treaty between liberals and conservatives where conservatives promise to leave government offices if liberals promise to leave church pews."

Historically, a conservative country tends to place too many boundaries up; a liberal country removes too many boundaries. Each one sees the other as evil. Whether a country becomes overly conservative or liberal, the trust between people and towards God evaporate. Karl Marx writes in Capital “Commodities were not created for the division of labor.” In part this is true - but if God creates can it not be with an eye towards giving man purpose? In Genesis 3:19 it states “By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat.“ People are inspired to produce (seen in the dedication to his work); and the consumer desires to please the producer. Sit at a table and try and to say to a farmer "your food sucks". I don't know many people that would have the guts. It's not our nature. This is a real and intimate relationship present in only a grace filled capitalistic society.

Uncle Joe

Maybe only someone with a liberal conscience would agonize about their own possible liberal bias. Maybe conservatives don't worry about these things :)

Liam

The groundwork for the 1960s was laid in the trenches of World War I, which was cataclysmic in Europe (far more died on the Western Front in WW1 than in WW2) while a blip in the US (and even compared to WW2 for us). The licentiousness that blossomed then was a long-term loan come due from the privations of the interwar and war years (the 1920s were far from a period of untrammeled prosperity in Britain) - it was just a matter of time. A similar, if smaller scale, even occurred in the upper classes in the pre-WW 1 era after an earlier generation of comparative privation; and ideas seeded at that time came to full bloom in the 1960s.

ukok

Monica,

Good point! A great many years ago I lived in a 'community' that presented itself as a Christian community, but is in fact (I later discovered - just before I left) one of Britain's largest Cults. The couple of years I lived in community, we had no TV or radio. It wasn't difficult to live without it, but then I was young, single and without children at the time so found it easier to entertain myself, perhaps.

However, the negative side of having no TV at the time was that I missed the opportunitites of watching the documentaries about the very cult I was in!!!

Nowadays we mostly use our TV to connect my son's gaming devices to it or for watching DVD's and videos. I do like to still have the choice of watching the TV though, so I don't think I would scrap it altogether.

Jarnor23

While this is an interesting article, I'd like to make what I feel is a very important aside.

Eliminating the death penalty is hardly a utilitarian stance. Offing inconvenient people is a very practical and easy thing to do. Stalin loved it, in fact, as do some of the most hardcore liberals even today, at least to use against conservatives.

A lack of respect towards life isn't something Catholics should push, nor should we bemoan ending capital punishment as if it was some grave evil akin to allowing abortion. Our Holy Fathers of late have said capital punishment should likely not be used in modern society. To write them off is ignoring the guidance of the Holy See, much as those we are railing against here have done about homosexual "marriage", abortion, and a myriad of other issues. Let's not be like they are being in reverse.

Foxfier

Jarnor- keep in mind that the statement on the death penalty is not a binding element of the faith, unlike homosexual marriage, abortion, etc.

I tie the urge to remove the death penalty in "progressive" countries to the same theory that makes abortion OK, and any sexual permutation at least worth considering seriously: rejection of personal responsibility.
Given that the average served time for murder in the United states is less than a decade.... Well, I have serious doubts about modern society being able to get by without the death penalty.

I'd be pleased if it were possible, but it has not yet been shown that society as it is can effectively deal with dire criminals without the death penalty.

Jarnor23

Fox, I'm sorry but here you are simply wrong to throw out authentic teaching from the Holy Father and the Catechism just because it's not something infallibly defined. We are to look to the Magisterium for guidance, not just when it is infallible, or worse, only when it suits our preconceived notions.

Just because people who are wrong about another matter are against something, it does NOT mean it is a good thing. Heck, quite a few liberal friends I have are very honestly against poverty, does that mean Catholics should be for poverty? I think you can see where this is a mistake.

Of course, what those friends want to DO about poverty may not be correct, and that's another matter, but a Catholic should want to help the poor due to the Magisterium's teachings, even if someone were to claim it wasn't definitively held as infallible. Of course, I think since Christ told us to help the poor, we need look no further, even though we also know we will always have them until the end.

Jarnor23

And another note, if criminals can be locked up for life without parole, of which there are VERY few escapes these days, then why would a Catholic not want at least the chance to redeem this soul until God takes him or her home? Is it mercy to say "your life isn't worth anything, and we are sending you presumably to hell"?

If it is the ONLY way to protect society, then it must be done, much like shooting a criminal holding a hostage. We should never wish it upon anyone though, and pray for their redemption.

Not to mention of the thorny questions about executing the innocent.

Foxfier

Jar, this is obviously a highly charged emotional argument for you. I don't want to derail this posts' topic, so I'm not going to get into the argument.

However, I will stand by simply stating that it is not forbidden by the teaching of the Church.

It is a long standing peeve of mine when folks try to put actually forbidden things on the same footing as frowned upon ones-- it weakens the teachings of what is always wrong.

Foxfier

And of course I find the page I was looking for AFTER I hit enter....

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0503fea2.asp

JoAnna

Foxfier, Jarnor never denied your assertion that it is not "forbidden" by the Church to be in favor of the death penalty.

He's saying that it is our duty as Catholics to inform our consciences on this subject by taking into account what the various Popes and the Magisterium HAS about the death penalty; namely, that it's not strictly necessary in civilized societies and that everyone should be given a chance for redemption.

Foxfier

JoAnna- I was responding to the following quote:

Fox, I'm sorry but here you are simply wrong to throw out authentic teaching from the Holy Father and the Catechism just because it's not something infallibly defined.

Which can very easily be read as "The Church teaches it. Do it."

I want to make very, very sure that such an impression does not stand.

Mary

And another note, if criminals can be locked up for life without parole, of which there are VERY few escapes these days, then why would a Catholic not want at least the chance to redeem this soul until God takes him or her home?

1. California recently executed a man who was serving life without parole when he committed the murders -- or rather, had them committed for him -- for which he was executed. It is not merely few escapes. It is NO outside contact, because if you can talk with anyone, you can arrange a murder.

2. There is no reason to believe that more years to repent is more beneficial for repentance than the awareness that death is coming down the pike. As Dr. Johnson observed, the prospect of execution concentrates the mind wonderfully. Executing a man may save him by making him aware of his impending death, while a life sentence may lose him because he dies, unexpectedly, of a heart attack.

Esau

When faced with one's immediate mortality, it is more likely that the criminal will think more seriously of his repentance.

However, when one is already suffering consecutive sentences for multiple murders, what further penalty can this criminal suffer?

Another additional sentence on top of those?

In other words, this person has nothing to lose; that is to say, it is more than likely he will proceed committing further murders rather than committing himself to any possible sense of repentance.

Esau

In other words, the death penalty (which, by the way, is consistent with passages in Scripture) rightfully conveys the serious consequences for taking a life.

StubbleSpark

As far as the license fee is concerned, I remember being assaulted with the NHK fee while I was living in Japan.

I simply did not pay it.

Of course my grounds for not paying had nothing to do with moral outrage. I just told the collector that I was a foreigner and could not understand the programming and thus could hardly be expected to pay it. Of course I said this in Japanese but the fact is they left me alone. What were they going to do? Argue with me?

I did not feel bad about it either because I thought their programming was the most boring stuff and I had a fair amount of American outrage that I was being asked for money without the fuss of a telethon.

As far as the whole idea that liberals tend to erase boundaries while conservatives build them up is concerned, I think that runs counter to the very idea of liberalism. LIberals love to organize society through the state and conservatives through the Church.

Big government and international government are about as pro-establishment as you can get. And no one has yet to address democrats' betrayal of labor to the multinationals.

It is no wonder though, that media liberals get this wrong. It took them this long just to owe up to the bias in the first place and now after decades of moral relativism, in order to be fair to the non "chattering classes", they finally have to sit down and figure out just what it was they stood for.

Watching that process is bound to be painful for us and embarrassing for them.

It did not surprise me in the least that a liberal would be in favor strict societal control during World War II because that is a very liberal thing to do.

Al

Executing a man may save him by making him aware of his impending death, while a life sentence may lose him because he dies, unexpectedly, of a heart attack.

Ok, why not then be first to sign up for your own execution.

Foxfier

StubbleSpark-- I tend to believe that the US type left/right divide is the group responsibility vs the personal responsibility.

I know that the left and right in other countries is different, but for the US.... Liberals want to take care of everyone, so they can start from the same level and have the same chance to do the same things; conservatives want to give people the chance to be all they can be, to choose their own path without pulling down others to make it "fair".

bill912

You make perfect sense, Mary.

Berk

conservatives want to give people the chance to be all they can be.

Liberals want that too.

Foxfier

Berk, did you read the rest of the statement? You can't take a small part of a paragraph and try to refute just that-- it's a straw man, and it just wastes time and effort.

I would, however, like to know how *taking* my money and giving it to folks who have less is letting me be all I can be. It may level the playing field, making things more "fair", but it is removing my ability to build on what I have previously accomplished, thus reducing my ability to be all I can be. (I know money isn't everything, but that doesn't mean that theft or thuggery is a *good* thing. A forced virtue is no virtue at all. And that's BEFORE we reach the question of if it's even an effective way to help folks.)

bill912

If somebody uses force to take my money and gives it to someone else, it's called "robbery". When government uses force (threat of arrest, fine, and/or imprisonment) to take my money and give it to someone else, it's called "taxes".

