Prelude to Comments on the Scandals in the Church


(I have been rocked by the new scandal involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick AND by all the people in authority who knew what a wolf he was and said nothing. I am too furious to write about it just yet. But I have noted that the very serious abuses of men who are not orthodox are routinely covered up and excused – while completely phony or trumped up charges are used to destroy men whose real crime is being orthodox. Fr. C. Frank Phillips was the Superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago, a beautiful, traditionalist organization first approved by the late Cardinal Francis George. Current Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich treats traditionalists with open contempt, as he does pro-lifers and those who insist on the Biblical definition of marriage. Lo and behold, a charge of engaging in homosexual relations with an adult was lodged against Fr. Phillips. An independent investigator found the charges flimsy and saw no reason to remove Phillips – that the charges were simply designed to get rid of him. Even so, Phillips is now gone – and the traditionalists in Chicago know the scourge of persecution. I am sick to death of certain Priests and Bishops thinking their job is to explain why Christ and His Apostles and Prophets didn’t actually mean what they actually said. I am sick to death of these same heterodox authorities excusing and covering up for vicious homosexual and pederastic abuse, provided the offenders are part of the go-along, get-along heterodox crowd. I am sick to death of these same wolfish officials using the very charges they cover up among the heterodox to smear clerics who dare to be orthodox, to live fidelity to the authentic Magisterium instead of perversions of it. As a prelude to the piece I will write on this, I repeat an investigative piece I wrote several years ago on the passion of former Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn, an orthodox Bishop who made some minor errors in adjudicating such a case. For his troubles, he was forced into retirement by Pope Francis and his American factotum, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. I am sick to death of the hypocrisy and faithlessness coming from the highest levels of the Church I love. Period.-CJ)

By Charlie Johnston

This story has no heroes. There are villains; there are victims; there are those who were fumble-fistedly well-meaning; but there are no heroes.

It is a story for our time, a time when the mortar cementing the bricks of a solid social order are disintegrating. It is a tale of how many of the very people and entities which had helped cover up credible accusations of statutory rape of minor children against favored allies, righteously called for the head of a man they perceived to be their ideological enemy for his delay in turning in a subordinate for the lesser, but real, offense of having smutty pictures of children. It is a tale of tribalism, as various entities used the law as a cudgel to bludgeon their opponents and a shield to defend their allies. It is a story of how the guardians of the innocent agonized instead of acting when discovering there was a wolf in their midst. It is a saga of advocates of objective standards of morality retreating into moral relativism and the culture of therapy when confronted with irrefutable evidence against one of their own. The only man who seems to have learned much of anything from it is the man at the center of it, Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri Catholic Bishop Robert Finn.

Fr. Shawn Ratigan - Ms. Magazine
Fr. Shawn Ratigan – Ms. Magazine

The story begins on December 16, 2010, when a computer technician called in to make repairs to the laptop of diocesan priest Shawn Ratigan discovered over a hundred very disturbing pictures of young girls on the computer. Most were of clothed children, but all focused on the crotch or buttocks. Many did not even show the face of the child involved. One was a nude photo from the waist down.

The shaken technician, Ken Kes, called his friend, Deacon Mike Lewis to tell him – and show him – what he had found. Lewis was shocked and shaking. He called diocesan administrator, Msgr. Robert Murphy, who was also head of the diocesan response team for accusations against priests, and told him of the multitude of creepy pictures and described the nude photo.

Though the photos were clearly prurient, none depicted any actual sexual activity. Murphy called Police Captain Rick Smith, who was a member of the diocesan Independent Review Board (IRB), described the nude photo to him and asked if it was to be considered pornography. Smith asked experts in the department and got an ambivalent response. It might have been porn, but no one thought a charge would hold up on a single photo such as that. Murphy had not mentioned to Smith that there were a multitude of disturbing, if slightly less lascivious, pictures involved.

The laptop was turned over to Diocesan Information Director Julie Creech, who was asked to review the pictures. She did so and called in Diocesan Communications Director Rebecca Summers to review them with her. Meantime, Murphy called Bishop Finn to apprise him of the situation. Creech made copies of the photos for a permanent file – and both the women urged that the diocese turn the whole thing over to police, which was not done at that time.

Murphy confronted Ratigan, who denied the charges and claimed that the computer had been given to him used. But the next day, Ratigan attempted suicide. He was hospitalized in Kansas City. When he eventually recovered, he was sent to Pennsylvania for psychiatric evaluation. Diocesan officials struggled over how to handle it, ultimately concluding that the pictures were not legally pornographic because they did not show any sort of sexual activity or contact. Finn said he never saw the pictures; only had them described to him.

The doctor who evaluated Ratigan reported to the Diocese that he did not believe Ratigan to be a pedophile. Nonetheless, Finn assigned Ratigan to stay in a mission house in Independence, Missouri with elderly priests and to have no contact with children except for celebrating some formal Masses for student groups. The case was not turned over to the IRB because there were no complainants and the pictures were not determined to be pornographic, along with the psychiatric report.

