Nothing in the world makes me want to bang my head against a wall more than sloppy research. Today’s FLS decides it would like to clarify not only Catholic teaching on the death penalty, but also a Catholic’s obligations while in public office.
We’ll start with the meat of this morning’s article:
The emergence of the death penalty as a central issue in the Virginia governor’s race raises the question of how the Catholic faith of candidate Tim Kaine might affect his performance in office.
The short answer: That’s up to Kaine.
Okay, no problems so far. Kaine is entirely culpable for his decisions, and the Church does not force a Catholic to vote a certain way.
‘The church teaching is very consistently supportive of all human life, from womb to tomb,’ said Steve Neill, editor of the Catholic Virginian newspaper and spokesman for the Diocese of Richmond.
But people in public office make a promise to uphold the law, and that’s what Kaine says he will do if elected governor. Though he has said he personally opposes the death penalty, he vows in a TV ad to carry out Virginia law, including signing death warrants.
When Catholic public officials make decisions not in keeping with church teachings, ‘It doesn’t make them less loyal to their church,’ Neill said.”
That opinion was condemned by Pope Leo XIII in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae back in 1899.
But, beloved son, in this present matter of which we are speaking, there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that her supervision and watchfulness being in some sense lessened, buy cialis 40 mg online go to link http://www.cresthavenacademy.org/chapter/case-paper/26/ thesis publishing company cold war essays get link how to write a thesis paragraph for an essay writing essays tips bookkeeping skills resume bought it to help with your homework self injurious behaviors in autism a literature review www fastessayhelper com should homework be compulsory source url fast acting herbal viagra academic writing paragraph to essay levitra rio lucio synthroid doses available source site help me write a research paper back pain from lipitor https://fotofest.org/solving/cheap-writing-journals-in-bulk/5/ a community service essay handsome is as handsome does essay get cialis online canada go http://belltower.mtaloy.edu/studies/do-my-book-report/20/ write for me photosythesis diagram watch essay modern communication http://teacherswithoutborders.org/teach/write-a-reviewv/21/ allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity. They are of opinion that such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom which is now the right and the foundation of almost every secular state.
In the apostolic letters concerning the constitution of states, addressed by us to the bishops of the whole Church, we discussed this point at length; and there set forth the difference existing between the Church, which is a divine society, and all other social human organizations which depend simply on free will and choice of men.
It sounds rather strong, but in essence Leo XIII is explaining that one’s private opinions should not circumvent or take precedence over Catholic teaching, which in truth argues in favor of Kaine’s position on the death penalty. However, what it does not allow is a free pass as to whether or not Kaine (or any Catholic) should stand by their convictions as a faithful Catholic.
If the Church teaches something, you have an obligation to follow it. Regarding the death penalty, if Catholics believe it is too liberally proscribed, then Catholics have an obligation to curtail it’s application — at no point in time is a Catholic permitted to allow an unjust law to exist.
Now the FLS article was very quick to point out the Catechism as a defense of Tim Kaine’s views on the death penalty, as well as Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical on the topic. However, let me offer a viewpoint from then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the English interpretation of Catechism with regards to the death penalty, as described in an interview with ZENIT:
Q: In regard to two topics — the death penalty and the just war — is it possible that there will be a certain evolution in their treatment as compared to 1992?
Cardinal Ratzinger: In fact, on the question of the death penalty, there was a notable evolution between the first edition of the 1992 Catechism and its typical edition in Latin, published in 1997.
The substance remained identical, but the structure of the arguments was developed in a restrictive sense. I do not exclude the fact that on these topics there might be variations in the type of argumentations and in the proportions of the different aspects of the problems. I would exclude radical changes, however.
Hence the problem. Most American anti-death penalty viewpoints would interpret the Catholic stance on the death penalty in a more restrictive light. Pope Benedict XVI alludes to the defining precept in Catholic social teaching regarding the death penatly, namely that it be applied sparingly in worst case scenarios where the threat to society is either (a) grave, or (b) there are no means available to remove that individual from society.
Does that mean Adolf Hitler gets the death penatly? You betcha. Does Tim Kaine agree with that? Heck no.
And that’s the problem.
For most Catholics, Hitler gets the death penalty. So does the BTK killer, Charles Manson, and a handful of murderers and perpetrators of violence who will do greater harm than good if released or allowed to live. The issue is debatable as to where to draw the line. For Kaine, it’s erring on the side of the redemptive qualities of the individual, which is noble and good. It’s a position I can and do respect.
However, for Kaine to turn his back on those principles and say “heck, the law is the law and I’ll enforce it” strikes deep at the heart of the culture of life and social justice. It suggests Catholics should stand idle as injustice occurs. It suggests that what is legal – agreed upon by men – trumps what is right. It suggests that Christ was ultimately wrong for coming to us and daring to challenge the Old Law.
That’s the theological implications of Kaine’s position, much like John Kerry’s position in 2004. Cardinal Ratzinger, in response to Cardinal McCarrick’s inquiry regarding whether a Catholic could be “privately pro-life, yet publically pro-choice” and still receive the Eucharist, proposed the following:
Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it”
Cardinal Ratzinger – more accurately Pope Benedict XVI – was quoting Pope John Paul’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, the very same encyclical the FLS reporter (or the spokesman from the Richmond Diocese) used to twist Kaine’s position – personally opposed, yet publically will execute the law – into a licit one.
Kaine’s position is not Catholic. Kaine either stands by his convictions and his faith, or he turns his back on it and does what is politically convenient. There’s a judgment of character to make here folks; one I am not qualified to make.
I will say this: Kaine’s professed faith and his politics do not match. What to do with it is your call.