Berk

I would, however, like to know how *taking* my money and giving it to folks who have less is letting me be all I can be

You want to play victim? No one is taking your money. You are voluntarily participating. If you don't like the rules, you can work to change them or leave or not play by them.

It may level the playing field, making things more "fair", but it is removing my ability to build on what I have previously accomplished, thus reducing my ability to be all I can be.

The rules say the rules can change. That's simply part of the game. Opportunities last while they last. If you made the most of it while it lasted, good for you. Why complain? The only "reduction" is in your fantasy of what "all you can be" and that things are supposed to go on in some particular way forever. It's your dream. It makes no sense to play victim over it.

Esquire

Represented a man on death row, and I have no doubt that receiving the death sentence was the best thing that ever happened for him. He quite sincerely turned his life around in prison, and died in peace.

I am also quite certain that our capital punishment system (at least in the state I live in, which executes more than its fair share) is hopelessly broken and beyond repair. Assuming for the sake of argument that the death penalty could still theoretically serve any legitimate purpose in the U.S. (I believe that the actual cases in which it could still do so, in the U.S., are so remote as to be hopelessly speculative), it is so inequitably and unjustly applied that common decency (if one were in reasonably full possession of the facts) would require it to be scrapped altogether.

In different times and in a different place, the death penalty certainly served as a legitimate witness to the transcendent value of life, and particularly innocent life. In a culture that is so blind to the value of life that at least half of the population sees absolutely nothing wrong with executing 4,000 innocent babies a day (in the environment where they should be the safest), and will literally fight to the death to hold on at all costs for the "right" to do so, it is virtually impossible that the transcendent message will be accurately received.

Shortly after my client, and my friend, was executed, I saw a tragic interview with a victim's mother immediately after a trial had resulted in the death penalty for her son's killer. Her reaction (completely understandable) was that she would be "dancing for joy when they stick that needle in his arm." Now one does not have to be St. Francis or John Paul the Great to recognize that emotion as unhealthy.

Unfortunately, in a society that is for all practical purposes a culture of death, that is the emotion that the death penalty gives birth to. We can discuss theory and nuance all day, but the fact of the matter is that there is not a single execution that has taken place in the United States since the death penalty was re-instated that Pope John Paul II, and dare I say Pope Benedict XVI, would have agreed was necessary or desireable. I agree with them, wholeheartedly.

bill912

"No one is taking your money."

What is amazing is that he actually posted that more than 20 minutes after my post directly above his.

Foxfier

You want to play victim?

Ooh, you want to be self-righteous? Please tell me when we voted on becoming communistic. Please show me where Congress, the Judiciary or the Executive was given the power to make us a communist nation. Please explain to me how a Republic with a democratic tradition became fair game for communism.

The rules say the rules can change.

Please show me these rules.

While you're at it, how about you tune down the attitude. This post is on political philosophy. That's it. If you think I'm wrong, *explain your alternate position*. I am sick and tired of a simple post being responded to as if I was attacking your mother-- it shows a great lack of reason on your behalf that you have to attack *me* rather than what is actually said.

Foxfier

Italics off.

Foxfier

Hm, that didn't work.

bill912

"If you don't like the rules, you can...not play by them."

Yeah. Try that and you'll be in need of Esquire's services.

Berk

While you're at it, how about you tune down the attitude.

In the vein of a true conservative... How about you control yourself and take a little responsibility for your behavior? No need to continue the victim act. Or do you need someone else's help to "be all you can be"?

Try that and you'll be in need of Esquire's services.

Try that and you WILL be all that you can be.

Mary

You want to play victim? No one is taking your money. You are voluntarily participating. If you don't like the rules, you can work to change them or leave or not play by them.

"Not play by them" -- at which point he would be dragged off to jail and quite possibly shot and killed if he tried to escape. And this is voluntary?

By this logic, there is no such thing as a tyranny on the face of the earth.

Foxfier

Berk, I am willing to take responsibility for MY behavior. Not anyone else's, seeing as I don't have children as of yet.

I also want OTHERS to take responsibility for their own actions. Which means that they not *take* my resources. If I offer, it is honorable to accept, if they are in need-- but not *take*.

You still haven't offered your own definition of what the two parties are, nor have you responded to the entire quote.

Berk

 "Not play by them" -- at which point he would be dragged off to jail and quite possibly shot and killed if he tried to escape. And this is voluntary?

You can go live in China if you prefer. Or hideout in the mountains of Utah in a shack. Kill yourself if you want. Your choice.