In March, Ratigan violated the Bishop’s order by attending a sixth-grade girl’s birthday party with her family. Bishop Finn admonished him not to do that again. The diocese also turned the laptop over to Ratigan’s family, telling them it was not needed any longer and that Ratigan was banned from using computers. In April, Ratigan violated the order again – and was caught trying to take pictures under a table of a young girl whose family he was having dinner with at Easter. Finally convinced that Ratigan would not or could not control himself, the diocese notified police of the extent of the problem in mid-May. In the course of their investigation, police found many more such pictures on a computer at a parish Ratigan had worked at earlier – and CDs with similar pictures. Ratigan was eventually sentenced to 50 years in prison for both state and federal charges of producing and possessing child pornography.

Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker - Jackson County, Missouri
Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker – Jackson County, Missouri

Five months after the arrest of Ratigan, Jackson County, Missouri Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker got an indictment against Finn and the diocese for failing to report Ratigan to governmental authorities earlier. Controversy erupted throughout the diocese and the country as that trial wended its way through the courts. Commentators from all sides rallied to either call for Finn’s head on a platter or to defend him.

Former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves was called in to supervise a full investigation on the sequence of events and decisions by the Diocesan Independent Review Board. Ultimately, Finn was convicted of one misdemeanor count of failure under a plea agreement that saw charges dropped against the diocese. Finn was sentenced to two years probation, which was suspended.

Reuters has a good concise timeline of the events leading up to Finn’s indictment, while The Graves Report provides exhaustive detail on the underlying facts of the case.


I have never met nor spoken to Bishop Finn. Several very close friends of mine are friends of his, though. One of my dearest friends is so close to him that well before this case ever began, he asked me to pray for Finn. He told me Finn was a faithful, orthodox man who had been put in a very progressive diocese and was getting a lot of flack from some priests there who were wedded to progressive modernism. Each day, I offer prayers for all the Bishops of the world – mentioning about 15 by name, Bishops who I have some connection to at first or second hand. Throughout my pilgrimage, Bishop Finn was one of those I prayed for by name each day I walked.

Since announcing I would be doing this article, I have been contacted by several people in the Diocese who have told me that Bishop Finn was under attack from the beginning of his tenure by left-wing activists and priests, by the National Catholic Reporter (NCRep), which is headquartered in the diocese and is the voice of left-wing Catholic ideology in America. While NCRep is clearly an advocate, it is by no means as degenerate as much of the establishment secular press. It does some solid journalism and is a good source, provided you make mental allowances that it takes its left-wing activism at least as seriously as its Catholicism.

All of my friends who know Bishop Finn, many of whom I count among my most trusted confidantes, speak in absolutely glowing terms about him.

Tribal Warfare

When the case erupted onto the national scene, the battle lines seemed to be drawn on ideological, rather than legal or religious lines. The left-wing Kansas City Star and that bastion of American liberalism, the New York Times, called loudly for Finn’s head. NCRep, which had already had an ongoing ideological battle with him wrote one of the more comically schizophrenic editorials ever when the indictment was announced. In its first line, it warned against anyone making a rush to judgment. That, apparently, was just a fig leaf thrown over its enmity towards an entrenched ideological enemy, though, for it ended by ignoring its own advice and calling for his immediate resignation.

The NY Times and the KC Star postured as principled, doctrinaire defenders of children. But when former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline investigated Planned Parenthood of Overland Park and the late abortion provider George Tiller for systematically covering up cases of statutory rape in cases where minor girls sought abortions, the Kansas City Star vigorously defended Planned Parenthood and Tiller,  ideological allies. The charges were eventually dismissed on technical grounds, while the judges involved largely conceded that it was likely crimes had been committed. The Kansas City Star, unsatisfied with having successfully shielded their ideological allies from being penalized for credible evidence of actually covering up child rape, joined in a crusade to disbar Kline for accessing private medical records. He was disbarred for that, while the child rape cases he uncovered were ignored. The KC Star won a “Maggie” Award from Planned Parenthood for its excellent editorial coverage of the issue.

The New York Times has long been a defender of Planned Parenthood. More importantly, when disgraced former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland rose to blame former Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI for the sexual assault crisis, the Times resurrected him as an honorable, knowledgeable source. Certainly, Weakland was knowledgeable about sex abuse and criminality. He used funds from the Archdiocese to settle a lawsuit with a former homosexual lover over abuse. But as long as he was willing to smear orthodox Catholics, the NY Times was willing to overlook his disgrace.

Prosecutor Peters is from Missouri, not Kansas. But she won the endorsement of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) in her bid for election to the office she holds. I don’t know what her position on the Kansas case was, but she is part of the same tribe as the KC Star and the NY Times.

I am less than impressed when advocates who win awards for shielding allies from credible claims of covering up child rape suddenly become doctrinaire advocates for children if an ideological opponent is not quick enough to hop to it when investigating a subordinate’s trove of smutty pictures. Somehow, I don’t think the welfare of children is at the top of their priority list. It looks like ideological warfare to me, the type that has metastasized into the full-blown Rolling Stone Rape hoax and Lena Dunham’s novelistic rape charge against an innocent man. This is a tribe that doesn’t let facts get in the way of a preferred narrative.

