August 08, 2018

Dennis Prager takes the Pope to task

 Jack Kemp

In a complex recent article, Dennis Prager, a man with a Jewish religious school upbringing and someone who has studied aspects of Christianity as well, wrote at a critique of Pope Francis entitled "Pope Francis Rewrites Catholicism ... and the Bible."

Here are some excerpts. Read the who thing here.


Last week, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had changed the Catholic catechism. After 2,000 years of teaching that a moral use of capital punishment for murder is consistent with Catholic teaching, the pope announced that the catechism, the church fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, among the other great Catholic theologians, were all wrong.

And God and the Bible? They're wrong, too.

Pope Francis, the product of Latin American liberation theology -- along with many other Catholic religious and lay leaders -- is remaking Catholicism in the image of leftism, just as mainstream Protestant leaders have been rendering much of mainstream Protestantism a branch of leftism, and non-Orthodox Jewish clergy and lay leaders have been rendering most non-Orthodox synagogues and lay institutions left-wing organizations.


But the Bible makes it clear capital punishment for murder is applicable to all of humanity. It is the first law God gives Noah after the flood, after commanding him to be fruitful and multiply. Putting murderers to death is therefore the first moral law God gives the world. Why this draconian penalty for murder? Because the penalty is a statement about the seriousness of a crime, and the God of the Bible deems the wrongful, deliberate taking of a human life the pinnacle of injustice. Allowing all murderers to keep their own lives diminishes the evil of murder and thereby cheapens the worth of the human being. In God's words, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Genesis 9:6).


In a 4-3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment violated the Connecticut Constitution, thereby preventing the execution of the murderers and assaulters of Dr. Petit's family.

This was Dr. Petit's reaction: "I think when people willfully, wantingly, without any remorse take someone else's life, they forfeit their right to be among us."

For those who believe in the Bible, Dr. William Petit of Cheshire, Connecticut, echoes God's view. Pope Francis of the Vatican does not.


Tim Birdnow adds:

The Catholic Church has always had a rather dim view of the death penalty primarily because the purpose of life is (in Catholic teaching) to avoid souls going to Hell and by executing someone you have permanently taken away their chance at repentance (of course the coming execution might force them to repent, but the idea is we can''t know that.)  Catholic teaching always accepted the old Testament as authoritative on the death penalty, but asked it be tempered with as much mercy as could be granted. This whole "dignity of the person" horse poo is vintage left wing nonsense from Francis; he couldn't even make his argument properly. But if he had he would have upset a lot of his other cherished ideals, like acceptance of homosexuality. If your primary goal is to keep people out of Hell you can't have a cafeteria approach, condemning executions while shrugging off other behaviors that will lead a soul to Hell.

I did a quick search and found this quote from the Perplexed Pontiff:

"it is freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator, and of which, in the final analysis, God alone is the true judge and guarantor.”

But it was THAT CREATOR who commanded the death penalty for certain crimes in the beginning, and it was THAT CREATOR who gave "the king the power of the sword" to "punish evildoers".  To claim we have no right to follow the Lord's own instructions is, well, the spirit of anti-Christ, a rebellion against what we were commanded to do.

One of the problems here too is the absolute division of the individual from society. The death penalty is not just to "punish" but to act as a warning to others. Granted, it has been rarely used in that way, with years, sometimes decades of legal procedures before it is enforced, and then it is done privately rather than with a public display, so most of the latter day Popes have opposed it as not generally useful, but the fact is it does indeed serve as a deterrent. The left always argues it does not because they have made it so rare and private - and of course there is no way to determine if a person did NOT commit a crime out of fear of it.

There has been a lively (pardon the pun) debate about this topic in theological circles in the Church for a long time. This is typical Francis; he leeps in without nuance or acknowledging the other side.  He is doing irreparable harm to the Church and the World he is supposed to shepherd.

I think Prager hit the nail on the head.


And here is what Dana Mathewson adds:

All I have to offer is that I believe Dennis has hit it out of the ballpark here. His understanding of the Bible is deep...

And if one wishes to extend the baseball analogy, Pope Francis has struck out, once again. He seems not to understand that his job is not to rewrite the theology of the Church. If he desires to make his mark upon the Church, what he should do -- if he has the wisdom, which clearly he does not -- is to extend the understanding of the message of Jesus. Not to distort it.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 03:07 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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