By this logic, there is no such thing as a tyranny on the face of the earth.

It's an affliction for those who do not accept responsibility for the way the world is.

Foxfier

Nevermind. Someone trolling.


Sorry, folks, I thought it was a chance for an actual discussion.

bill912

Ladies and gentlemen, we are dealing with a truly irrational mind. Goodnight, all.

Berk

Which means that they not *take* my resources.

You can put your money in a tin can in the backyard if you want. No one will take it until you voluntarily offer it in trade with others. If you don't like the terms, you don't have to accept.

Berk

we are dealing with a truly irrational mind.

The irrational mind is the victim mentality.

Jarnor23

Oh, I see, we are all little Popes here and can completely judge for ourselves without any input from the Magisterium?

If you are ignoring the teaching of the Magisterium without good reason, you are endangering yourself, AND others through this action. While the death penalty is allowed if it's the only way to preserve society, it is CLEARLY spoken against by our faith as some cure all measure the way you people are saying. Frankly, it's more than a little off putting that people will scream Cafeteria Catholic when their way isn't followed, but yet say everything's optional when it's their pet issue. We are to look to the Church for guidance, not for backing us up in our preconceived notions.

And I think the person who noticed that if a death sentence actually helped people repent, one should volunteer to be executed immediately perfectly caught the fallacy of such a mindset.

If we are brutalizers for Christ, it's hard to explain His mercy to others. Even more so to Him when He asks why you would take a more violent solution than needed in our society, if John Paul II is correct about this matter. Given he was the Pope, I kind of give him the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

Foxfier

Oh, I see, we are all little Popes here and can completely judge for ourselves without any input from the Magisterial?

Current Pope, pre-Popehood, on a topic he is very well acquainted with: "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Berk, I'm going to ignore you now. You've quite well shown to more than one person that you're just trying to fight, and you're not even doing it well.

Berk

you're just trying to fight, and you're not even doing it well.

I'm a true conservative.

Jarnor23

Here's a K of C pamphlet examining Catholic issues on the death penalty. I assume we don't find them too liberal? It pretty much says what one would expect if they've read the Catechism - the death penalty, while allowed, is a last resort that should likely be unneeded in modern society. http://www.kofc.org/un/rc/en/publications/cis/publications/veritas/Veritas_CIS302.pdf

As for the argument about someone in prison ordering a killing, well they sure can do that from death row as well, can't they? Or even kill someone themselves there. I mean, they have NOTHING to lose then whatsoever either, which is oddly something someone was objecting to a life sentence about.

And then that little messy business people always like to ignore about innocents being on death row, as has happened in the past, and frankly, has probably happened right until an innocent was murdered on death row at least once by the state.

Be careful in hunting "liberals" that we don't become monsters ourselves.

Jarnor23

Just because you can mentally hold an opinion without being excommunicated does NOT mean that you're free to ignore the Church's teachings on it.

Carl

There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty

Is that saying it's ok to go with whatever you think on the death penalty?

Jarnor23

And current Pope, pre-popehood did NOT carry infallibility in such a statement. I'd take the sitting Pope's opinion on that matter first.

Foxfier

Carl, it means what it says.

Can we go back to the topic of the post?

Jarnor23

Apparently waging war, any war, must be pretty awesome too by that standard. I mean, we clearly get to think WHATEVER we like with NO input from the Magisterium, according to this line of thought.

Foxfier

And current Pope, pre-popehood did NOT carry infallibility in such a statement. I'd take the sitting Pope's opinion on that matter first.

.... Who has not issued an infallible statement, either.

Thus, it is your option.

Check mate.

Carl

Carl, it means what it says.

Ok, then I'll take it that you're to listen to Church teaching on the subject.

Mary

It pretty much says what one would expect if they've read the Catechism - the death penalty, while allowed, is a last resort that should likely be unneeded in modern society

"Should be unneeded" is a prudential judgment, on which the Pope has no more authority than any other Catholic.

Mary

As for the argument about someone in prison ordering a killing, well they sure can do that from death row as well, can't they?

Which is an argument against the dragged out death sentences we have nowadays, not the death penalty.

Rick

on which the Pope has no more authority than any other Catholic.

But perhaps he has better judgment.

Foxfier

Rick- "perhaps" is still not binding.

Rick

What's binding is to give Church teaching serious consideration.

Jarnor23

You must think I'm Australian and you ordered something from me, since you asked for a check, mate. I only surmise because you, being incorrect, could not possibly otherwise be trying to say you actually WON that argument.

