Death penalty: For or against?

I’ll trust Fr. Groeschel. He cited Church teaching and said there’s no reason to be afraid of purgatory.

The Church does not teach that, the Magesterium has NEVER taught that. The pope is ONLY infallible in ex cathedra. Which has been invoked ONLY TWICE. Both with Marian Dogmas. So no, the Church position is the same, despite how much you may wish it to change. Only the Magesterium can set dogma, and they have ruled LONG ago on this issue

I trust the Scriptures and the mystics of the Church. As Jesus described: “In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” --Matt. 18:32-35

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”–Matt. 5:25

But here’s a fellow who had a vision of Purgatory worth listening to:

The church can neither allow nor disallow its use, it can only proclaim whether or not its use can or cannot be moral. That ship sailed 2000 years ago.

… the Church no longer does.

The church recommends against its use, but if its use can be moral, as the church has taught since forever, the decision of whether apply it lies with the State, not the church.

I never heard it taught that it prevented people from going to Hell, and that makes no sense to me.

Moreover the death inflicted by the judge profits the sinner, if he be converted, unto the expiation of his crime; and, if he be not converted, it profits so as to put an end to the sin, because the sinner is thus deprived of the power to sin any more. (Aquinas ST II-II 25, 6 ad 2)

CCC 1958 The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history

Yet the US bishops in their annual convocation last year in Baltimore declared it to be an “elegant ambiguity.” They didn’t fine it all that clear.

Infallibility is more encompassing than just those two statements. If that’s how you define infallibility then the doctrine of the Trinity is not infallible. In addition not everything in a papal encyclicals is necessarily infallible teaching.

I tend to distrust near death experiences, sorry. Here’s Fr Groeschel.

The Church also seemed to favor religious intolerance and state suppression of other religious denominations. Look at Dignitatis Humanae.

Again, read the mystics of the Church and the Scriptures. there’s a reason why Purgatory is called The Church Suffering
As for Groeschelle, he had some good talks, but also some lousy observations.

As I said, I’ll trust Fr. Groeschel. Your lousy observations line is disrespectful. Watch the talk, please.

This. The Thing many today don’t realize as St. Jerome puts it, is that the people that commit the unforgivable sin are SO…stubborn, pigheaded, and obstinate that God’s mercy is virtually unable to help them, because they REFUSE to repent. Some ideologues, for example are SO BLINDED by their beliefs that it borders on insanity and depravity. Case in point, Wanger Brigade, A brigade in the S.S. SO AWFUL, that EVEN the SS thought they were EVIL. You know you are messed up when even HIMMLER, thinks you are insane. They committed such EVIL atrocities, that the SS set up a Tribunal to see whether to try them, with WAR CRIMES. hint hint. The head of the brigade himself was a psychopath who also dabbled in Necrophilia. Oscar Dirlewanger brigade did things like locking people in a barn and setting it on fire, rape, extortion, murder, torture. Once Oscar ordered his men to kill a bunch of young kids to death with the butts and bayonets of their rifles “to save ammo” the brains of the children poured on the school steps. Even this act received scorn from some men, which something when you consider that they recruited violent prisoners, and even insane aylum

Mankind is capable of BEAUTIFUL, wonderful things and being good, gentle, pure…but it is also as equally capable of being literal…NIGHTMARES, absolutely corrupted by Evil and being so hard hearted that little can be done. They choose…poorly

No disrespect intended, but they did remove him from his EWTN show for a lousy observation. I rather trust St. Teresa of Avila, St Faustina and other mystics, which are in line with Scripture. Realize that it is one thing to be forgiven and to be saved, it is quite another thing to make reparation for all the damage one makes against God and neighbor, and to finally be purified to enter heaven. Archbishop Sheen describes it well.

We must NEVER forget the evils that man is capable of. Fun fact, Stalin was planning on starting ww3. Thermonuclear style. He was actually purging his government of those who were not as excited as he was at the prospect when…he died. Evil know no limits, insanity no bounds.

Teaching on the use of capital punishment has always made it conditional on the common good. Aquinas responding to a question of whether capital punishment should not be allowed at all referencing Matt 13 the parable about the weeds among the wheat answers…

Our Lord commanded them to forbear from uprooting the cockle in order to spare the wheat, i.e. the good. This occurs when the wicked cannot be slain without the good being killed with them, either because the wicked lie hidden among the good, or because they have many followers, so that they cannot be killed without danger to the good, as Augustine says (Contra Parmen. iii, 2). Wherefore our Lord teaches that we should rather allow the wicked to live, and that vengeance is to be delayed until the last judgment, rather than that the good be put to death together with the wicked.

We are forbidden to use capital punishment if the common good is harmed by its use.

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and if the common good is not harmed by its use?

When the common good was served by its use, it was permitted.

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The common good includes protecting the lives of those wrongly convicted.

That is a serious concern you raise, and one should be very cautious about taking this road if it isn’t necessary to go that way. I agree: if the catechism changes do represent a reversal of a 2000 year old doctrine held by every Doctor, and virtually every Father it does bring into question its validity.

As developments which are preceded by definite indications have a fair presumption in their favour, so those which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt; for a corruption is a development in that very stage in which it ceases to illustrate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in its previous history (Cardinal Newman)

That said, I don’t believe that’s what this “change” represents. There is a reason the bishops declared “inadmissible” to be ambiguous, and those who strongly opposed capital punishment before to think it clear as a bell. Depending on how you interpret it it can mean several different things, and no one has clarified it.

In understanding it, however, it is important to find an explanation that doesn’t create the situation you (we) described if it is at all possible to do so. That possibility only exists if it is understood that a 2000 year old doctrine has not been, and cannot be, overturned.

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This doesn’t quite mean what you think it does…

…when Our Lord says: “You have heard that it hath been said of old, an eye for an eye, etc.,” He does not condemn that law, nor forbid a magistrate to inflict the poena talionis, but He condemns the perverse interpretation of the Pharisees, and forbids in private citizens the desire for and the seeking of vengeance… (St Bellarmine)

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

It is critical to understand the difference between the rights and responsibilities of the State and those of the individual.

For God promulgates the holy law that the magistrate may punish the wicked by the poena talionis; whence the Pharisees infer that it is lawful for private citizens to seek vengeance…

The old testament laws seem to go against Jesus’s teachings.

How possible does it seem that God’s laws and Jesus’s laws would contradict one another? This is not a serious position to hold.

…only God should have power over death and life.

This is not what the church teaches.

And thus that which is lawful to God is lawful for His ministers when they act by His mandate. (Catechism of St. Thomas)

I’ve seen this topic discussed a number of times, it all sums up as “The means does not justify the end”.

It is driven by a need for revenge rather than justice and only encourages the philosophy of “an eye for an eye” which we know our Lord disapproved of.

If we follow that path soon the whole world will be blind.

The only true antidote against evil is doing good, just as our Lord told us. He Himself destroyed sin and set us free through a pure selfless act of love in the Cross.


We know that St Thomas defended capital punishment on condition of of it’s service to the common good. To reiterate, he explains that God forbade it’s use if it was harmful to the common good.

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