Unfortunately, the tribalism was not confined to the leftist attackers. William Donohue’s Catholic League defended the Bishop on narrow legalistic grounds, rather than viewing it from a solid moral perspective. His narrative defense was so slanted it borders on outright deception. For example, he notes that the police were informed immediately of the problem when it was found. Technically accurate, it glides over the fact that only one of hundreds of pictures were disclosed – and only to one police officer. The police were not formally notified nor fully informed of what had been discovered. As it turns out, Donohue’s legal analysis is largely on target, but if he would have gotten there in a more candid manner it would have been more impressive. While we have come to expect that the secular world largely acts in a tribal manner these days, using the law as a cudgel against opponents and a shield against allies rather than an instrument for objective justice, we rightly expect a different standard from the leaders of our faith.

Finn’s Actions

The approach of the Diocese and Bishop Finn was flawed in several ways. While it is proper not to jump mindlessly on every accusation, to show consideration for the rights of the accused as well as the accuser, this was not a “he-said, she-said” situation. In fact, there was never any “she-said” side to the story at all. The pictures were the evidence, and they spoke for themselves. Psychology is a useful tool and a miserable master. Therapeutic psychology has become the spear-point of moral relativism. On purely objective grounds, if you find hundreds of photos of crotch shots of children, even if most all are clothed, in someone’s possession, you should not need a psychological report to know you have a problem. I know I don’t want the person who cherishes such photos anywhere near my grandchildren. It is understandable that Finn did not want to subject himself to looking at such photos. But he is the Bishop. Given that Murphy gave such a truncated version of the photos to the police officer, I have some concerns about how candid and sound the counsel was that Finn was getting. That is not to excuse Finn for not examining the facts fully, himself. He is the Bishop. He will ultimately be held accountable, so he should have examined the evidence himself, to verify that he was making decisions from accurate information.

Bishop Robert Finn - (CNS Photo - Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
Bishop Robert Finn – (CNS Photo – Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Yet for the terrible misjudgments and misguided efforts to be fair to the priest, the first thing Finn did was to remove the priest from general contact with children, get a psychiatric evaluation to try to evaluate him, and try to come up with a just resolution. That I, too, think his efforts were terribly calibrated does not make them criminal – and does not change the fact that he acted immediately to try to protect all involved. When Ratigan violated Finn’s order not to have contact with children, notwithstanding the psychiatric report, Finn ordered the police contacted and evidence turned over. It is because of Finn that the authorities came to know there was a problem in the first place. It was Finn who recruited former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves to supervise the detailed investigation into what happened, what went wrong, and how they could handle such cases in the future. To prosecute him for a case of the slows is less likely to protect children than to encourage a genuine cover-up in future cases.. It is ironic that the most vigorous prosecution of a Bishop in U.S. history comes not at the expense of a Bishop who actually worked to cover up such a scandal, but a Bishop who tried to solve the problem according to the law and then turned it over to authorities himself when he became convinced it was insoluble. But in tribal justice, it is not justice that is sought, merely sticking it to enemies and protecting allies.


There was some reasonable commentary on the case – and some that was not merely tribal. Rod Dreher wrote a blistering article from a conservative perspective on why Finn deserved indictment. Yet his argument depends on the worst possible construction of every misjudgment. It fails ultimately because if you crucify a Bishop who actually was the source of disclosure, while allowing men like Weakland to enjoy retirement in peace, you teach the lesson that disclosure is the way to get crucified and that cover-up is the way to avoid it. That is a terrible practical result, quite apart from the moral incoherence of it.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the neighboring Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas wrote a balanced piece in his diocesan newpaper and did a solid interview with NCR, which demonstrated its fundamental reportorial fairness even with a subject to which it was hostile.

EWTN nicely summarized the situation in a balanced manner from early on.


Before I started examining the case in detail, I thought that Bishop Finn had agreed to the plea deal to spare the diocese the trouble of ongoing litigation and to spare the families of children who didn’t even know they had been victimized from the trauma of a public trial. As I examined the evidence and the law, that did not make as much sense to me as I thought it would. There really was no legal case here. The prosecutor was crowing when she got a technical plea to a misdemeanor that carried no effective punishment, other than a figurative scarlet letter tattooed on Finn. I am convinced this would have had to be dismissed before any families would have had to be called – and that Diocesan attorneys knew it. However clumsily at first, Finn acted to protect the children of his diocese, to remove the recalcitrant priest, and to notify authorities. So why the agreement? I think Bishop Finn is exactly the man my friends have described him to be. I suspect, but have no inside knowledge, that as it became clear that there was no criminal culpability, Finn acknowledged to himself his failures as a fairly new Bishop – failure to act with dispatch from a solid, objective moral framework. I suspect Bishop Finn chose to take that scarlet letter personally as a form of penance. a reminder of what he is called to.