Plainly and simply, one who ignores and goes against every Church teaching they can, doing the bare minimum to be called a Catholic, isn't much of a Catholic at all. If you fight everything the Church says is good, and accept everything they say is bad EXCEPT where they say HERE you have absolutely no choice, you're being legalistic and outside of the spirit of the Church.

And that's someplace one should not wish to be. But that's only my opinion I guess, and one should be perfectly happy to be outside of the Church's teachings, except the infallible ones.

Foxfier

You must think I'm Australian and you ordered something from me, since you asked for a check, mate. I only surmise because you, being incorrect, could not possibly otherwise be trying to say you actually WON that argument.

No, I assumed that you are familiar with chess. I'm horrible at the game, but even I know that in chess, when there is a checkmate, you either stay where you are and lose, or you move to a different position and the game goes on.

Simply put: The CHURCH doesn't teach anything of the sort. JPII and others have stated views, but those are not official teachings. Please stop stating that they are of the same binding nature as the prohibition of abortion, unless you can offer binging teachings to the contrary.

For the love of little green apples, even *Catholic Answers* says that it's a legitimate differing view! That means it's within the Church. That means that I'm just as Catholic as you.

Jeeze, I'm about ready to bring out that tired old barb of "more Catholic than the Pope" and leave it at that!

Foxfier

I'm starting to think that there's a problem, since I triple-checked my tags....

Matthew Siekierski

Jarnor, Carl, Rick, why are you assuming that those who think the death penalty might still be needed are ignoring or not considering the Church teaching on the topic? That really seems to be leaping to a conclusion. Not to mention that the whole thing is a red herring and has nothing to do with bias in the media.

Matthew Siekierski

Actually, Foxfier, "check" allows one to move the King, move another piece in the way (if possible), or take the opposing piece that has the king in check. Checkmate (or just "mate") means that the king is in check and cannot get out of it in any way. Stalemate is when one person has no legitimate move (i.e., the king isn't in check, but the only moves available would put the king in check. The rules of the game don't allow that to happen.)

Regarding the tags, are you using "i" or "em" for your italics? I've had success with "em".

Mary

Plainly and simply, one who ignores and goes against every Church teaching they can, doing the bare minimum to be called a Catholic, isn't much of a Catholic at all.


No, I can't say that. Even though you are going against the explicit teaching of the Catholic Church -- namely, that the death penalty is morally permissable and whether it should be applied is a prudential judgment on which the teaching is not binding -- I can't say that you aren't much of a Catholic.

Foxfier

Matt-- I've been using I. I'll try the Em next time.

Barbara

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty when it's the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

Esau

Oh, I see, we are all little Popes here and can completely judge for ourselves without any input from the Magisterium?


Jarnor23:

Do you even know what you're talking about???

Subsequent to the release of the encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Benedict XVI) issued a memorandum in which he pointed out that presumably because of the ambiguities that surround this question, there can be a legitimate diversity of opinion among Catholics regarding when Capital Punishment should be used.

And so, there would seem to be room for discussion on this issue and that could be indicated by the fact that the Holy Father – the previous Holy Father, John Paul II – phrased it himself in a very tentative way on this subject.

He was clearly not trying to settle all the questions that are in this area. Furthermore, he was making a sociological judgment based on his estimation on the current world scene and, while Popes are protected in matters of Theology, and can even teach theological premises infallibly if they choose to do so, their understanding of the social realities all over the world and how to apply moral principles to all of those complex situations is not similarly guaranteed.

There are contingent factors around the world sociologically that kind of go beyond the Pope’s teaching sphere and, so, there’s kind of a fuzzy border between the moral principles and how they get applied in concrete individual situations, and its in that area that the limit of the Church’s Teaching Authority is reached in that fuzzy area, because the Church intends to propose basic principles for us but then it’s up to the laity who are on the ground, in concrete circumstances, to try to figure out how to apply those in particular cases.

J.R. Stoodley

Esau,

I'm with you on this one. There are is lots of confusion on this matter, and those who think it is a simple right to life issue are sorely mistaken. Take for example these two quotes that I pulled quickly off a random website:

Pope Pius XII, Sept. 14, 1952: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger made this statement in a June, 2004 memo to the U.S. Bishops: "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

JPII's personal opposition to the dealth penalty in all cases is clear. He and others strongly influenced the Church to become essentally anti-capital punishment, but he could not and did not change the ultimate Catholic doctrine on this which does leave the option open in at least some circumstances.

Tim J.

I can't believe there is an argument going on regarding the death penalty.

Check the Catechism. The Church teaches that the state retains the right to use the death penalty. Whether its use is prudent and moral depends on the circumstances.

