I'm Starting to Like This Pope

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:01 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 130 / pg 130 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD: pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 151 / pg 151
"Pro-life Bills/Laws": pg 15
"The Climate Change Thread": pg 14 / pg 14
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8



Each country also belongs to the foreigner [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Credit: AnnaKate Auten on Unsplash

I don’t think Pope Francis is recognized enough for his skill as a theologian. It is the Pope Emeritus who is, rightly, widely recognized as possessing a brilliant theological mind. Francis, on the other hand, is seen as the great pastor, or, as Austen Ivereigh recently put it, “the world’s spiritual director.” I have definitely been pastored by the pope. I’ve said often that if it wasn’t for Pope Francis showing me the mercy and grace of God our Father I don’t know if I’d still be Catholic.

However, there are moments when I think Francis teaches a particularly brilliant theological point. If he were just a theologian I’d call it clever, but since he’s the pope I’ll say it’s inspired. His particular theological insights, I believe, come from his ability to read the signs of the times. His keen sense of what is really wrong in the Church and the world. Here I think of his teachings about pastoral accompaniment and neo-pelagianism (and there’s a lot I’ve written about them), but in this article I want to focus on a novel theological turn Francis made in Fratelli Tutti concerning immigration.

The plight of migrants and refugees has been one of the pope’s main talking points throughout his pontificate. Francis is very aware of rising xenophobia and Nationalism around the globe as well as a growing fear and scapegoating of immigrants and refugees, so he addresses the rights of migrants head-on. However, the way he explains those rights in Fratelli Tutti is something I’ve never seen before in Catholic Social Teaching.

Chapter three is where Francis lays out his argument. Now, the third chapter is my favorite part of this encyclical. If chapter two — the reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan — is the heart of this document, then chapter three is the mind. Here the pope lays out a Christian anthropology, or a Christian understanding of the human person, that’s founded on our inalienable dignity and our vocation to love others. From this foundation the pope speaks about the doctrine of the universal destination of goods.

Now this teaching isn’t new. Popes have written about the universal destination of goods pretty explicitly for the past century. This doctrine is based on Scripture, the Church Fathers, and St. Thomas Aquinas. I’ve written more in depth about this here. And both Dan Amiri and Bishop Barron have recently written about what Francis says about this teaching in Fratelli Tutti.

In a nutshell, Francis expresses this doctrine by saying, “The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity” and “the Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable” for “the right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right, derived from the principle of the universal destination of created goods” (FT 118, 120). Simply put, private property is the most reasonable means to the end of developing and distributing the goods of the earth to all people. So while individuals have the right to private property, they don’t have the right to do whatever they want with it. The use of property must be ordered to the common good. We have the duty to give all excess wealth, anything beyond necessity and propriety, to those in need (Rerum Novarum 22). And the state has the “right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good” (CCC 2406) by redistributing wealth from those who have excess to those who lack what’s necessary.

While Francis expresses the doctrine of the universal destination of goods in a traditional way, it’s what he does next that I thought was new and compelling. The pope takes the principle that “the world exists for everyone” and applies it to migrants and national borders. He says:
Nowadays, a firm belief in the common destination of the earth’s goods requires that this principle also be applied to nations, their territories and their resources. Seen from the standpoint not only of the legitimacy of private property and the rights of its citizens, but also of the first principle of the common destination of goods, we can then say that each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere. As the Bishops of the United States have taught, there are fundamental rights that ‘precede any society because they flow from the dignity granted to each person as created by God’ (FT 124).
In other words, every person, because of their inalienable dignity, has a right to the goods necessary for “a developed and dignified life” and “the limits and borders of individual states cannot stand in the way of this” (FT 121). While the right to migrate is very established in Church teaching, I’ve never seen it explained from the principle of the universal destination of goods. I believe by invoking this principle, Francis is inviting us to view the relationship between a state’s right to regulate its borders and a person’s right to migrate the same way we recognize the relationship between private property and the universal right to the goods of the earth. I think there are three specific ways that these issues can be compared.

The first is that just as private property and the universal destination of goods are not in competition with each other, neither are national borders and the rights of migrants. Rather, the former is in service to the latter. The Catechism confirms this when it says that “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions” (CCC 2241). Notice how the right to regulate national borders is in the service of the common good. Thus any law that restricts the right to migrate must serve the common good. Secure national borders are not absolute rights. Rather, they are means to the end of facilitating the rights of persons to access the resources and security needed to live and thrive.

[…]

Second, because the goods of the earth belong to everyone, if a starving parent steals a loaf of bread to feed themselves and their children, they aren’t actually stealing. It’s not just that they aren’t culpable because of their desperate circumstances, it’s that they have a natural right to the food they need in order to live (Gaudium et Spes 69, CCC 2408 ). Likewise, if a foreigner in search of “a place that meets their basic needs” and “where they can find personal fulfilment” (FT 129) is being unjustly prevented from legally emigrating to the United States and therefore enters “illegally,” they aren’t violating the moral law anymore than than the parent “stealing” bread. This is because “each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere” (FT 124). Or as Bishop Thomas Wenski put it, “they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them.”

Third, ideally the state shouldn’t need to redistribute the excess wealth of private citizens in order to promote human development and insure that others have what they need to survive. The pope says, “helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work” (FT 162). The demands of justice should compel each of us with means to use those means to promote human development without being forced to. But until that happens, we need to tax excess wealth and provide social safety nets for the poor. Likewise, the pope says that, “ideally, unnecessary migration ought to be avoided” (FT 129). Nobody should feel forced to leave their place of origin and be uprooted from their family, religion, and culture (FT 38). However, until that ideal is achieved, “we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families, and where they can find personal fulfilment” (FT 129).

By rooting the right to migrate in the universal destination of goods, Pope Fancis is showing us just how contrary “my country first” Nationalism is to the Gospel. By valuing national borders over the inalienable right for every person to live and thrive we are allowing “secondary rights” to “displace primary and overriding rights, in practice making them irrelevant” (FT 120). The pope is urging us to resist “the temptation to build a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart, walls on the land, in order to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people” (FT 27). Ultimately, if we deny the inalienable dignity of migrants we undermine the foundation for our own human rights. As Francis warns, “those who raise walls will end up as slaves within the very walls they have built” (FT 27).

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Thu Dec 10, 2020 9:35 am

+JMJ+

Pope Francis on Media Distortion [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Image: OFM
“At the Synod on Amazonia in Rome in October 2019 some groups in the Church and their media reported the presence of indigenous people through a continuously distorted lens. What was beautiful in that synod — the deep respect for indigenous culture and the presence of the native people in the prayer services — was twisted by hysterical accusations of paganism and syncretism.”

— Pope Francis, Let Us Dream, p. 73
I have been giving Pope Francis’s new book, Let Us Dream, a close reading over the last few days. A few hours ago, I came across the above passage, where the pope offers his most frank assessment to date of the deranged media circus that surrounded the Synod on the Amazon in October 2019.

In many ways, the Amazon Synod controversy was the story that put Where Peter Is “on the map.” Even though we had been around for nearly two years at that point, it wasn’t until we began responding to the reactionary critics of the pope during that synod that Church leaders and other figures in Catholic media began looking to WPI for our perspective and analysis. That October, Catholic reactionary media outlets set their sights on the indigenous Catholics of the Amazon, and launched a campaign accusing them of “idolatry” (and charging Pope Francis with sanctioning their “pagan worship”) for their participation in an October 4 prayer service in the Vatican Gardens.