I may be wrong. But I know when I was running large campaigns, I sometimes had regional heads who were marvelously talented, noble and vigorous who, nonetheless, were not as frutiful as they could be. I got to where I looked forward to one such as this making a huge blunder – the sort of blunder that could get him dismissed. I had found that when a noble soul makes a huge blunder, it fills him with a steady, steely resolve that transforms him onto a true champion. So I always let one such as this up easy and, in fact, rejoiced at the opportunity to see a new champion rise. I was never disappointed. I think Bishop Finn is such a man.

I said at the outset of this story that it has no heroes – and it doesn’t. But in the outer court of the Sanhedrin the day before Good Friday, St. Peter was not a hero. His very betrayal and grief over it was a forge that formed him into one who was faithful unto death. I don’t know whether Bishop Finn has discovered such a steely, steady resolve. But if ever events should conspire to make him my Bishop, I would be pleased. He has certainly come through the forge.

320 thoughts on “Prelude to Comments on the Scandals in the Church

  1. The latest Voris Righteous Rant. YUP!! He speaks of “Good” Bishops and the time for them to Step-Up and Speak-Out. If “Good” Bishops have remained silent in the face of Evil can they be called good? Their is nothing good about dereliction of duty …. especially those given the most power and authority.

    “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
    Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”― Dietrich Bonhoeffe

    “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” – John Stuart Mill.

    “LET US IN! LET US IN! … Cuz we got somethin’ to say.”


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Charlie: I lived thru our beloved Bishop Finn’s trials here in KC. The similarity between Sean O’Malley and Bishop Finn is incredulous in that Bishop Finn said he sent the evidence on to his staff (Fr. Murphy) as did Sean O’Malley, who sent his evidence onto his staff…..why is Sean O’Malley not on trial also…..he who sent Bishop Finn off in humiliation for the same action! Bishop Finn fell on his sword on many levels…..Sincerely, Fran Cobb

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was remembering the book “Goodbye Good Men” which was published in 2002 which documented the gay subculture in some seminaries and other problems:

    That said, we must be careful to discern and not to say all are bad. Also, we will need to get better at screening false from true allegations of abuse.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Latest {beautiful} message from Medjugorje.

    Latest Medjugorje Message, August 2, 2018 – Apparitions to Mirjana

    “Dear children, with a motherly love I am calling you to open hearts to peace; to open hearts to my Son, so that in your hearts love for my Son may sing, because only out of that love peace comes in the soul.

    My children, I know that you have goodness, I know that you have love – a merciful love, but many of my children still have a closed heart. They think that they can do it without directing their thoughts towards the Heavenly Father who illuminates-towards my Son who is always with you anew in the Eucharist and who desires to listen to you. My children, why do you not speak to Him? The life of each of you is important and precious, because it is a gift from the Heavenly Father for eternity. Therefore, do not ever forget to keep on thanking Him: speak to Him.

    I know, my children, that what is to come afterwards is unknown to you, but when your hereafter comes you will receive all the answers. My motherly love desires that you be ready. My children, by your life keep putting good feelings in the hearts of the people whom you meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness. Through prayer, hearken to what My Son is saying and act accordingly.

    Anew, I am calling you to prayer for your shepherds, for those whom my Son has called. Remember that they need prayers and love. Thank you. ”

    Liked by 8 people

  4. StJoan says: “An awful lot of young people not going to church is simply one small thing: they are lazy and have found an excuse not to attend Mass. The world has become their spiritual place.”

    There is an awful lot of the laziness thing, all right, dressed up as “righteousness” – the sort that is basically saying: “I’m too good for all that…”. It’s a kind of virtue-signalling, really, of the cheapest sort, that requires no courage or commitment to anything better. Bravely standing up in the face of the applause of the world. Wow!

    What I’ve also found is the sort of second-rate intellectual snobbery that says: “All that stuff, it’s for the simple-minded or the easily-led”. I’ve most frequently found this among the “educated” young – and yes, I use the scare-quotes because in my experience they are frequently quite badly educated, in the sense that they just haven’t even bothered to do a bit of basic research on that which they so casually dismiss. (Or, worse, just aren’t capable of doing so in too many cases). To me, the true spirit of education is that you at least find out, enquire, about something before you come to a conclusion – it’s the root meaning, after all, from “ducere”, to lead, with the prefix “e-“, out of, meaning to go from a state of lack of something, in this case knowledge, to a better place, of enlightenment.

    So as they haven’t even bothered to do the basics, therefore they’ve willingly left themselves open to delusion, to being led astray. At best, this could lead to them just being made to look silly or ignorant in front of someone who does know, and takes them to task, but at worst – well, don’t go there. Now, would they leave themselves so exposed through willful ignorance in their professional lives? Not likely, or they’d be heading for the door pretty fast!

    I’ve met too many like that, and not only young. Too many in my own family as well.

    Liked by 10 people

  5. Wow, what a great bunch of comments reflecting pain and suffering from the heart. Our Lord is cleaning house, actually he is identifying the damaged wood falling down on his children so that it can be removed and his children rescued. Let’s all remember the foundation is built on rock. It is solid. I frequently receive damning comments from a Seventh Day Adventist belittling our Church, our Lady, and popes. My responses always defend the Church and I close correspondence that we must keep our focus on Jesus. I suspect that Protestant churches have their share of sinful leaders but they aren’t in the press as often as those from the Catholic Church. I’ll share this ASOH material with her because although it is bad news I’m not afraid to share it. God’s purging is good news. Let’s all keep our focus on Jesus.