JPII believed that no circumstances exist in the modern West that justify the death penalty. That was his prudential judgment, and should be seriously meditated upon, but it does not overturn the clear teaching of the Church presented in the Catechism, which JPII himself promulgated. Case closed.

It is error to say that Church teaching prohibits use of the death penalty.

Barbara

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty when it's the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

Mike Petrik

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Though I agree that statement is unassailably true, I also agree with Carl's implication above, which is that Catholic teaching regards the death penalty as permissable only as a last resort grounded in societal self-defense, and the prudential calculus should be limited only to making that assessment.
Within that limitation, a faithful Catholic can favor legal option of the death penalty. I say that as an opponent of the death penalty for the reasons articulated so well by Esquire yesterday evening.

fex daylag

THANK YOU FOR SPREADING THE TRUTHS!!!!

If somebody uses force to take my money and gives it to someone else, it's called "robbery". When government uses force (threat of arrest, fine, and/or imprisonment) to take my money and give it to someone else, it's called "taxes".

Yes, because the government is inherently different than an individual. Otherwise not only would taxation be criminal, so would imprisoning citizens for crimes, executing murderers, waging war, etc. Really, being totally anti-tax is NOT an acceptable Catholic position. Nor indeed is it an acceptable position for any intelligent human being to take (and NO ONE takes it consistently).

StubbleSpark

Fox,
I do not see how your distinction between the left/right in the US necessarily counters my previous assertions regarding the left as being pro-government and the right being pro-faith. Your stated example of personal responsibility versus group-enforced responsibility is merely a restating of my previous thoughts from a slightly different perspective.

In other words, I think it is safe to say we can agree.

I believe this towering similarity between the two political poles to be undeniable. No one can seriously say that the left fears and disdains monolithic government just as no one can seriously say the right fears and disdains monolithic faith.

How the left has been able to package its message as being anti-establishment without being challenged until now, however, is a great mystery to me. Except for a few courageous speakers whose hearts are informed by a faith in rebellion against the world, people still labor under the false idea that liberals are anti-establishment.

It is the kind of idea that is so obviously false that it ends up being accepted unquestioningly as a truism by our culture. Only a lie could be believed in as earnestly as this.

We who believe in the One God know and experience the occasional pang of existentialism, the dreadful fear in the quiet of the night that death will come and drag us into oblivion. No serious Christian has been able to avoid a long, hard look at the possibility that reality might not countenance the existence of God.

Yet we still know God's existence is true.

Modern "liberalism" is as anti-establishment as the SUVs liberals drive and the slave-labor Nike's they wear. They back the only institution in the modern world that could possibly hold sway over us as monolithic and invasive.

When was the last time a pastor threatened to take away your gun? When was the last time you spent the night up in April calculating your tithe? When was the last time the Church charged you for sending your children to a public school? The Church may point out homosexual acts as sinful but she cannot, as the government does, fine you for speaking in public about it.

Not even kings enjoyed the degree of power our president enjoys today. But you will not hear a word of criticism from the liberal because he is as breathless with the prospect of being a king-maker as any medieval political opportunist. They love the monarchy of the Oval Office.

Liberals are pro-monarchy, pro-monolithic institution, and pro-invasive government and the scary thing is, they are the ones backing the only force in this modern day that is capable of totally inflicting its will on all of us.

Richard

Honestly, I think our Liberal Media is just a reflection of society's Collective Laziness and Stupidity(really trying to be gentle here). If there weren't so many people relying solely on one news source, and would actually pick up a book every now and again, it wouldn't be profitable for them (Media) to spout off garbage that some of us can see right through.

In some cases, it's just wordplay and/or placing the conservative ideas within a story at a point that may be ignored by the listener/reader. It also can be the tone of the persons voice or the mannerisms in which they report the stories. In my town, the newspaper may only include the weaker Conservative voice against a stronger Liberal opinion, and leave the Conservative voice out when a weaker Liberal argument is present. In another scenario, a television show I just stopped watching took it's main characters; those whom the viewer had come to feel comfortable with, and portrayed them in all in a push for same sex coupling.

Maybe this recent occurrence with the BBC will cause the Media to look in the mirror and ask the hard questions. Or maybe it will just disappear in their "Black Hole" of a vacuum.

Jarnor23

Mary, since I made it clear that I concur with the Church's teaching that it is permissible, if needed for the defense of the state, clearly I am not out of line with Church teaching.

However, you people who love killing so much that you support the death penalty's widespread use despite what the Catechism or Pope John-Paul II said are. You have a right to be in opposition, but a right to disagree and having it be the correct or moral thing are not the same. Technically, since not infallibly defined, that whole stupid women priests thing can be argued, or at least one can try to make a point that it can be argued. Is it helpful to the Church, or good for our spiritual development to do so? Not likely.

