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  #136  
Old Apr 28, '12, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by triumphguy View Post
Oh, so the essence of Christian mercy is to get a good lawyer?

That's reductio ad absudum btw.
Quote:
In support of Ender, reductio ad absurdum is more that a 'rhetorical trick'. but a recognized logical debate technique.
Which is what I said. You even quoted me on it in post 131
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  #137  
Old Apr 28, '12, 7:01 pm
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Brendan Brendan is online now
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

Opps, sorry, I didn't notice that YOU forgot the 'r' in absurdum

Is that why you had it in an almost invisible font color?

Note the spelling here.
http://www.iep.utm.edu/reductio/
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  #138  
Old Apr 28, '12, 8:07 pm
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error


Justice and mercy from a guy who walked the talk.

Last edited by triumphguy; Apr 28, '12 at 8:17 pm.
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  #139  
Old Apr 29, '12, 3:25 am
chosen people chosen people is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by sw85 View Post
Hello all,

I've been thinking about the death penalty recently and genuinely wrestling with the issue.

On the one hand, until fairly recently, the teachings of the Church seem to have been pretty consistently pro-death penalty, authorizing the state to execute criminals not merely out of necessity but out of simple justice. This support extends at least as far back as the Council of Trent and probably further; Pius XII seemed to echo this position. The historical Church has, moreover, produced pretty sound exegesis and theological exposition to support this position.

On the other hand, the present magisterium is nearly entirely opposed to it, including seemingly all the American bishops, and the Catechism contains qualifications apparently absent and seemingly in opposition to prior teachings on the topic.

I am struggling specifically to reconcile these two facts with the Church's protection from error by the Holy Spirit. I want to be a good Catholic, but to do that I need to know clearly what is expected of me with respect to this issue and frankly no two Catholic sources are giving me the same answer.

So is there a "hermeneutic of continuity" by which we can reconcile what the Church presently teaches with what it has historically taught, and more importantly with the fact of the Church's protection from error?

Regards,


sw85
A Jewish perspective:

(Mishnah Makkot 1:10): "A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says: even once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon say: had we been in the Sanhedrin none would ever have been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says: they would have multiplied shedders of blood in Israel."

We see from the above that the Rabbis were not comfortable with and did not wish to impose the death penalty for any offense. This is line with the over riding principle in Judaism of the sanctity of life, of the rights of the individual including the rights of the accused.

In order to impose the death penalty Jewish law requires:
1) A Sanhedrin trial consisting of 23 Judges
2) 2 witnesses to testify that they witnessed the act for which the accused is charged
3) that the witnesses warned the accused that if he carried out the act he would be executed
4) that the accused acknowledged the warning and stated his willingness to commit the act despite being aware of the consequences
5) the confession of the accused is not admissible as evidence nor is circumstantial evidence

So we see why no imposition of the death penalty


Needless to say the Jewish State of Israel cancelled the British mandate death penalty. It exists on the books only for the crime of treason during wartime and for Nazi war crimes. The single execution ever carried out in Israel was of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann on May 31, 1962.
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  #140  
Old Apr 29, '12, 7:37 am
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
She wasn't going to die and everyone knew that. Roman Law prohibited the Jews from executing anyone.
So who stoned St. Stephen?


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Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
It is interesting that you find it so. St. Thomas Aquinas used that 'sales technique' as part of his cosmological proof of God's existance.

Why do you think that the Angelic Doctor had to resort to a 'trick' as part of his proof?
And the devil can quote scripture etc., etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chosen people View Post
A Jewish perspective:

(Mishnah Makkot 1:10): "A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says: even once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon say: had we been in the Sanhedrin none would ever have been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says: they would have multiplied shedders of blood in Israel."

We see from the above that the Rabbis were not comfortable with and did not wish to impose the death penalty for any offense. This is line with the over riding principle in Judaism of the sanctity of life, of the rights of the individual including the rights of the accused.

In order to impose the death penalty Jewish law requires:
1) A Sanhedrin trial consisting of 23 Judges
2) 2 witnesses to testify that they witnessed the act for which the accused is charged
3) that the witnesses warned the accused that if he carried out the act he would be executed
4) that the accused acknowledged the warning and stated his willingness to commit the act despite being aware of the consequences
5) the confession of the accused is not admissible as evidence nor is circumstantial evidence

So we see why no imposition of the death penalty


Needless to say the Jewish State of Israel cancelled the British mandate death penalty. It exists on the books only for the crime of treason during wartime and for Nazi war crimes. The single execution ever carried out in Israel was of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann on May 31, 1962.
Interesting perspective. Thanks.
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  #141  
Old Apr 30, '12, 8:54 am
SonCatcher SonCatcher is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by Rence View Post
The problem is, criminals are *not* sufficiently contained so that they don't continue to commit crimes. Some crime bosses still run their crime operations from within the walls of prison. Some drug dealers still run their operations from within the walls of prison. Some gang leaders still command from within the walls of prison. And of course, those prone to violence continue to be a threat to guards, other staff (like nurses and doctors), and to other prisoners, raping and beating them. I don't agree with the opinion that criminals are contained in prisons well enough to avoid capital punishment. However, I can understand why others think they're sufficiently contained: out of sight, out of mind. But just because you can't see them in your backyard doesn't mean they're not there, and operating their businesses as usual...
There are 3 major state prisons within short distance from me. So even though they are not immediately visible, I am conscious of them as being in my "backyard."

Yes, I am aware that convicts are using cellphones to maintain their networks. Even death row inmates and notorious, high security inmates have been found with them. It is a technological race. However, I expect that there will eventually be a solution. Since indiscriminate jamming is apparently illegal, the nearby prisons will likely receive their own cell towers that permit only whitelisted phones (prison officials) and 911 calls. It's hard to run a gang when you can only call the police.

Prison workers are aware of the danger they face. It's similar to that faced by the military and police. They take their jobs to help protect society, not for their own health.

The most dangerous prisoners are isolated. That some less violent prisoners prey upon the general population is unfortunate but difficult to prevent. Hopefully, as prisons advance, we will be able to better regulate the prisoners. Maybe we can use some of the savings from stopping use of the death penalty toward other improvements.
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  #142  
Old Apr 30, '12, 11:26 am
Ender Ender is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by SonCatcher View Post
Even death row inmates and notorious, high security inmates have been found with them. It is a technological race. However, I expect that there will eventually be a solution.
If your hope is that "eventually" there will be a solution, what are we to do in the mean time? The opposition to capital punishment is anchored on the assertion that prisons can adequately protect the public, but as you yourself note, that just isn't the case yet. If it is true that the public cannot be adequately protected with prisons alone then doesn't that argue that capital punishment is therefore not only appropriate but necessary?

Ender
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  #143  
Old Apr 30, '12, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by triumphguy View Post
So who stoned St. Stephen?
The Jews, of course, but after Pilate was either under suspicion from Rome for having antogonized them by placing the golden shields at Herod's palace, or having been recalled to Rome to explain himself (AD 35-37)

Either way, the prohibition against stoning was certainly in place at the time of Christ, with Pilate in a strong position to block any use of capital punishment.



Quote:
And the devil can quote scripture etc., etc.
So what exactly, do you mean by that, that St. Thomas is somehow to be aquainted to Satan because he uses the reductio ad absurdum as a logical proof?
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  #144  
Old Apr 30, '12, 12:02 pm
SonCatcher SonCatcher is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by Ender View Post
If your hope is that "eventually" there will be a solution, what are we to do in the mean time? The opposition to capital punishment is anchored on the assertion that prisons can adequately protect the public, but as you yourself note, that just isn't the case yet. If it is true that the public cannot be adequately protected with prisons alone then doesn't that argue that capital punishment is therefore not only appropriate but necessary?

Ender
The capability to detain has been clearly demonstrated. The solution to the very recent problem of cellphones is underway. That is enough for the conclusion that the death penalty is unnecessary.

The vast majority of those causing trouble with cellphones are incarcerated for non-capital offences, anyway. Are you suggesting that we start executing drug dealers and gang members merely for their connections?
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  #145  
Old Apr 30, '12, 3:04 pm
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
The Jews, of course, but after Pilate was either under suspicion from Rome for having antogonized them by placing the golden shields at Herod's palace, or having been recalled to Rome to explain himself (AD 35-37)

Either way, the prohibition against stoning was certainly in place at the time of Christ, with Pilate in a strong position to block any use of capital punishment.




So what exactly, do you mean by that, that St. Thomas is somehow to be aquainted to Satan because he uses the reductio ad absurdum as a logical proof?
Don't be silly.
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  #146  
Old Apr 30, '12, 3:05 pm
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by SonCatcher View Post
The capability to detain has been clearly demonstrated. The solution to the very recent problem of cellphones is underway. That is enough for the conclusion that the death penalty is unnecessary.

The vast majority of those causing trouble with cellphones are incarcerated for non-capital offences, anyway. Are you suggesting that we start executing drug dealers and gang members merely for their connections?
Take away the cell phone tower and cell phones cease to be a problem.
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  #147  
Old Apr 30, '12, 3:34 pm
SonCatcher SonCatcher is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by triumphguy View Post
Take away the cell phone tower and cell phones cease to be a problem.
Actually, by building a cell tower in the jail, all the cellphones inside will connect to it and not the tower on the hill. Only approved phones can make calls through the tower. Unapproved phones can only call 911. It allows them to effectively block cell phone use without a jammer. The controversial thing about the plan is that the cell tower will be paid for by the company that provides payphones to the prison (payphones are monitored so it would be more difficult for them to run their gangs and networks).
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  #148  
Old May 1, '12, 8:16 am
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Originally Posted by Ender View Post
If your hope is that "eventually" there will be a solution, what are we to do in the mean time? The opposition to capital punishment is anchored on the assertion that prisons can adequately protect the public, but as you yourself note, that just isn't the case yet. If it is true that the public cannot be adequately protected with prisons alone then doesn't that argue that capital punishment is therefore not only appropriate but necessary?

Ender
Since there are vary rarely any homicides in Canadian prisons would you say that the public is adequately protected?

For instance there has not been a murder in the Quebec prison system for the last 10 years, and 6 in Canada as a whole.

In the US the murder rate in prison is 1/3 that of the national rate. Does that mean you are 3 times safer in prison than on the streets?

In 1985 a New York study showed that there were 19 cases of serious violence against guards, and there were 24,000 guards in the system at the time.

I've worked in prisons as a Catholic Chaplain, and worked out with murderers and rapists, sat naked in a sweat lodge with native inmates, taken native inmates to their reserves for funerals (where I was the only white guy in a very remote reserve), played soccer with inmates, had inmates confess crimes like murder and rape to me knowing that I would inform the authorities. I was daily on maximum security units by myself (with no guard nearby) and went into prisoners' cells out of view of the camera daily.

For 3 years I put on programs for drug and sex offenders, again in a locked room with no guard or camera present.

I went down into administrative segregation (where the dangerous inmates were housed 23 hours a day in solitary, with no furniture, bed sheets, books, TV, radio etc, and who's only clothing was a fireproof blanket called a baby-doll) and arm wrestled with them through the bars in order to gain trust.

Of course being 6' and weighing 250lbs and built like a brick outhouse helped of course, but my size and build also meant that sometimes I could be viewed as a threat, so I could not bully my way around either.

From my experience prison violence is overblown by the media.

There is a very high rate of suicide attempts in prison and suicides are of course reported as part of the death rate in prison, but sometimes little care is taken to differentiate.
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  #149  
Old May 1, '12, 9:24 am
Ender Ender is offline
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

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Since there are vary rarely any homicides in Canadian prisons would you say that the public is adequately protected?
It is certainly appropriate to raise the issue of what constitutes adequate protection since the opposition to capital punishment is based on the assumption that this is what modern penal systems provide. Since no one has even attempted to define what that would mean it's not clear how we would know if we had it or not.

Regarding your question: no, you cannot make the assumption that the public outside of prisons is protected because the murder rate within prisons is negligible. We do know that in the US there are people inside of maximum security prisons who have ordered the murders of people outside the system. Does that mean the public is inadequately protected? There is no way to know since the phrase "adequate protection" has no particular meaning. We also know, however, that recidivist killers - those imprisoned for homicide and released - kill again at a rate of 2-3%. Not counting murders within prisons, there will be 45-50 innocent people killed each year by people who have already killed before. Does that represent inadequate protection? Again, since the phrase is undefined ... who knows?

Ender
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  #150  
Old May 1, '12, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Capital punishment and protection from error

So, in your view how do you make the decision to end - or to start - capital punishment?

There are a lot of variables:

Cost, and whether the money spent in the execution process could be spent elsewhere and achieve better results - eg., through education
Demographic questions, and whether the system is fair
You know the list yourself...

So who chooses? Who is the arbiter?

Does the evidence have to satisfy a social conservative?

If we choose democratically but the Vatican says "No, on the balance of the evidence we believe that Capital Punishment is unjust in this particular State" then what?
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