    Liked by 11 people

  6. ASOH Family,

    I just have to say that I am so angry and upset. If I didn’t love our church I would be sorely tempted to leave. Yet the current state of the church mirrors our society. One exception, they are held to a higher standard.

    I want change. I want false shepards to all go!

    Sadly, Im distantly related to Rembert Weakland. Ugh!!!!

    I suggested at my local parish to hang a black veil over the portrait of a beloved priest found to have in his possesion a nude photo of an altar boy.

    It was odd, I passed his photo on Monday and was inspired to say a prayer for him. I don’t suggest removing his portrait because he needs the prayers. But the victims need to know we are sorry for what happened to them.

    One of the saddest parts is that the clergy have a better knowledge and saying they know not what they do doesn’t really apply. I am so sad at the choices made.

    I have written to the Chicago diocese and feel the need to write orhers. I cant stand by and do nothing. Prayer yes, but a voice for the victims.

    Thank you for listening!

    Liked by 11 people

    1. The article by Ralph Martin was great. Thank you for sharing. I passed it on.

      Was tempted to pass on to my pastor but not sure if that is appropriate.

      God Bless

      Liked by 3 people


    Excellent article today. Yes, Our Lady has predicted it. We can add Akita, Garabandal, etc. to La Salette. But I would just add to what Michael Brown says in the article that evil shows its ugly face in a powerful way these days, but I believe the Lord is allowing it to show us what is being exposed and cleaned up by the light of Christ. Strengthen us Lord and Mother Mary!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you Annie for this reminder…Michael Brown has done what he always did for me in the past 25 years…he has lifted the veil covering my eyes for me.As an investigative reporter he does all the hard work for me and then tells me about it in simple terms. I love his review of LaSallette(sp?) and his reference to the False Church..Our Lady used that same term…False Church…in her messages to Father Gobbi and I was never quite sure what she meant. My eyes have been opened to the prophecies I have read and I have a much better understanding now. Thank you to all of you and especially to Charlie and Bekita and all the others…all of you are great blessings to me.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Annie: Thanks for posting that link, useful reminder! Noreen: I strongly agree about Michael B. His reporting background and his constant urging to always “test, discern, examine” certainly gives him that extra degree of credibility, for me anyway. I’ve been following SD for many years now, and always feel I owe Michael a lot for what I’ve discovered.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thank you, Noreen. I’ve missed you and continue to pray for your healing. How are you feeling these days? God bless you and all your dear ones. God bless us, one and all.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I was thinking about sexual addiction last night as I have counseled this some. Some sexual addicts can have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide syndrome in that their sexual sins remain hidden while they show a clean white exterior like those white washed walls Jesus spoke of. i do believe this explains why some really didn’t know of these sins being committed or if they heard rumors they found it hard to believe them as the sinner often seemed so clean and pure in public. Certainly many did know and remained silent and these must be held to account, but some were likely genuinely ignorant. Even JP II is said to have doubted some of the reports, believing that these were attempts by the communists to discredit clergy. And for some who were living holy and good lives I am certain it was hard to believe that such gross evil could exist even among the ordained who were consecrating the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Many a spiritual writer and speaker is now weighing in on the unpacking the implications of this change. Here are two opposing interpretations. Fr. Longenecker lays out his thinking: There have also been concerns expressed such as those in EWTN’s World Over program last evening. If you search “World Over – 2018-08-02 – Papal Posse on the McCarrick Scandal, Death Penalty with Raymond Arroyo” on You Tube, you will find footage of the program.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good to know, and just discovered that most of their shows are also available on the EWTN (phone) app, under the tab: ‘Video on Demand’.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I particularly like this spiritual writer.

        “The same divine authority that forbids the killing of a human being establishes certain exceptions, as when God authorizes killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time.
        The agent who executes the killing does not commit homicide; he is an instrument as is the sword with which he cuts. Therefore, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ to wage war at God’s bidding, or for the representatives of public authority to put criminals to death, according to the law, that is, the will of the most just reason.”

        -St. Thomas Augustine
        (The City of God, Book 1, chapter 21)

        And this one…

        “The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.
        They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.”

        -St. Thomas Aquinas
        Summa contra gentiles, Book III, chapter 146

        Liked by 3 people

            1. Mick, I told Beckita a few days ago that Purgatory would be empty by now if I commented here more often. See what I mean?

              Liked by 3 people

  9. It has even been suggested that Pope Francis has released the evolution of teaching on capital punishment in order to distract from the McCarrick scandal. That suggestion is a new level of low in the blows Pope Francis has suffered.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you, Charlie. Rod Dreher’s piece on Bishop Finn, unfortunately, did not show any knowledge of the situation and climate here in KC. Bishop Finn has continued to be an example of humility, patience, faith and hope throughout it all. He gladly works the portion of the vineyard he’s been given and, because of his good work here in KC, there is good fruit that will be attributed to others. But that’s okay. It’s only a worldly honor and our Lord knows all about it. The point is, good things are beginning to happen as painful as they are and will be to birth.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. Good article at by Ralph Martin. My opinion? We will have to take the structure down to the foundations. Most catholics have no firsthand acquaintance with the priests to be able to evaluate their character, much less the administrative hierarchy. Think of the huge amounts of money paid to repair their degredations. Forgive sin- yes- but we are not responsible to forgo justice. It has tainted good priests; however that is the result of their confreres’ abominations, not judgement from the pews. This requires a paradigm shift of how we – parishoners – relate to priests and the “church”. Can you imagine St Paul being a pedophile? Can you imagine St John Vianny being homosexual? Wouldn’t you expect someone beside the fox to guard the hen house? There are plenty lay people who are capable of dealing with sexual, financial, and administrative problems and incompetance. We – the church – need to speak up, step up and insist on change. Not only change for “the church” as it is but a part, a voice and capability to steer decisions.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Please bear in mind that I am lying on my couch recovering from a cold/flu as I type this into my phone. I am no theologian – just an ordinary ponderer.

    Good article by Fr Longenecker Becks. Thanks. In his penultimate paragraph he says,

    “Lewis, Feser and Bessette argue for an objective standard of punishment– that the death penalty is permissible because certain heinous crimes cry out to heaven for the death of the offender. They argue that this has been the constant tradition of the church and Christian society down the ages.”

    There is however a difference between The Tradition of The Church which is the life giving presence of The Holy Spirit and the tradition of the church which is the line the Church has taken over time on certain issues. The Holy Spirit is the life giver, not the life taker, according to our creed.

    So The Tradition of the Church gives life, it does not take life. We really only have two examples of true revealed and proclaimed dogma in the Church – The Assumption and The Immaculate Conception. The requirements of faith in these are the only examples of true Dogma in the Catechism.

    St Maximillian Kolbe refers to the uncreated Immaculate Conception who is The Holy Spirit and the created Immaculate Conception – the one who is full of grace and thus the Mediatrix of all the graces of The Holy Spirit- his beloved Immaculata.

    Both are life givers: Mary is The Spouse of The Holy Spirit. St Paul describes the love in human marriage, in which two become one, as a reflection of Gods love for The Church. In her betrothal to the Holy Spirit therefore Mary became one with God. Jesus prayed to His Father that “they ALL may be one even as You and I are one.” His prayer was already answered in Mary.

    Jesus was a victim of capital punishment but his was an example of such a sentence being unavoidable if the will of the Father was to be served. The deaths of Christian martyrs throughout the centuries have followed His example.

    As I said in a previous comment the state executioner from the 20th century, Albert Pierrepoint, after carrying out the death penalty on more than 600 people concluded that its only true purpose was reveange and we all know to whom that belongs.

    I am about to go way off track so I will stop there.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your prayers PP and all. I am much better already. Last night I was able to join two good friends, my doctor and his wife, who made a delicious birthday dinner for me. Hopefully that will be all illness out of the way for my up-coming trip. Thanks be to God.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. All this talk about McCarrick has brought to mind the case of Keith O’Brien, disgraced Cardinal, whose outing devastated the faith and the faithful in Scotland. He resigned in February 2013.

    I first visited Garabandal in May 2013. There I met an elderly Scottish couple whose lives had been deeply disturbed by the scandal. I now see that O’Brien was rector of Blairs, a junior seminary near Aberdeen, between 1980 and 1985. I was a junior seminarian at Blairs in 1965-68. I later discovered that homosexuality was rife there but I was not aware of it in my time….unlike in my two years at senior seminary in London in the 80s when I reported it to the authorities. Cardinal O’Brien liked seminarians. Yuk.

    The word ‘occult’ means hidden. The sheepskin is the devil’s disguise of choice and hides the presence of the wolf in the culture of homosexuality.