When we act against mercy as hard as we can, and then play CYA by saying "but the Church doesn't ALWAYS ban this" is a cheap trick, worthy of "pro-choice Catholics" and their ilk. The only difference is that conservatives tend to disagree with the church on everything the Republican party likes, and the liberals on the Democrats. It's a matter of luck to the Republicans that so far their issues have been less non-negotiable.

Bookworm

I may be wrong, but actually I am pretty sure I saw somewhere that the whole women priest thing was declared infallible. I can't remember the exact source in which it was, but I am pretty sure that it was asked before on the Ask and Apologist portion of Catholic Answer's forums.

Tim J.

"...you people who love killing so much that you support the death penalty's widespread use..."

And who would that be? Not me.

It wouldn't break my heart to see the end of the DP in the U.S., but it can't be argued that Church teaching demands this.

Then there is the problem of what to do with the really hard cases - those who keep right on killing even in prison. Prisoners and guards must be considered part of society, too, and they ARE in danger from such violent prisoners.

Jarnor23

Well Tim, I think that's where we can make a much more rational case for an execution, if someone, even after incarceration, is a proven danger to others. I'm just not liking the jovial cheerfulness about killing I had been seeing about. However, until the Church says all executions must stop, I think some dire circumstances may come about, and there we do have some discussion room. To pretend that John-Paul's words mean nothing and execution should be a regular thing is another story entirely.

Oh, and Bookworm, I used that example because of an analysis on this blog about that issue. Jimmy did a pretty thorough job, and it was an interesting read. I'm afraid I'm too tired to look it up right now, but a quick search should find it.

Leo

For those interested in what the Vatican thinks about the death penalty, the Pontifical Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has recently issued a 13-page dossier on the death penalty - basically pro-life. Links and summary at Vox Nova

Jarnor23

That's my main problem, people don't really give a rip what the Vatican thinks about the death penalty unless forced to agree. I think there's a lot to be said about following the guidance of the Church even when not forced to under pain of excommunication.

But if Anne Rice's Amazon page has a link to a Kung book, well, that's an exception, and even though it's not explicitly prohibited, it clearly shows she's not much of a Catholic. That's damn near a direct quote from another thread.

Double standard much?

Tim J.

"That's my main problem, people don't really give a rip what the Vatican thinks about the death penalty unless forced to agree."

Well, that may apply to some people (actually, there are some who consider JPII a heretic because he was not in support of killing as many murderers as possible), but not to all.

I have taken JPII's thoughts under serious consideration and, as I say, it would not break my heart to see the end of the DP here in the U.S.. However, ensuring that some of these violent types can't commit more violence would require keeping them in conditions that would very likely be considered inhumane. It is no easy question.

Esau

That's my main problem, people don't really give a rip what the Vatican thinks about the death penalty unless forced to agree. I think there's a lot to be said about following the guidance of the Church even when not forced to under pain of excommunication.


I guess then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) happens to be one of those people then!

Jarnor23

See, Tim, that's a reasonable position that is very respectable on such a hard issue. I have no beef with that. It's the people who aren't trying to absorb the Church's teachings before finding problems or outright rejecting that I really feel disappointed about. If the Church cannot teach people inside of it, how can the Church reach the souls outside that need guidance? Why should those outside give a darn if we don't even listen to the guidance of our Church. This is even worse when it IS a non-negotiable thing such as abortion that Catholics are ignoring Church teaching about, of course.

Esau, I like you, but you're going into the same mode here that you use when you start attacking John. Please just put your point clearly, and then I can see what it is you are disagreeing with.

Esau

Jarnor,

Please refer to my Aug 15, 2007 9:11:17 AM Post above.

I was assuming you read it.

Tim J.

"It's the people who aren't trying to absorb the Church's teachings before finding problems or outright rejecting that I really feel disappointed about"

Well, see, here's my minor beef with that statement; "Church teaching" is not that the death penalty should never be used. It just isn't. That was JPII's counsel, which I take very seriously, but I don't believe his position on the death penalty should be called "church teaching" in these discussions. It just serves to confuse his prudential judgment for de fide doctrine.

Church teaching allows that the Death Penalty may be used but only in the most grave of circumstances, and every Catholic ought to become aware of what those circumstances are.

JPII was of the mind that such circumstances practically never exist in the modern West. He may or may not be correct on that.

I agree with your assertion (I think) that many have never really seriously considered what JPII was trying to say. As in so may cases, there seem to be two extremes of interpretation. One says that "The Church now teaches that the death penalty is immoral and that we are bound to oppose it" and the other says "That was just the Pope's personal opinion, so I don't have to listen to it".