[…]

Throughout the synod, there was a strange juxtaposition in the media. On one side, the mainstream media reported on the discussions and issues of importance to the participants in the synod. The reactionary media, meanwhile, all but ignored the actual synod in favor of fueling their sensational idolatry narrative. We sensed the dangers of simply ignoring the controversy, and — as one of the few outlets covering the controversy from a non-reactionary perspective — received a good deal of attention (and ire). We were also told by a several figures supportive of the pope not to “give oxygen” to what they believed was the lunatic fringe.

It is true that the attention during the synod was misdirected. Ideally, the entire press corps would have been respectful and covered the stories worth covering. Unfortunately, the polarization in the Church has become so extreme that it would have been irresponsible for us to ignore this campaign that was being waged.

It is clear where Pope Francis stands on the subject. In Let Us Dream, Pope Francis expresses great trust in the leaders of the Amazonian Church. Even with the shortage of clerics and religious in this mostly-lay Church, it is clear that he perceives great holiness in the Church in the Amazon. In other words, he believes that they need our support, not our derision or criticism. “I believe it is crucial to trust the lay people,” he remarks, “Especially the women who run so many of the communities in the area, to bring forth a distinctively Amazonian holiness that will bear many future fruits” (p. 91).

Recently, Pedro Gabriel made a guest appearance on the “Reason and Theology” podcast to discuss the synod controversy. The hosts of the podcast are critics of Pope Francis, but the conversation was respectful. You can watch the episode below:


Sadly, it doesn’t appear that the “Pachamama” controversy has faded in the minds of many Catholics. Some prominent priests, bishops, and cardinals have bought into this narrative, and the episode appears to be etched into their growing list of “grievances” against Pope Francis and his papacy.

All that said, I realize that I’m growing increasingly agitated with the false perception of reality held by Francis’s critics. And I shouldn’t be. So I am grateful for Pedro’s upbeat and good-natured exchange with Erick and Michael from “Reason and Theology.” We need more discussions like this. As Francis puts it in Let Us Dream (p. 93):
We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas. The aim is not to reach agreement by means of a contest between opposing positions, but to journey together to seek God’s will, allowing differences to harmonize. Most important of all is the synodal spirit: to meet each other with respect and trust, to believe in our shared unity, and to receive the new thing that the Spirit wishes to reveal to us.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:44 pm

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News":pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123



Herod's Children: Two more federal executions scheduled for the 2nd week of Advent [In-Depth]
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This year has damaged the notion of fraternal compassion, with the federal death penalty being reinstated in July after a 17-year moratorium. The Trump Administration, with the help of not a few Catholic judiciary officials, intends to execute two more men this week.

If these two executions are carried out, there will have been a total of ten federal executions this year — the highest in a single year since 1896.

January is also set to start off with three federal executions in that month alone.

The two men, on whom our prayers rest this week for their conversion amid their impending execution, are Brandon Bernard and Alfred Burgeois. Brandon Bernard is set to be executed today, Dec. 10 — International Human Rights Day — and Alfred Bourgeois tomorrow Friday, Dec. 11.

Brandon

Bernard is convicted of involvement with a double murder and robbery in Texas.

[…]

Alfred

Alfred Bourgeois was sentenced to death in 2004 after being found guilty of murdering his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

[…]

Action

Both cases are appealing to higher courts in a continued search of justice for these two men. What are we to do from the outside?

We continue to heed the call given by Pope Francis this year in his papal encyclical Fratelli Tutti:
The death penalty is inadmissible, and Catholics should work for its abolition.
Pope Francis makes a necessary distinction in a doctrinal change that has been brewing since St. Pope John Paul II’s Evangelii Gaudium.

The death penalty is inadmissible, which takes the wisdom of centuries of Church Fathers who were in support of capital punishment and places it in the context of a criminal justice system that is excessively punitive, biased, and blatantly unconcerned with any Christian notions of human dignity.

Unfortunately, these two pending executions are effective examples of procedural discrepancies that cultivate punishment over reform, mercy, and reconciliation.

We must remain prayerful and vigilant in restoring a culture of life to all spheres of civic life — even as it pertains to the convicted and incarcerated. Catholic Mobilizing Network will be holding prayer vigils for upcoming executions.

We are called to preserve life and to acknowledge the imago dei, the face of Christ in all of our brothers and sisters. This compassion must extend to victims. This compassion must extend to the incarcerated.

The second week of Advent provides for Catholics a Solemnity to reflect on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Having celebrated this solemnity earlier in the week, we the faithful are reminded that our Blessed Mother’s sinlessness does not remove her from our sinful humanity. Instead, it makes her the closest to us in our fallen nature after our Lord Jesus Christ.

No sin, selfishness, or pride stands in between us as sinners and her love for us as our advocate and mother. May we embody this full-hearted compassion for our neighbors — even those guilty of grave sin.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:39 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132

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"Faith in the News":pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123



US Bishops renew calls for end to federal executions
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Protesters opposed to the resumption of the death penalty in the US (ANSA)

US Bishops call on the government to put an end to the death penalty as several federal death-row inmates face execution in upcoming weeks.

Bishops in the US have reiterated their calls for an end to the death penalty, as the government speeds up the pace of federal executions in the last days of the Trump presidency.

Five executions have been scheduled in the upcoming weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s 20 January 2021 inauguration. If the five go off as planned, thirteen executions will have been carried out since July.

Chairman of the US Bishops Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma, said in an interview with CBSN on Thursday, that the Church is opposed to the use of the death penalty and that the trend of the resumption of federal executions is very concerning.

Likewise, the Bishops Conference of Indiana said that it recognizes “the pain and evil caused by those on death row” and prays that “the families and victims of these crimes have comfort and healing.” However, the Bishops insist that to “teach that murder is wrong by allowing the government to commit murder is not only wrong, but irrational.” They added that “the most recent encyclical from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, reaffirms the Church’s commitment to calling for the abolition of the death penalty around the world.”

Another statement released on Monday by US Bishops’ Conference Committee chairman on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Archbishop Coakley called for an end to the executions, highlighting the resumption of federal executions was at odds with this season of anticipated redemption — Advent.

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:26 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132

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"Faith in the News":pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123



Bishop Flores on King Herod and America’s sinful acceptance of the death penalty [Opinion]
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Gabby Prosser, left, and Nick Neeser, right, from Minneapolis, Minn., talk with Samir Hazboun, center, from Louisville, Ky., during a protest against the execution of Brandon Bernard across Prairieton Road from the Federal Death Chamber in Terre Haute, Ind., on Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020. (Austen Leake/The Tribune-Star via AP)

Much of the discussion, often rancorous, within the church about the inadmissibility of the death penalty centers around the historical fact that Scripture and tradition acknowledge the authority of the civil authority to administer it. How, then, can the church say it cannot justly be administered today by the public authority?

It seems clear that Pope Francis, developing an impulse already evident in the teaching of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict, teaches that the death penalty is a violation of a prior, ineradicable human dignity granted by God, and that the conditions no longer exist wherein the state may justly condemn a person to death.

First of all, even when the church acknowledged in principle the authority of the state in this matter, it did often intervene on behalf of those considered unjustly condemned. Appeals for the life of St. Thomas More, or more recently Jacques Fesch in France in 1957, come to mind. This makes the point that the authority of the state was never considered to have no limits, nor was it considered immune from the moral judgment of the church.

[…]

I would note also that the pope’s authority to modify the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear. The social doctrine of the church is indeed doctrine, a part of the magisterial tradition that, like the whole of the magisterium, flows from the profound ecclesial reception in faith, hope and charity of the Word made flesh, and of the paschal mystery. This doctrine has developed gradually, according to the judgment of the church. This is evidenced historically, for example, by various papal decrees condemning slavery (ignored by many nations until much later), by Pope Pius IX’s modification of canon law in 1869 to make it clearer that human life is to be protected from the moment of conception and by Pope Francis’ most recent modification of the Catechism on the subject of capital punishment.

To say the death penalty is not an intrinsic evil but rather a matter of prudential judgment and thus it need not be taken so seriously by a Catholic is inaccurate. From a Catholic perspective, that we can make distinctions between the moral factors differentiating one heinous evil from another (they are not all the same) is in no way meant to lessen our commitment to defending the lives of all. Vulnerability, in the end, is the most basic human poverty. There are many heinous evils in the world, all of which assault the dignity of the human person. They all have in common the use of power, sometimes legal and sometimes not, to dehumanize, manipulate and commodify the vulnerable. Yes, the death row criminal is in the power of the state. Our death row protocols strip the condemned of their dignity; they are isolated, injected with poison and die alone, save for the official witnesses.

What are we doing? This dehumanizes us even more than it does the condemned.

Does the death penalty flow from a securely just process? Does killing people make us safer? Does it solve any problems that could not be addressed in other more humane ways? Does it uphold human dignity? According to the social teaching of the church, the answer is no.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:40 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27



Texas archbishop: ‘Conversion of heart’ needed on death penalty [in-Depth, Interview]
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The sun sets behind one of the guard towers at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., June 10, 2001. The death chamber at the correctional facility is where the federal death penalty is carried out. (Credit: Andy Clark/Reuters, via CNS)

NEW YORK — Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio is the latest bishop calling for the Trump Administration to stop carrying out federal executions before the presidential term ends.

“It’s tragic because the death penalty is not the answer to the horrible things that these people have committed. It shows how we are not evolving as people who in facing difficulties we help each other to build up as members of society,” García-Siller told Crux.

The ninth and tenth federal executions of the year were last week. Both were controversial, with eleventh hour calls to halt the executions. There are three more scheduled before President Donald Trump leaves office in January.

Brandon Bernard, a 40-year-old from Texas, was executed by lethal injection Thursday for his role in the murder of two youth ministers in 1999. According to the Department of Justice, Bernard and his accomplices locked the couple in the trunk of a car. Eventually, an accomplice shot both victims. Bernard then lit the car — doused in lighter fluid — on fire.

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Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio speaks Nov. 13, 2018, at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (Credit: Bob Roller/CNS)

Nationwide many spoke out against the execution, citing Bernard’s age when he committed the crime and when he was executed.

The other execution was Alfred Bourgeois, a 56-year-old from Louisiana, who was executed by lethal injection Friday. He was sentenced to death in 2004 after murdering his young daughter two years earlier. According to the DOJ, Bourgeois repeatedly slammed the back of her head in his truck’s window and dashboard after she tipped over her training potty. The report also cites previous abuse and torture towards his daughter.

His lawyers claimed his intellectual disability should’ve halted the execution.

In a recent conversation, García-Siller spoke to Crux about these executions and the culture that exists around capital punishment in the United States.

============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Crux: After two last week, there have now been 10 federal executions since July — what do you make of that number and the fact that there are three more scheduled before the Trump leaves office on January 20?

Garcia-Siller: It’s just very sad that we perpetrate what the wrong people did in doing another wrong thing. It’s just seeing how much these decisions are led by anger and revenge like that’s the only way we can heal ourselves by taking people’s lives. There should be other ways, humanly speaking, to deal with those things.

[…]

In the cases of Bernard and Bourgeois, the victims’ families thanked the Trump administration for bringing them healing and closure — what do you say in response?

I believe when people have experienced, in this case family members, the crimes committed to members of their family it must be very difficult. But even in those difficult situations I think we as a faith community can accompany those relatives and family members of the victims to deal with the anger and the sorrow with the loss. I think here because we have a system that has allowed us that alternative so people, understandably so, want that because they went through a lot when they lost members of their family.

I don’t see it. It’s not a call for celebration and closure. A situation like this implies more inner work and people to help them carry on in new ways. Just to see that somebody must be executed I don’t know how that can bring someone to peace and healing.

What needs to happen to see change in capital punishment policy? How much involves politicians and how much involved ordinary lay people and the culture?

Politicians represent us and so the conversation has to start with us so that we can elect politicians who will respect life. The expertise of lay people is very important, and the conversion of hearts will be important. We need psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, people involved in education. We need a lot of talents in order to cope with respecting life and to have the hope that the human person can evolve, and society can change.

Part of this will be the values in families. The restoration of the family unit because we come from families. Even people who committed those crimes came from families. It needs to be grassroots from the bottom up so the culture can change things could be contemplated in a new way, in a different way.

What would the first step forward look like?

Prayer. In prayer, I can discover how God through people has been merciful to me. And if I have experienced mercy most likely I will be open to be merciful, to become merciful.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by Del » Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:29 pm

We won't end the death penalty until America restores a culture of life and protection for the most innocent.

Voting for Democrats is the worst political choice we can make for ending the death penalty.

Sending our kids to public schools (led by Democrats and their Teachers U***n) is the worst family decision we can make toward ending the death penalty.

If it's all a "seamless garment," we have to reject all of the culture of death.
G.K. Chesterton — 'It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.'

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:24 am

+JMJ+
Del wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:29 pm
We won't end the death penalty until America restores a culture of life and protection for the most innocent.

Voting for Democra …

[…]
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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:01 pm

+JMJ+

Subject Header: China–Vatican Deal
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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:00 am

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Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church
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Dysfunctional fantasists and clever manipulators [Opinion]
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American opposition to Pope Francis in the post-Trump era

"Any decent Church would've burned you bastards years ago," says Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair in The Russia House, scripted by Tom Stoppard and based on the 1989 novel by John le Carré.

Blair, a British writer, is expressing his contempt for the zealous MI6 agents who see no difference between the old Soviet Un𝗂on and the Russia that Blair is trying to find.

Fortunately, the Catholic Church no longer burns heretics. But there has been a good deal of subversive attempts in the past few years to undermine the authority and legitimacy of Pope Francis.

Now that Donald Trump's presidency is coming to an end, it is easier to see what happened in the last five years on the transatlantic axis between the USA and the Vatican.

A theological-political opposition to Francis went fully political and partisan, aligning itself to the Trump presidency and eventually losing any sense of reality.

Shifting alliances in a new religious ecosystem

Once again, the recently deceased British author of espionage novels, John le Carré (1931-2020), has something to say to Catholics who are trying to understand this new religious ecosystem, where allegiances and loyalties are shifting rapidly and the old institutional ethos is hard to find in the ecclesial personalities making the news.

Christopher Tayler of the London Review of Books recently wrote a short blog post in memoriam of le Carré and found much truth in the novel The Looking Glass War (1965), not just on the Cold War, but also on Great Britain today.

"That novel is about a group of ageing, dysfunctional fantasists, obsessed with the glories of the Second World War, who launch a doomed operation against a European target on the basis of misunderstandings, wishful thinking and internal political squabbles," he notes.

"Everybody dies or comes to a sudden chilling realization that, of the operation's two nominal leaders, one is completely detached from reality, and the other is a clever manipulator — though not as clever as he thinks he is — whose studied eccentricity conceals a frightening inner emptiness. Their target is a non-existent East German rocket site rather than access to the Single Market, but otherwise it's a Cold War classic that also stands up as a state-of-the-nation novel in December 2020," Tayler concludes.

Dysfunctional fantasists and clever manipulators with a frightening inner emptiness … This can be applied not only to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ally Jacob Rees-Mogg (Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council since 2019, a wealthy social conservative, and proud Catholic).

The Trump-Viganò liaison dangereuse

It can also be applied to the Catholic Church, particularly in the United States.

Donald Trump and the former papal nuncio to Washington, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, have entered a dangerous relationship that became public several times over the last year.

[…]

US bishops and the crisis of authority

The list of ecclesial figures who are standing by Trump, goes well beyond Viganò. It is too long and embarrassing to compile here. Their political and theological attempt has failed, but the damage has been done and will have long-lasting effects.

The hierarchical elites of the Catholic Church in the United States were already in a crisis of authority. It has now become a much more serious crisis of legitimacy.

In a sense, the bishops have already been substituted in their role. Conservative Catholics now look to the conservative justices of the Supreme Court as their moral leaders, while progressive Catholics are now looking to Joe Biden.

But clearly this is just an interlude.

As George Smiley interrogates and turns Grigoriev, the commercial attaché of the Soviet Embassy in Bern, the now trapped collaborator of Smiley's archenemy bursts out with something that could be applied to Viganò and the cabal of Trumpian America: "Conspiracy has replaced religion. It is our mystical substitute!"

Catholics vs. Catholics

During this year of the pandemic, Francis' Catholic enemies — and not just Viganò — had already proudly embraced a number of conspiracy theories.

[…]

These attempts have recently come home — that is, to America. If one looks at the video of the pro-Trump rally of December 12 and the Catholic priests who were there, it is painfully clear that conspiracy theories have indeed replaced religion.

And they are conspiracy theories that accompany and legitimize the use of violence in the street of the nation's capital.

Pope Francis is an old priest who knows how much out of step with the real Church these ideologues are. The serious problem is that these conspiracy theories among Catholics hostile to him are the mere reflection of a vast conspiracy mentality that has infiltrated political institutions.

The use of conspiracy theories by Catholics against fellow Catholics is something new, and there is not much the pope can do about it. He can do even less to save our politics.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:26 am

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Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
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Maryland Catholic Conference urges Trump to stop a federal execution
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Image
Demonstrators are seen near the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., showing their opposition to the death penalty July 13, 2020. (Credit: Bryan Woolston/Reuters via CNS)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eight Catholic bishops serving Maryland dioceses urged President Donald Trump Dec. 22 to stop the planned federal execution of Dustin Higgs, a Maryland man on death row in Indiana.

The bishops, including Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori and Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware, also wrote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan seeking his support in fighting this execution, which is scheduled to take place Jan. 15.

In their letter to Trump, the bishops wrote: “Alternative sentences, such as life without parole, are punishments through which society can be kept safe. The death penalty does not create a path to justice. Rather, it contributes to the growing disrespect for human life and perpetuates a cycle of violence in our society.”

They also quoted Pope Francis, who said: “Human justice is imperfect, and the failure to recognize its fallibility can transform it into a source of injustice.”

In a letter to Hogan, a Republican, the bishops said they were proud of the state’s leadership in ending the death penalty and urged him to “intervene with the Trump administration to ask that this execution be stopped.”

The bishops also recognized the pain of victims and survivors, writing that they “grieve for the victims of violent crime and murder. We recognize the terrible suffering of their families and pray that God will provide them peace and healing.”

Higgs, 48, is in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women on land owned by the federal Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland.

The bishops’ letter urging a stop to Higgs’ execution was released by the Maryland Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops. It also was signed by two Washington auxiliary bishops, Bishops Roy E. Campbell and Mario E. Dorsonville, and auxiliary bishops of Baltimore, Bishops Adam J. Parker, Bruce A. Lewandowski and retired Bishop Denis J. Madden.

[…]

The push to execute federal inmates before the end of this presidential term is an “unprecedented execution spree by the federal government,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network.

The network, which seeks an end to the death penalty, is holding virtual prayer vigils for the upcoming federal executions.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:12 pm

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Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church
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"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152



Pope Francis Calls for Healing after Extremist Attack at US Capitol [Opinion]
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Pope Francis has weighed in on the violence at the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. This violence has been condoned or even incited by some of Francis’s critics within the Church, many of whom see loyalty to outgoing President Donald Trump as a greater moral imperative than loyalty to the Successor of Peter. Vatican News reported that Francis observed that “even mature societies can have flaws” and that there are often people “who take a path against the community, against democracy, and against the common good.”

“Understanding is fundamental,” says Francis, as is learning from history. In the case of the storming of the Capitol, this might include learning from other failed putsches and domestic terror incidents in the past. It might also include seeking to understand the path of radicalization taken by many of President Trump’s supporters, including some prominent American Catholics.

Regrettably, it has become clear that there will likely be more violence by pro-Trump extremists before Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President in eleven days’ time. Any Catholic struggling to process or assess such violence would do well to keep Pope Francis’s words in mind. It is, as Francis says, “time for healing.” Honorable people can differ on how best to pursue that healing — for example, discerning whether a second impeachment of President Trump in his last days in office would provide needed closure or whether it instead would further inflame tensions. However, as Christians and Catholics, we are all called to earnestly seek reconciliation and build peace as best we can.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:53 pm

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Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
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Bishops call for an end to the federal death penalty
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The White House is seen in Washington Jan. 9, 2021. (Credit: Tyler Orsburn/CNS)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A joint statement from two U.S. bishops who head different committees of the U.S. bishops called for an end to the federal use of the death penalty as “long past time.”

“We renew our constant call to President (Donald) Trump and Acting Attorney General (Jeffrey) Rosen: Stop these executions,” said the Jan. 11 statement from Archbishops Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Following a year where the federal government, for the first time, executed more people than all 50 states combined, there are three more federal executions scheduled this week,” the two archbishops said. Federal executions resumed last year after a 17-year reprieve.

Coakley and Naumann also called on President-elect Joe Biden and Congress to “make this a priority. One vehicle to accomplish this in federal law is the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act. In addition, we ask President-elect Biden to declare a moratorium on federal executions and to commute current federal death sentences to terms of imprisonment.”

“It is long past time to abolish the death penalty from our state and federal laws,” they said.

Ten times in the past two years, bishops, groups of bishops, or the full U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had either spoken out against capital punishment, asked the faithful to add their voice on the issue, or sought to end its use in the courts.

Also Jan. 11, the Catholic Mobilizing Network launched an online petition campaign asking Biden to make an end to federal executions a priority once he is sworn into office.

“After six months of needless death from what will soon amount to 13 executions, the Trump administration has driven home why an end to the federal death penalty is so urgently needed,” said a Jan. 11 statement by Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director.

[…]

The petition urges the incoming administration to “uphold the sacred dignity of every person” and make good on its promises to dismantle the federal death penalty system.

It names several possible avenues toward abolition that the president-elect could pursue, including declaring an official moratorium on federal executions, commuting the death sentences of all those currently on the federal death row, and advocating to end the death penalty in law.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:01 am

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Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
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Sister Helen Prejean on Trump and Barr’s cruel spree of executions [In-Depth, Opinion]
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(CNS Composite)

============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Helen Prejean, C.S.J., has been working with death row inmates and the families of homicide victims since 1982 and has been recognized around the world for her efforts to end the death penalty. She is the author of Dead Man Walking: The Death of Innocents and River of Fire. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Kevin Clarke: Attorney General William Barr ended a 17-year-long moratorium on the federal death penalty in July, and in just six months the Trump administration executed 10 inmates on federal death row — more than all of the executions conducted this year among all the states combined. What do you make of that unprecedented spree?

Helen Prejean, C.S.J.: I think that it’s created a teachable moment. It exposes the flaw that existed from the beginning in the way the Supreme Court tried to constitutionally reconstruct the death penalty [in Gregg v. Georgia] in 1976. They said it’s only to be applied for the worst-of-the-worst murders.

Nobody really knows what “worst” means, and full discretion to seek death or not was given to prosecutors. It was bound to fail, to be as capricious in its application as it ever was. So for 17 years the attorneys general of the United States did not pursue death even though that power was in their hands, then you hit somebody like Trump.

It really reflects an antithesis to the evolution of Catholic moral teaching on the death penalty. In Fratelli Tutti the pope devoted eight paragraphs to explaining why you can never entrust the power over life and death to the government, and that’s what the Trump administration executing human beings in a flurry before he leaves office exemplifies.

Just look at the people being executed. Brandon Bernard was 18 at the time of his crime. At his trial they tried to say he was the mastermind, the leader of the gang, but he actually didn’t kill anybody. He was a low guy on the totem pole. They even had a so-called expert say that he would be a future danger to society. He had not had one write-up in 20 years in prison.

Just look at the people being executed. Brandon Bernard was 18 at the time of his crime. At his trial they tried to say he was the mastermind, the leader of the gang, but he actually didn’t kill anybody. He was a low guy on the totem pole. They even had a so-called expert say that he would be a future danger to society. He had not had one write-up in 20 years in prison.

He’s the worst of the worst? How did he get selected?

And even more pronounced is the example of Lisa Montgomery, who was tortured and abused throughout her childhood, and now she’s set to be killed eight days before President-elect Joseph Biden comes into office. It just shows how capricious the whole thing is.

So the federal government had 10 executions and the states, all in the South, had seven. Look at the pattern: Most of the executions are held in the former slave states of the Deep South. Think on the history of that region, its legacy of slavery and its harsh penal codes. We are giving discretion over life and death to people running for political office on how many death sentences they get.

Can you imagine the arrogance of other human beings making that decision, that this person is going to go into eternity and we’ve decided that they can’t change, that they’re not worthy to live? It’s incredible.

[…]

The church’s teaching on the death penalty began changing once St. John Paul II approved a revision of the Catechism in 1992. How important have these changes been in your outreach to the Catholic public?

It took 1,600 years of dialogue to reach the position that we cannot give to the government the right to take life. It’s important that we finally got it right. There had been loopholes in the teaching and prosecutors were happy to use them.

So at the top, now we have it right, the Catechism has been changed and we have bishops making statements, but the real work — getting in there and tilling the soil and putting in the seeds and working with the people — that work is still ahead of us. You’ve got to bring the people of God on a journey of conversion.

Back in the 1980s, we had a terrible statistic, that the more people went to church, the more they believed in the death penalty. What is that saying? It’s because they were made afraid.

If you took a poll of Catholics today about the death penalty, you’ll find that they pretty much mirror the rest of the country, so the work still needs to be done. In the pulpits of the churches, is the death penalty held up as an intrinsic evil like abortion?

[…]

We have a new president, the nation’s second Catholic to assume that position. What do you see happening under Joe Biden next year?

The first thing he can do right away is stop federal executions, which I believe he’ll do. He also has the power to commute every sentence on federal death row, but abolition of the federal death penalty has to happen through Congress.

Reading the signs of the times, this is such an important moment. We leaders in this movement for abolition need to get together now. Can we have a full-court press to reach people in each of the states so that we can get abolition on the books?

Amnesty International has pointed out that when there’s change that happens on a moral issue, on a human rights issue, the first thing you look at is practice — people stop doing it.

That’s where we are now. We haven’t had a government-imposed execution in Louisiana for 18 years [Gerald Bordelon, who died by lethal injection in 2010, had waived his appeals and consented to his execution]. We were killing eight people in eight and a half weeks in the 1980s. The last thing that’s going to change is the statute on the books, where you have a legislative act that overturns the death penalty.

[…]

I have great confidence now that the closer we bring people to see the death penalty for what it is, the closer we get to the abolition of the death penalty.

Just imagine if the church had a full-court press on this moral issue, running adult education programs in every Catholic parish to help people through this journey to see the inviolable dignity of all life, not just innocent life. Just imagine the change that would come of that.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:22 am

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Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Fratelli Tutti
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Pope Francis and Just War Tradition [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Dresden 1945. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-Z0309-310 / G. Beyer / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, comments upon the use and misuse of the just war tradition within Catholicism (FT 256-62). His main point is that “in recent decades every single war has been ostensibly ‘justified’” by its apologists, when in fact “it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war” (FT 258). In other words, in the modern era, there are no just wars, but merely the abuse of the just war tradition in attempts to justify war. Francis repeats the call of his predecessor Paul VI to the U.N.: “Never again war!”

In a footnote, Francis refers to St. Augustine having “forged a concept of ‘just war’ that we no longer uphold in our own day” (FT 258, note 242). He does not specify exactly what in Augustine’s thought “we” (presumably meaning Catholics) “no longer uphold.” I cannot say for sure what he may have in mind — perhaps he will specify in the future — but I suspect he means Augustine’s core belief that war can be an instrument of justice, by which one nation may punish another for wrongs inflicted. Francis, following the teaching of Pope John XXIII, altogether rejects this as a justification for waging war.

In this post I will outline the main principles of just war theory, then explain how Francis narrows the criterion of just cause by rejecting the legitimacy of modern warfare as an instrument of justice. He suggests that modern weaponry can scarcely fulfill the criterion of proportionality, as the evils unleashed by a war are almost guaranteed to be greater than the injustice it seeks to remedy. As a result, the possibility of a war today being just is virtually ruled out, except as last-resort defense.

Six Criteria for Ius Ad Bellum (Just War)[1]

[…]

Modern warfare is not an instrument of justice

The pope, referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2309), gives a much narrower interpretation of just war than Augustine and Aquinas. He specifies that what the Catholic Church considers legitimate is not just war per se, but just defense: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the possibility of legitimate defence” (FT 258). The use of italics emphasizes the narrowing of one of the key criteria for just war: just cause.

For both Augustine and Aquinas, war can be a means of obtaining justice and as such may be inflicted in proportion to any grave injustice inflicted against a people. It is a form of punishment, like a fine or jail for individuals. Aquinas does not even mention self-defense as an example of just cause, though obviously it is, but mentions one nation refusing to make amends for wrongs inflicted on another (ST 2,2,40,1). For example, if one nation were to harm another (which nowadays could be done not only with bombs but through cyber warfare, unfair trade practices, economic sanctions, etc.), they could conceivably be attacked in retribution.

Pope Francis entirely rules out this type of thinking: “We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits” (FT 258). Although nations still wrong one another in the modern world, the means of justice by which such wrongs may be righted can no longer include war. This completely re-frames the terms in which just war is imagined, which explains why he said that “we no longer uphold” Augustine’s (and Aquinas’s) conception.

In proposing this fundamental shift, the pope draws upon the aforementioned criterion for ius in bello: “At issue is whether the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the enormous and growing possibilities offered by new technologies, have granted war an uncontrollable destructive power over great numbers of innocent civilians” (ibid.). Due to the astonishing and horrific destructive power of modern weaponry, proportionality is hard to maintain. Modern warfare unleashes so many grave evils, it is hard to imagine a situation in which it would not be worse than whatever injustice precipitated it. “What might appear as an immediate or practical solution for one part of the world initiates a chain of violent and often latent effects that end up harming the entire planet and opening the way to new and worse wars in the future” (FT 259). I think of the Iraq War, which at first may have seemed justifiable due to false intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was dead within three weeks, but seventeen years later, the world still suffers ongoing effects that will last for decades to come. No one can seriously doubt that Pope Francis’s teachings in this encyclical were informed by the calamity of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite the false narrative that Pope Francis keeps breaking with Catholic tradition, here — as always — he grounds himself in the Church’s tradition and Magisterium, especially the Second Vatican Council and Pope St. John XXIII. The questioning of war as a means of justice was already made by John XXIII, whom Francis quotes: “it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice” (FT 260, quoting Pacem in Terris 127). For John XXIII, this was due to nuclear weapons, but Francis adds chemical and biological weapons. Just war theory was first formulated in the Middle Ages, when soldiers lined up on battlefields and attacked each other with swords and shields, the ill effects of which — bad as they were — were more easily contained than those of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

In the Middle Ages, the Crusades were considered “just” due to the perceived injustices of the Islamic empire. Also deemed “just” were crusades against heretics like the Albigensians, whose false doctrines were considered a capital offense. With the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has irrevocably and definitively closed the door on religiously-motivated violence. “Violence has no basis in our fundamental religious convictions, but only in their distortion” (FT 282). Beyond legitimate defense, any use of Catholic doctrine to justify violence is ipso facto a distortion.

Responsibility to Protect?

Many people today argue that the international community should intervene — militarily, if necessary — when there are grave abuses of human rights. This is called the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). The Vatican has endorsed this policy, but without condoning military intervention. The most recent, relevant example of this principle is Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. Many people, including U.S. Democrats, praised Donald Trump for launching, in coordination with allies, air strikes against Syrian targets on April 14, 2018. Pope Francis, however, opposed this and asked people to pray for peace. This demonstrates the extent to which he opposes virtually any use of violence, even in the face of human rights abuses. However, the issue of R2P and violence is not directly addressed in Fratelli Tutti. Insofar as it falls in the category of “legitimate defense,” it remains an open question about which Catholics may disagree in good faith.

The end of just war theory?

Is this the end of the just war tradition in the Catholic Church? I don’t think so, but it is a radical narrowing of it in line with the words and deeds of his predecessors. As we saw, John XXIII said in a papal encyclical that nuclear war cannot be an instrument of justice, and Paul VI took that message to the U.N. to declare “Never again war!” John Paul II apologized for the Crusades and tried to persuade the Bush administration against invading Iraq. As with the death penalty (FT 263-70), the Catholic Church, under the leadership of its Sovereign Pontiffs, now unequivocally places itself on the side of peace, life, and mercy.

Nevertheless, Francis has kept the door open, at least in theory, for “legitimate defense.” When one nation attacks another, just as when one individual attacks another, it is within the law of God to defend oneself, even by lethal force if necessary, so long as your intended goal is to stop the aggressor rather than to kill them per se. Within this narrow scope, the criteria of just war theory should still be applied. Even legitimate defense must be limited by proportionality, discrimination, last resort, and the rest of the just-war criteria.

I could imagine this coming into play, hypothetically, if one nation were to launch a sneak-attack invasion. Even then the invaded country should give careful thought to the criterion of last resort and whether the invasion could be stopped by non-violent means, such as by appealing to the intervention of the international community. In Fratelli Tutti, Francis discusses the Charter of the United Nations as an “obligatory reference point of justice” in today’s world (FT 257). But barring such unlikely hypotheticals, it is hard for me to see how any unilateral military action, even if ostensibly done in self-defense, could fulfill all the criteria for justice as proposed by Pope Francis.

The bottom line is clear: war is evil (indeed, Aquinas treats it alongside other vices, such as hatred, sloth, envy, and schism). We should not attempt to justify it “by invoking all sorts of allegedly humanitarian, defensive or precautionary excuses” (FT 258). Rather, we must recognize the harsh reality that “every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and of humanity” (FT 261). Instead of getting entangled in “theoretical discussions,” the pope urges Christians to “touch the wounded flesh of the victims” (ibid). Or perhaps we should just say: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt 5:9).

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Notes:

[1] Ius (pronounced “yoos”) is the Latin word for right, law, and justice, and is often spelled in the medieval fashion as jus. Ius ad bellum means, basically, “right to war” or, more loosely “just war.”

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:28 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 66 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 67 / pg 68 / pg 101 / pg 101 / pg 107 / pg 124 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132 / pg 132

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Catholic leader sees growing support for ending death penalty in Virginia
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Demonstrators are seen near the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., showing their opposition to the death penalty July 13, 2020. (CNS/Reuters/Bryan Woolston)

RICHMOND, VA. —
The executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops, said he was pleased bipartisan support is growing for ending Virginia's death penalty.

"With our modern and advanced criminal justice system, we have other ways to provide punishment and protect society, without resorting to executions," Jeff Caruso, the conference's executive director, said in a Jan. 14 statement. "We hope this will be the year to enact death penalty abolition here."

A day earlier in his annual "State of the Commonwealth" address, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he would support a bill just introduced in the General Assembly to abolish the death penalty, including for those persons currently under a death sentence.

The measure would remove the penalty of death for Class 1 felonies and change the sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Under Virginia law, the most serious felonies are Class 1 felonies, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. The current law says if the defendant was over 18 at the time of the offense and not mentally impaired, Class 1 felonies also may be punishable by death. Examples of crimes classified as Class 1 felonies are capital and first-degree murder.

Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice is a group of the state's attorneys general, said in a Jan. 4 letter to General Assembly leaders urged legislators to abolish the death penalty.

"The death penalty is unjust, racially biased and ineffective at deterring crime," the group said. "We have more equitable and effective means of keeping our communities safe and addressing society's most heinous crimes. It is past time for Virginia to end this antiquated practice."

The organization also called for other criminal justice reforms, including ending cash bail, mandatory minimum sentences and the "three strikes" felony enhancement for petty larceny offenses.

Northam in his address likewise cited racial injustices in the criminal justice system as a reason to end executions. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, he said he is personally opposed to the death penalty and also is motivated to see it end in the state because of the rash of federal executions carried out in recent months.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:53 pm

+JMJ+

Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Cupich, who criticized fellow U.S. bishops for confrontational approach to Biden
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Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago during a meeting with U.S. bishops from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican Dec. 12, 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis received Cardinal Blase J. Cupich in a private audience at the Vatican’s apostolic palace this Saturday morning, Jan. 30. He is the first U.S.-based American bishop to meet the pope since the assault on the Capitol, the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden and the publication of the statement by the president of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the day of the inauguration, which did not go down well in the Vatican.

The cardinal, who was chosen by Pope Francis in September 2014 to be the ninth archbishop of Chicago, arrived in Rome on Wednesday, Jan. 27, to participate on the following day in a meeting of the Congregation of Bishops, of which he is a member. The congregation advises the pope on the selection of bishops and other matters relating to the episcopate. It was the first time since last February that he has been able to participate, and he was able to do so because, as reported in the Chicago media, he has received the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19.

Francis has received Cardinal Cupich on a number of occasions at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, but news of such private encounters is not made public. Significantly, however, this time he decided to receive the Chicago cardinal in the private library of the apostolic palace, a sign that he wanted it made known publicly. The Vatican broke the news when it listed the audience in its daily bulletin given to the press.

Vatican sources (who did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak) suggest that Pope Francis would have been keen to talk with the cardinal about the situation in the United States. They said the pope has been following events there closely since the presidential election last November. They said he was briefed on the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the prayer service attended by Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris at the Lincoln Memorial with Cardinal Wilton Gregory and the inauguration on Jan. 20.

The same sources said Francis was fully briefed about the statement issued that same day by Archbishop José Gomez in the name of the U.S. bishops and the objections raised not only in private with the archbishop by several bishops, but also expressed publicly in different ways by some others, including Cardinals Cupich and Joseph W. Tobin of Newark. They said he was also informed of the public support for the statement by a number of bishops, including Archbishops Allen H. Vigneron, Salvatore J. Cordileone and Joseph F. Naumann and some lay Catholics including the author George Weigel and Tim Busch, the co-founder of the Napa Institute.

The sources said the pope was also briefed on the serious objections and reservations raised by several of his senior Vatican advisors to the U.S.C.C.B. president’s statement. Their objections were summarized succinctly for America by one advisor who asked not to be named. He said: “This was not the time, nor the place, nor the way [for such a statement].”

He elaborated, saying their disagreement with Archbishop Gomez’s statement is not about the abortion issue as such but relates to its confrontational approach, its timing and the accompanying strategy relating to “eucharistic coherence,” meaning refusing Communion, which was referred to in the letter from Archbishop Gomez to the bishops that accompanied the statement.

Referring to the Vatican, the advisor said, “Here, we try to build bridges, not blow them up.” It is an approach embodied by such U.S. bishops as Cardinals Cupich, Tobin and O’Malley.

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:45 pm

+JMJ+

Subject Header: China–Vatican Deal
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 78 / pg 78 / pg 79 / pg 79 / pg 88 / pg 89 / pg 89 / pg 118 / pg 118 / pg 119 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 ] pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"China Watch": pg 1



Cardinal Parolin addresses financial scandals, China and Iraq in new interview [In-Depth]
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The Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin attends at the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Catholic missionaries in China from an Italian religious order meeting, in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. The Vatican doubled down Saturday on its intent to pursue continued dialogue with China over bishop nominations, defending the deal as necessary to the life of the Catholic Church there over strong U.S. objections. (AP/Antonio Calanni)

Vatican City — In a recent interview, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the second-highest official at the Vatican, addressed the institution's recent financial scandals, the pope's upcoming trip to Iraq and the Vatican's controversial deal with China.

Parolin said the reform of the offices and departments that make up the Roman Curia "has already been realized," despite the "saddening and painful" financial scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. He also addressed the safety issues posed by the pope's upcoming trip to Iraq and the "moral suasion" the Catholic Church holds at an international level.

The cardinal, who is the secretary of state at the Vatican, also addressed a recent deal with China on the ordination of bishops, which received pushback by those who criticize the lack of religious freedom in the country.

While stating that he "profoundly respects those who have different opinions and those who criticize the policy of the Holy See toward China," Parolin said he hopes the deal will "bear fruit," while emphasizing the need for "patience" in what he said is a step-by-step diplomacy effort.


► Show Spoiler
[…]

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In this Dec. 8, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, on the Immaculate Conception day, at the Vatican. (AP File/Andrew Medichini)

[…]

"The pope wants to go to Iraq, I believe, especially to encourage Christians," Parolin said, mentioning the Iraqi Christians who have fled their homes due to the consequences of war and financial ruin.

Interreligious dialogue will also be a key aspect, he added, since Iraq is a majority Muslim country and Pope Francis will likely promote political stability and reform. In February 2019, the pope cosigned with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, a document on Human Fraternity, which Parolin said represents "a major progress in the relations between Christians and Muslims."

The document promoted non-violence and tolerance among people of different faiths while reinforcing the common principle that all individuals have human dignity as children of God.

"The church must illuminate and reawaken consciences, and it's not a small thing to preach and announce principles, because these then affect concrete actions," the cardinal said. "Imagine if we were all convinced of universal fraternity. Surely the world would change, a lot."

All religions, including the Catholic Church, have "a role to play" in today's societies, given that many citizens view the world as informed by their faith, Parolin said. Especially today when politics tend to be "struggling" to address modern challenges, he added, "it's important that religions be given a public space where they can make their voices heard."

For the Catholic Church, a preferred way of promoting its message is at the level of international organizations, by taking part in treaties and agreements, the cardinal said. Sometimes this means taking positions that go against the tide, he continued, as is the case for the Catholic Church's stance on immigration and the environment in some places.

"The Holy See, and the church, can't fail in their mission, and their mission can sometimes clash with the dominant power," Parolin said.

One aspect where the Vatican clashed not only with some Catholic faithful, but also with the previous administration of the United States of America, is in a controversial agreement with the People's Republic of China on the appointment of bishops. The deal, which has remained secret, would supposedly allow the Chinese government to give the pope a list of possible candidates for the episcopacy.

While it's not uncommon in the Catholic Church's history that bilateral agreements regulate the choice of powerful ecclesial representatives, detractors of the Sino-Vatican deal believe it does not take into account the human rights violations in the country and China's persecution of its underground Catholic Church.

Parolin acknowledged in the interview the "extremely complex situation," but urged to "keep in mind this agreement didn't want to be, couldn't be, an agreement to solve all the problems that the church in China has to face, but it's only a small step to attempt to better the situation of the church."

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:53 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 63 / pg 64 / pg 65 / pg 65 / pg 66 / pg 66 / pg 73 / pg 84 / pg 120 / pg 123 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152
"I'm Starting to Like This Pope":
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg6 / pg 6 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 10 / pg 10



Another Viganò Wake-Up Call [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Archbishop Viganò’s latest missive — an “Open Letter to Confused Priests,” published on The Remnant — is ostensibly about the general “problem of a perverted authority” in the Church and society, and whether one may reject the teaching of the CDF and the pope regarding vaccines. Much of it is boilerplate Viganò. Bubbling underneath the surface, however, there is a disturbing rhetoric of violence that I feel compelled to point out.

I won’t analyze the letter as a whole, since it is too long and convoluted, but only point to the passages I find most problematic. I encourage you to read the letter, though, to judge for yourself if I am overreacting.

Vaccine misinformation aside, the basic message that Viganò conveys to priests is that it is acceptable to disobey authority when it is used illegitimately, whether in the Church or society at large. …

This is hard language that I’m pretty sure is unacceptable for any bishop, but my real discomfort comes from the rhetoric invoking death and violence that appears elsewhere in relation to this theme of resistance to authority. Consider the following passage, in which Viganò suggests (after talking about the authority of “Bergoglio” as pope) that it may be appropriate to pray for the pope to die:
On closer inspection, it is precisely in order to defend hierarchical Communion with the Roman Pontiff that it is necessary to disobey him, to denounce his errors, and to ask him to resign. And to pray that God calls him to Himself as soon as possible, if a good for the Church can derive from this. [Bolding added]
Here he appears to be calling upon priests to not only disobey the pope and ask him to resign, but also pray for his death (“if a good for the Church can derive from this”).

Elsewhere, he invokes the idea of the pope’s death again, in an even more sinister manner. Although he explicitly states that the pope cannot be put to death for heresy by his subjects, he cites Thomas Aquinas to suggest that the pope might nevertheless deserve to be put to death for heresy:
Thus, if it is not up to the subjects to put the Pope to death for heresy (despite the death penalty being considered by Saint Thomas Aquinas as commensurate to the crime of one who corrupts the Faith), we can nevertheless recognize a Pope as a heretic, and as such refuse, on a case-by-case basis, to show him the obedience to which he would otherwise be entitled. We do not judge him, because we do not have the authority to do so, but we recognize him for who he is, waiting for Providence to arouse those who can pronounce it definitively and authoritatively. [Bolding added]
In the next paragraph, he again cites Thomas Aquinas, this time regarding the moral liceity of regicide in certain circumstances:
This is why, when you state that “it is not the subordinates of those evildoers who have the authority to rebel and overthrow them from their post,” it is necessary first of all to distinguish what type of authority is in question, and in the second place what order is being given and what damage would be caused by the proposed obedience. Saint Thomas considers resistance to the tyrant and regicide as morally licit in certain cases, just as it is licit and dutiful to disobey the authority of Prelates who abuse their own power against the intrinsic purpose of that power itself. [Bolding added]
He does of course make it clear that only non-violent disobedience is legitimate when it comes to ecclesiastical authority, but then why does he bring up the issue of regicide if it’s essentially irrelevant to the question at hand?

