Did the Pontiff ‘nail it’ on this issue, or is this a ‘swing and a miss’?
Within the Christian community, there are people on both sides of the issue of capital punishment using Scripture to back up their claims.
The head of the Catholic Church has made an official change to Catholic doctrine that alters historical teaching on the issue.
The Pope has now proclaimed that the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases
The argument that the Pope is using is that life is sacred.
Is that missing the point of why the death penalty was given in the first place?
What about those that take a life — or several?
Does our more modern practice of NOT taking ‘life for life’ promote the sacredness of ALL life or does it diminish both the value of life and the seriousness of snuffing it out?
Here’s a quick summary of his points.
ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a shift in Roman Catholic teaching on the issue.
[…] The pontiff, who is the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, said the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
Previously, the catechism allowed the death penalty in some cases, if it was “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor,” even if in reality “cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender today are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
[…] “In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”
[…] He wrote a detailed letter in 2015 to the International Commission against the death penalty, arguing that capital punishment “does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance.”
Source: New York Times
Whatever you may think about his position — for or against the death penalty [this editor supports it both for practical civic reasons and biblical ones] — one thing the Pontiff said gives pause.
Capital punishment ‘does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance’.
What a shockingly man-centered interpretation of Divine Law for a man of the cloth to assert.
It would be easy to get into the weeds here. Let’s leave aside a few things and focus on the ‘big picture’.
Leaving aside the vaious conversations about required evidence to convict — two witnesses — the different biblical provisions for handling accidental manslaughter vs cold-blooded murder, the fact that the State and not the Church has oversight over the penal system and its implementation (Romans 13) and that God specifically leaves room for ‘the sword’ as a viable punishment therein. Leaving aside also, any questions of whether it’s any more moral or decent to let a man languish in a cage for 50 years than it is to give him a swift end.
Leaving aside the clear biblical linguistic distinctions between killing in the context of ‘murder’ as opposed to military service or meting out civil punishment…
Leaving aside all these and other factors so often raised in this debate there is another concern. Or rather, two related concerns.
First — in stating that the death penalty is driven by vengeance, rather than justice, is this not also, by implication, impugning the character of the Holy God who gave his people that law in the first place?
And Second — in focussing on ‘justice to the victims’ has he forgotten the Biblical demand for justice to be served against the wrongdoer… not to satisfy the victim — who is often dead — but to satisfy DIVINE justice?
Does this verse (or the observations made in that article) sound like the main Divine concern is the Rehabilitation of the wicked or is it the establishing of Justice in a nation?
Deuteronomy 21:1-9 reads as follows: “If anyone is found slain, lying in the field in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance from the slain man to the surroundings cities. And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not been pulled with a yoke. The elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with flowing water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and they shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; by their word every controversy and every assault shall be settled. And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. Then they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, nor have our eyes seen it. Provide atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and do not lay innocent blood to the charge of Your people Israel.’ And atonement shall be provided on their behalf for the blood. So you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you when you do what is right in the sight of God.”
Is the Pope taking a bold moral stand here? Or is he way out in Left Field?
by Doug Giles
Doug Giles, best-selling author of Raising Righteous And Rowdy Girls and Editor-In-Chief of the mega-blog, ClashDaily.com, has just penned a book he guarantees will kick hipster males into the rarefied air of masculinity. That is, if the man-child will put down his frappuccino; shut the hell up and listen and obey everything he instructs them to do in his timely and tornadic tome. Buy Now:The Effeminization Of The American Male
This shirt is sure to liven up the party. It doesn’t have just ONE controversial statement, but TWO. With Jesus in the mix, it could nearly start a riot.
Which, if you’ve read the book, was pretty much what would happen when Jesus swept into town, anyway. But which part of the shirt will get people more heated?
Jesus kicking ass? Some people actually have a problem with that?
Set aside the fact that he’s returning as a conquering king:
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.
Even in his time here, he was hardly the hippie-dippie gentle Jesus that pacifists would paint him as. He told his followers to ‘buy a sword’.
He swaggered into the temple like he owned the place. Because He does.
He saw the contempt the merchants and swindlers had for the real significance of the house — and he started braiding a whip.
A WHIP! Then he started, literally, cleaning house.
And before the Fundamentalists get too pleased with themselves… do you know what his very FIRST miracle was?
Turning water into wine.
No, dear. Not ‘grape juice’. Are you kidding? What self-respecting wedding host would have fallen for Welches?. The steward of the feast called it ‘the good stuff’. As in the quality vintage.
Why? Because a wedding is to be celebrated, with wine.
Just how much did Jesus ‘approve’ or ‘disapprove’ of wine?
Let’s flip the question back on the teetotalers: do the words ‘drink this in remembrance of me’ ring any bells?
Now that we’ve answered THAT question… Cheers!
You can stir the pot in both women’s:
And men’s styles: