Death Penalty and Universalism


I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but if the death penalty is indeed contrary to the Gospel (per the new Catechism change), doesn’t it follow that eternal damnation is contrary to the Gospel?

Half of the Death Penalty and Universalism thread just vanished for no good reason
Half of the Death Penalty and Universalism thread just vanished for no good reason

God is able to do whatever He wants with His creation, besides it is souls that continually reject Him that want to be there despite all of God’s attempts.


Execution does not belong in a culture of life. Nor is it possible to guarantee every execution is warranted. There have been enough undeniable exonerations to serve as proof that continually supporting the death penalty will result in murder of those who are innocent. Life imprisonment is not exactly vacation and it spares us the moral dilemma.


And additionally gives the guilty a chance to repent.


Indeed, nor the forgiveness that a remarkable number of victims choose to give and even push for commutations to life sentences.


If you believe that then you are saying Jesus lied.


No, it does not. For while people are alive in this world they can set their wills to or against God, they can always still repent, and a longer life may provide such opportunities. However, after death, a person sets his or her will for or against God forever. They will never choose to change it. Furthermore, it is for God to bring final judgment, not man’s, and if we can play a part in returning lost sheep to the fold rather than administering capital punishment, how much better?


How exactly? This position makes no sense. A man killed by the death penalty when not in mortal sin can still be saved. He is only damned when he chooses to be damned.


Maybe I’m just stupid, but I don’t understand your original question at all.

The fifth commandment is “Thou shalt not kill”. The Church recognizes certain exceptions to that rule, such as killing in order to defend oneself or one’s family, or as part of a “just war”. In the past, the Church also recognized some rare exceptions for executions on the basis that there was not a suitable other way to protect society from a criminal. The Church has now stated that the exceptions do not apply because in today’s society, we have sufficient other ways to protect society.

What does any of this have to do with “eternal damnation”?


I’ve never really liked this answer. It implies man is establishing a system of morals apart from God. If God is the source of all that is good and moral, then whatever he does cannot be immoral. So excusing something “because He’s God” does not settle the question of the morality of what is happening.

Eternal damnation is the ultimate capital punishment. Truly it requires someone of divine authority to make this supernatural judgment. But if God’s decision to apply the ultimate capital punishment is moral, then what does it say about lesser capital punishments here on earth, i.e. death sentence? Are the lesser somehow immoral while the greater isn’t?

The authority and jurisdiction of the application of capital punishment can be debated, but I’m simply looking at the morality of capital punishment. If immoral, it’s immoral over all time and in all places, in heaven above and on earth.


No, not at all. Capital punishment is the action of human beings against another.


The gospel, the good news is that

  1. there is the possibility of eternal salvation for everyone who believes and obeys Jesus, who offers and gives us salvation.
  2. The good news is Jesus gave all the warnings AS WELL to avoid certain behaviors or serious consequences follow…
  3. The good news is ALSO, God says in the end of time, He will divide forever ALL those who follow HIM from ALL those who didn’t believe and obey HIM.

God forces no one to be saved. Since Jesus looking forward in time, says few are saved, in spite of all He did for humanity. That suggests to me, most people ignore points 1- 3 .

That’s why universalism / apokatastasis / apocatastasis was declared a heresy therefore condemned.

in extension, when we can put someone in prison for life, for horrible crimes they’ve done, we don’t have to kill them. If they don’t repent, they will spend eternity in prison


As previously stated, while living people can repent. People do not repent after death.

And this misunderstands morality. Morality isn’t just a flat set of universal laws. What it means to be a good human is different than what it means to be a good triangle, or a good dog, or a good angel. Morality isn’t some law above us, it’s a law that’s part of living up to our human nature, it’s intrinsic to what we are. It’s part of what it means to be a good human being.

God is not a human being. He’s not exempt because of some special pleading. His nature is simply different than our nature, and therefore to be Goodness Itself is different than what it is to be a good human being, and the difference between those two is infinitely different than the difference between being a good human and being a good bacterium.


Maybe you didn’t mean to say it quite like that.

Jesus Is God the son. He has 2 natures. He who is divine, really truly took on human nature.


Kamiller, it seems to me that you’re reacting to the theological voluntarism implicit in seriousquestion’s suggestion that God just can do whatever he wants. The Church has advocated a better view than voluntarism. Some theologians call it essentialism. Plato presents the theist with a dilemma in Euthyphro. Does God will things that are good by willing that which is in accordance with the good (which places the good outside of and above God)? Or, does God’s willing something at all ipso facto make it good (in which case the good would be whatever God wills, which gives the good an arbitrary sense)? The Church tried to split the dilemma right down the middle and unite the good with God’s very nature. God is Goodness itself. He will always will that which is good bc there is no way for him to do otherwise. He is the Good.

I think you are right to object to voluntarism, which suggests a capricious aspect to God’s will. ‘God can will whatever he wants’ is not, strictly speaking, a true proposition. He cannot will something intrinsically unjust or evil, etc.

AND, I also find the Church’s reasons for persisting in its advocacy of the infernalist belief (that Hell has an everlasting duration of torment/suffering/punishment from which there is no escape) to be woefully lacking…


Exactly right. This is why He is free. He is not a slave to sin as we are.


I think this week, hopefully, everyone will be taking a breath of relief. And we’ll realize all the fuss last week was for nothing. I’m sure Catholic Answers will even publish something regarding the new change soon, and I’d keep my eyes on Jimmy Akin if I were you!


@CampionTheChampion , I cannot see how you can make the connection you have made in the OP .


I mean, I feel you Campion. The tension that exists between (1) God’s mercy and infinite love and (2) an everlasting hell is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Somehow, we all do our best to fit all these following propositions together into a coherent whole, but it’s darn near impossible.

  1. God is love
  2. God’s mercy endures forever
  3. Christ’s sacrifice was for all
  4. God desires that all would be saved
  5. Salvation occurs by God’s grace - even a person’s positive response to God’s gift is a product of God’s grace (not a human’s own meritoriously choosing God)
  6. The divine causality includes holding contingent beings in existence at all moments of their existence
  7. The divine causality affects human free will, such that libertarian freewill is a false view
  8. Those who reject God’s love with be everlastingly banished from God’s presence and love to subsist forever in a perpetual state of torment & suffering in hell

One of those things is not like the others…just sayin :smirk:


Did a whole bunch of non-offensive posts just vanish from this thread? What’s going on there?

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