Further on, he offers a justification of violent revolt using Catholic examples from history. At the same time, he still suggests that revolt against ecclesiastical authority is different, and should not involve violence (although the example used here, of bishops who broke with Rome, is confusingly blurry since he says their authority became “null”):
If it were not possible to oppose a tyrant, the Cristeros would have sinned when they rebelled with weapons against the Masonic dictator in Mexico who persecuted its citizens, abusing his proper authority. The Vendeans, the Sanfedisti, and the Insurgents would also have sinned: victims of a revolutionary, perverted and perverting power, before which rebellion was not only licit but also necessary. Those Catholics who, in the course of history, had to rebel against their Prelates were also the victims of such power: for example, the faithful in England who had to resist their Bishops who had become heretics with the Anglican schism, or those in Germany who were forced to refuse obedience to the Prelates who had embraced the Lutheran heresy. [Bolding added]
So why use these provocative examples? Why does he talk about violent revolt against unjust authority when this has nothing to do with his understanding of legitimate resistance to the pope?

A little further on, he uses a similar rhetorical strategy again:
But if it is humanly incredible and painful to have to recognize that a Pope may be evil, this does not allow us to deny the evidence, nor does it require us to resign ourselves passively to the abuse of power that he exercises in the name of God yet against God. And if no one will want to assault the Sacred Palace in order to drive out the unworthy guest, legitimate and proportionate forms of real opposition can be exercised, including pressure to resign and abandon the office. [Bolding added]
Now of course he’s not saying that anyone should ever do something crazy like assault the Apostolic Palace to drive out the pope, but he’s bringing it up anyway, invoking the terrible image. Why?

[…]

Given that Viganò has an eager audience in both the United States and many other parts of the world, I hope that there are influential leaders in the Church willing to step in and admonish Viganò and convey the message that the language in his recent letter crosses a line, if indeed there are any lines left for Viganò to cross. Nearly any of his unhinged letters from the last year could and should have functioned as wake-up calls. Even if the pope chooses to remain silent, someone should have said something. Now they have another chance.

In any case, I hope all who read Viganò’s letter will firmly reject his perverse advice and pray for the health and safety of the Holy Father.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:11 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Viganò/QAnon/Deep State/Deep Church
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 63 / pg 64 / pg 65 / pg 65 / pg 66 / pg 66 / pg 73 / pg 84 / pg 120 / pg 123 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 124 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 126 / pg 125 / pg 126 / pg 127 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 128 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 132 / [u]Inter-Thread Trackbacks[/u]: "Mary ... 1765]pg 18[/b] / pg 20 /pg 20
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 152 / pg 152 / pg 152
"I'm Starting to Like This Pope":
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg6 / pg 6 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 10 / pg 10



The same Catholics who condemn ‘relativism’ and a ‘culture of death’ have built a deadly, post-truth world [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Supporters of President Donald Trump join in prayer outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 6, 2021, where U.S. Congress will meet in joint session to certify the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joe Biden. (CNS photo/Mike Theiler, Reuters)

Roman Catholics in the United States who frequently use the expressions “culture of death” and “dictatorship of relativism” increasingly inhabit — and have helped to build — a world that these slogans describe. A real and present “culture of death” and “dictatorship of relativism” now reside within the groups that made these papal quotes into mantras and for whom those expressions carry the most meaning and significance.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II promulgated his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“Gospel of Life”), in which he forcefully opposed “the culture of death.” A decade later, in his final homily before being elected as John Paul II’s successor, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed his own cultural critique in this way: “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

The expression “dictatorship of relativism,” like the earlier “culture of death,” quickly became popular. Over time, the two began to function as a rhetorical shorthand together. In many ways, this was a merited un𝗂on, as John Paul II also critiqued relativism by name in his encyclical and throughout his pontificate, even before Ratzinger expressed it in a more pointed way.

The dual impact of these pithy, three-word English expressions on Catholicism in the United States over the past 15 years has been remarkable. It is of course true that, within the context of their primary sources and notable authors, these expressions have surely had thoughtful interpreters and reasonable critics and remain fruitful sources to study in detail to this day and into the future.

Without dismissing these salutary treatments, however, we also must admit that a decontextualized sense of these terms has become intensely popular in certain circles of the church in the United States. They function as pejorative pillars that allow the “Catholic culture warrior” to declare an enemy with some appeal to papal authority.

To speak of the “culture of death” and “dictatorship of relativism” is to invoke a recognizable formula that neatly sums up a particular sense of Catholic countercultural identity that has increasingly allied itself socially and politically with evangelical Protestants and the Republican Party. In this usage, this combined mantra has become a truism at best and a slogan at worst, even beyond its Catholic usage. Worse still, it has become a performative contradiction and scandal that makes a mockery of the Gospel.

[…]

… [T]here are numerous well-documented conspiracy theories that range from empty accusations of infiltration in the Catholic Church, which have even allied themselves with the political conspiratorial language of “the Deep State,” to false and unverified secular and New Age theories like '“Plandemic,” “QAnon” and “the Kraken.” These conspiracy theories are often the epistemological engine driving the threats to life listed above.

Add to this the general phenomenon of “fake news” and “alternative facts” — not to mention the cavalier attitude to aggressively racist ethnostate fantasies, hate groups and anti-Semitic tropes galore — and it is equally plain to see that the self-proclaimed enemies of the “dictatorship of relativism” have become among the most wildly relativistic people we have ever seen, dwelling in tiny, often anonymous media silos driven by grifting egomaniacs who are often in conflict with one another.

Again, it is a tragic farce of monumental proportions. Recently, we have seen a member of the U.S. House of Representatives refuse to take responsibility for suggesting much of this very nonsense.

We can observe the same absurdity in a reversal of the two expressions. Those who profess to oppose a “culture of death” have not only shown themselves fully capable of supporting a killing spree and casting cynical doubt about existential threats to life; they have also contributed to a profound death of culture, including their own Catholic culture. Their paranoid and nostalgic romanticism for a Catholic tradition that is largely a product of their own making eschews everything save their increasingly narrow and kitsch-approved sources, sowing division and pain into their immediate families and wider church.

Similarly, many of those who most loudly bemoan the “dictatorship of relativism” have not only been immune to factual evidence and prone to conspiracy theories and nuttery; they are also not particularly averse to dictators. We can see this in the rise of knee-jerk critiques of liberalism, flirting with illiberalism and scoffing at democracy. We see this even more graphically in forms of Christian nationalism, Catholic integralism and admiration for fascist 20th-century dictators like Franco and Salazar. These same people seem unable to recognize, or are simply unconcerned with, the global rise of populist authoritarianism that Pope Francis warns about in his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.

All of this shows that the supposed opponents of the “dictatorship of relativism” are not only willing relativists; they are also quite conformable with dictatorial ideologies and even real political autocrats — even as they are skeptical to downright hostile toward their pope.

[…]

I know the concern these Catholics have for woman and infants in their staunch and signature opposition to legal elective abortion, but I also see their opposition to real possible solutions like universal maternal and natal care and parental leave as their decades-long promises continue to assure us that the next election or Supreme Court appointment will make all the difference. They have turned abortion from a reality into an issue and are resolutely against considering realistic and actionable social options.

Again, I learned how to think, reason and argue from these Catholics; I know of their love of ideas and the intellectual virtues. But I have seen these principles descend into sophistry and outright irrationality. The issue is not mere hypocrisy or inconsistency; it now verges on a kind of insanity.

These Catholics in America are now an active and integral part of its “culture of death” and “dictatorship of relativism.” They are wounded and in need of healing and forgiveness, but they must first be called to repent and believe.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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