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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Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg6 / pg 6 / pg 8
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8



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
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

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 9



Maryland Catholic Conference urges Trump to stop a federal execution
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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. (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
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

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Mary Alone": pg 18 / pg 20 /pg 20
"Any QAnoners Here?": pg 5 / pg 5 / pg 5
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 4 / pg 6 / pg 6 / pg6 / pg 6 / pg 8
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 38
"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
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

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 9 / pg 9
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27 / pg 35



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."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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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
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

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"Faith in the News": pg 121 / pg 123 / pg 123
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 9 / pg 9
"President Trump is a problem...": pg 27 / pg 35



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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