    Keith O’Brien was born on St Patrick’s day 1938 in Armagh, N Ireland, near where my grandfather came from. Three years after he had been stood down he had another fall, this time a physical one, and died on March 19, the feast of St Joseph, patron of the Universal Church. Hopefully he was granted the grace of final recovery. My latest impression of the Church in Scotland is that she too is recovering. As ever, to recover from sin we have to uncover sin.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Pope Francis is clearly trying to change Church teaching. That’s an enormous problem. There is no point pretending otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems so, and tragic. This is confusing many good Catholics. People need to be exact in condemnation.And exact in laws and dogma and doctrine of Church teachings. McCarrik’s issues are not new, just indicative of these times. Must be excruciating for Holy Priests and our Blessed Mother.
      Remember to stand firm and focused on Christ our Savior. It will change soon enough. As promised by our Blessed Mother.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ah but, Robill, the issues surrounding the McCarrick revelation are HUUUUUUGE. Many of them never fully grappled with and worked through before. So greivous, and not the least of offenses, is the abuse of power and authority by the bishops to provide cover, thus enabling a McCarrick type to continue perpetrating darkness. May Our Lady’s Heart soon triumph completely. We have a lot of praying and working to do.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I worked in healthcare when sexual deviancy was largely considered psychiatric in nature and was treated as a mental illness/disorder in the late 1980’s. Toward the turn of the century and at the height of the priest scandal it was determined that pedophilia specifically could not be treated, period.
          Here we are in 2018 and because of Hollywood clan being outed; the usual suspects are trying to spin it as a perfectly normal sexual preference.
          The constant, drum beating exposure by the media over the years has been polar extremes. It is all too easy after all of the brainwashing to naturally pick and defend either side. What the real problems and solutions were, were not relevant as that would destroy the narrative. I remember many years ago, a representative for Cardinal Francis George in the Chicago Archdiocese said on a televised interview, and I paraphrase, “Just as the NFL was discovering that head injuries were the result of life altering medical issues in retired players and that the rules of the game and the head gear were being changed as a result, so too was the bishops responses to the sexual abuses in the church, once deemed treatable and later determined not. Measures are in place to deal with the outcome as more is being learned.”
          Well, if you are an *elite* of course none of this applies to you as it is perfectly normal and acceptable behavior.
          In my humble opinion, none of it is acceptable and we need to pray to understand that there are so many causal factors that have led us to where we are now that are far beyond our understanding. God knows all, let us accept that when we cannot be a voice of reason because some things are simply beyond our grasp, that we can and should always be voice of mercy, love and prayer. ❤

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Hi Jen, what I have discovered is most of psychology is divorced from faith. So when you take what is often a spiritual problem and solve it with non spiritual tools, it has little impact to fix the issue. Many sexual issues are as addictive as drugs. There is obsession, repression and even possession. Psychology comes up woefully short in solving these issues. Jesus said when the demon is chased out, it goes and gets seven more and the condition of that man is worse than before. What they do not understand is Jesus needs to fill the void. I say this from a theological perspective and from a first hand perspective as one who has been there. The freedom that Jesus brought me is unimaginable. I am very grateful. Jesus is my whole life now. Of course, the blessed Mother helped get me going in that direction. God bless you!

            Liked by 5 people

            1. Yes Doug, that is true to a large degree. In working in a medical facility that had a psych floor (when patients were allowed to smoke in their rooms and on the unit) and offered in and out patient care, I learned quickly that most mental health issues were conveniently not covered or given only limited coverage by most insurances, thus putting this population and society at unnecessary risks. Unfortunately, functional and loving families paid the highest price, imho. I have had many family members that suffered from a number of mental illnesses of varying degrees from clinical depression, to bi-polar, to an aunt who talked to Elvis (after he died) who was institutionalized, until the state and federal .govs removed even the meager resources available to treat the mentally ill by closing and eliminating focused mental health units and facilities all together. We have created a *monster* so to speak by ignoring these vulnerable and sadly easily manipulated populations. The medical reports clearly indicated to me that most of the diagnosed illnesses were rooted in a traumatic experience, genetic predispositions, and/or chemical imbalances due to outside influences that can be found in food, alcohol, and drugs.
              I am an avid reader of a blog written by Jon Rappoport who is a whistleblower in the medical field. He contends that the AMA and APA have been infiltrated to such a degree it is hard to imagine. I have experienced this first hand even in the 1980 and 90’s and it is only getting worse and worse as they don’t even pretend to hide it anymore. I recently read that Medical Peer Review and Ethics teams are trying to delist categorically some of the sexual deviancies from the mental health medical diagnoses, again to suggest that this is normal human nature. This is just information from my tiny corner of experience. Can you imagine all that has gone on and handed down for generations across the board?
              After 911, my young children at the time did not understand how Afghani children could be dancing in the streets. I had to explain how isolated they are from reality and how they are living what they have been sadly, inappropriately taught. I reassured them that God will not punish those who do not know better because they were misled. Our Almighty Father sees the big picture and knows what has formed His sons and daughters hearts and minds.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Wow, Jen– evil has infiltrated every corner of our culture it seems. I guess this uncovering is the storm at its fiercest. All we can do is NRS. Like we’re making our way through a dark room cautiously with little steps.

                Liked by 3 people

              2. “I reassured them that God will not punish those who do not know better because they were misled. Our Almighty Father sees the big picture and knows what has formed His sons and daughters hearts and minds.”

                True grace Jen. True grace….

                Liked by 1 person

              3. Thank you JLYNNBYRD. I also remember those days in health care and I remember the tears of the Mothers in the ER when children presented with mental health issues.

                Liked by 1 person

            2. Hi Doug. Sexual issues as addictive as drugs? No argument here. The counseling I’m receiving now is with a devout Catholic and an expert in his field, versed in both Christianity and the science of psychology. He’s well-armed. He’s also passionate about his work.

              Without the foundation of the Christian faith from which to provide counseling, secular psychologists are literally of no use to me. I’ve walked away from a couple of them because they don’t understand what it means to be Christian, particularly how we see life in terms of God, eternity, soul, and justice. They may either try to counter the faith as part of the problem or dismiss it entirely as an annoying variable or inconsequential. And, certainly, they never see Christianity as part of the solution!