Esau

"Church teaching" is not that the death penalty should never be used. It just isn't.

Thank-you, Tim J.

Jarnor23

Esau, I can't believe you thought I'd remember what you said nine days ago without a reminder in a lengthy thread. A refresher would have been useful.

Okay, at any rate, here goes. First of all, at the time Ratzinger was a Cardinal, not the Pope, and the current Pope at the time worded things stronger. If Ratzinger as the now current Pope were to reiterate that, it would certainly strengthen the statement. I think you would suppose as well as I that not everything he said as Cardinal he would say in the same way today. Being Pope has a higher burden on what you are saying given its higher weight.

Secondly, and more importantly, just because more than one opinion can be held does not mean all opinions are as correct, as charitable, or as in line with the Church's teaching.

Finally, Tim J. isn't fully agreeing with your stance, please reread instead of trying to use it as some sort of "victory" in this matter.

Now, Tim J.: Church teaching is not that the death penalty cannot be used. However, it is getting more and more to the point where it should NOT be used ordinarily. There are infallible eternal Church teachings, and then there are teachings of the Church, which, while not required, are for your own good, and teach you Christ's ways.

The Church Jesus made is not here only to say "these 15 things are inflexible, you must obey, everything else, live as you want and claim it's Christ's way". It gives day to day advice to us, year to year, generation to generation. To ignore what the Pope says is the right and good way to live is to toss Christ aside and say "hey, I got this myself and don't need any help from you God, thank you very much". It's a ridiculously self-sufficient, and frankly, self-important way of looking at your relationship with God. It's also EXTREMELY in line with a Protestant world view, and even more so with the American one where we won't have anyone telling us what to do even if it helps people.

So, yes, given that Church teaching is more than merely purely infallible statements of the Church, and that we should consider it strongly, lets look at that teaching.

Here's from a book that I guess you "infallible only please" folks won't care much for (and I'm specifically saying I don't think this likely means you Tim). The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Highlights added.

2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'

Oh, and since you'll be disregarding this Catechism as "optional", you may want to look at this statement by John Paul II, which I hope you won't ignore.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!
The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus' disciples (cf. Lk 22:32 as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith. Therefore, I ask all the Church's Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.

IN CONCLUSION: Even where you won't be kicked out of the Church for disagreeing, to submit your heart, soul, and will to Christ's Church is a mark of humility, intelligence, and sanity. It is far better to do so than make up your own answers or protest needlessly in all but the most serious cases.

Jarnor is actually taking the same view that he condemns: separating Church teaching into just two groups. Those he condemns think all non-infallible teachings are just suggestions that can be taken or left, Jarnor thinks all teachings, no matter how small should be adhered to (i.e., he's an ultra-Montanist). The truth is more nuanced than that. There are dogmas which require assent of faith and cannot be denied without automatic excommunication, there are non-infallible teachings that nonetheless require assent of mind and will, and there many levels of teaching below that, some more serious than others, some caught up in prudential judgment and some not. Frankly, if one tries to assent to every last barely known nearly weightless statement that has ever come out of the Vatican, one will soon become a stark raving schizophrenic.

I can appreciate the notion that accepting everything, even the things you're allowed not to accept, can seem humble, but really it isn't. If the Church says it's okay to think differently, then it's okay to think differently. Period. If the Church wanted everyone to fall in line, they'd state the matter more forcefully. Areas which the Church allows for a legitimate diversity of opinion are totally subject to change; it does the Church no good to fall in line like a bunch of lemmings just because it happens to be the favored view of the moment and then instantly take the opposite position when THAT becomes the favored view. Ultra-Montanism and Cafeteria Catholism are kissing cousins and should be rejected by all thinking Catholics (the REAL kind, not the phonies you meet in the pages of Commonweal, America, and the NCR).

Jarnor23

Dear Anonymous Coward:
While obviously there are levels of authority, I hardly see the harm in following the Church's lead when there's not a damn good reason. Nice use of personal attack to try to label me as a heretic, BTW.

I hereby dub Anonymous posters labeling others as heretics through a misinterpretation of others' positions Moronism. You sir are the leader of this brave movement.

Jarnor23

Clarification: I hardly see the harm in following the Church's lead when there's not a damn good reason not to follow that teaching. To not follow the Church where there's not a damn good reason, I'd have to go to a parish that had liturgical dancers, or at least run for president as a Catholic in Name Only.

Jarnor23

Oh, and while I'm not suggesting excommunicating folks who don't follow every Church teaching (which would be wrong), I AM suggesting that if you think you're immune from criticism for doing so, you're clearly mistaken.

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