              Thankfully, my “Catholic counseling” is going very, very well. Both Jim and I are invested in my healing and are enjoying the journey/struggle immensely. And boy, what a joy and a boost it is to begin each session saying a Hail Mary and invoking the Holy Spirit! 🙏

              Thanks, Doug!

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Amen Patrick! Many folks also miss the miraculous healing that God can bring. I say, have faith. Trust with all your heart and believe that God will heal and wants to heal and deliver in this area. There is hope. And when you fall, do not listen to the other voice that says “you will never get over this. Might as well just give in”. Ignore that voice and try again. God never tires of us coming back to him. Never!

                Liked by 2 people

        2. I am sure the McCarrick issue is one of many of this magnitude or worse. I read several years ago, about 18 years ago, of the enormous abuse and molestation of the youth in Australia in thelate 1800’s and early 1900s by a group of priest, assigned to take care of these children. It was, in fact the first time I became aware of this issue. However, it continued and went un-punished by the Church. Back then, we did not bring in the civil law, and supposedly used Church law and criteria, (swept under, as if a natural thing.) The reason McCarrick is so scandalous is the closeness of his relationship with the Pope. The pendulum must swing so far it can not swing that way any further, before we will begin to see change and balance. And in this swing, many good prelates and laity will suffer. For sometime, early on I cried often. How could my Church…God’s Church…our Church have fallen so low. And then, it got lower and lower and lower, still descending. Has not hit bottom, yet. If it had not been for Charlie, and some of his predictions and apparitions, I might not have such a hopeful slant on all this. It is obvious this world will become chaos, and we will have to stop and understand where we are standing. So keeping Christ in our hearts is as vital as all else we do. All Else! And realizing he is there, as is his Mother beside us. I have stopped telling my grandchildren all this,they are too busy being kids (and all hear from me is a droning.) I believe they will rise to the occasion when necessary. As we all must. Or perish. God bless you all, and take care and be safe.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. Please do not take what follows as a personal attack on you Louise. It is but the thoughts of one who has far to go.

      Does not all evolution involve change, Louise? Pope Francis has a Christ given mandate for change within the bounds of magisterial sanction. He is not trying to change Church teaching – he IS changing Church teaching. And it’s a change for good.

      The garment needed for entry to the wedding feast is still seamless but the cloth has been stretched to accommodate more.

      Revolution happens when a people realize that what they thought was written in stone is written on paper and in pencil. (See todays Gospel) The context of Petrine authority – binding and loosing – is deliberately couched in legal terminology. It facilitates change.

      No eternal truth or unchangeable teaching has been discarded or contradicted in the changed and clarified position on the death penalty. It even gives more consistency to those who battle for the sanctity of life at its beginning. Like I said – a seamless garment.

      As for being a distraction from the scandal of McCarrick etc if he had really given due regard to the sanctity of life he would not have destroyed the lives of so many and desecrated the life of The Church. As such it is a welcome distraction. St Teresa of Avila said that even the demons – the fallen angels-shield their eyes from sodomy. They remember the glory from which they fell and cannot face the choice they made.

      In this light I propose that the issues of sexual abuse by the clergy and the issue of the death penalty are not so separate as some think. Like any good parent Pope Francis is not obliged to explain every detail to his children. But ‘why’ is the childish call of protest and the authorative answer is ‘because I told you so.’

      In this case I believe Pope Francis is acting properly as Our Holy Father. But of course Louise that is only my opinion.

      I believe that, eventually, Evolution of Church teaching will result in Revolution and the great Apostasy when the Church will be cleansed of rebellion and defiance. The Truth shall set her free.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Does not all evolution involve change, Louise? Pope Francis has a Christ given mandate for change within the bounds of magisterial sanction. He is not trying to change Church teaching – he IS changing Church teaching. And it’s a change for good.”

        This is not true. I mean, he wants to change it but cannot. Such a change as you think he is making would also not be good.


    3. “Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.”
      Today’s 2nd reading. Goes with my reply to Louise.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A worthy perspective on the problem of, what this pastor calls, the active homosexual or homosexual activist in priests and bishops:

    (edit: Actually, so worthy, you won’t want to miss this perspective as it addresses some of the extensive range of issues which have driven the concealment of evil for so and too long.

    It also leads me to re-post a link. Honestly, of all the pieces I’ve read, I come back to review the measured, erudite, incisive and insightful writing of Catholic psychiatrist, Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Sean, for some reason the link didn’t work so I searched for a new one and replaced it with this working one. Thanks for the tip that part 2 has been printed.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you, both you and Sean for the part 2. I read part 1 yesterday at SpiritDaily and was horrified. The background on the whole Lavender Mafia is worse and more sinister than we realized. Hang in there all you loyal Catholics. As many have said, it has to get worse before it gets better. You can’t heal a disease/infection/gangrene etc. without seeing it and cutting out the bad part.

          May God bless and protect this priest, Father Palka! He must trust his bishop to write such an expose. I said a long, long time ago that I didn’t believe that a priest who is consecrated to the Blessed Mother could lead an evil life, such as what we see now, if he stays in Mama’s heart as we all must do.

          Liked by 4 people

      2. This is so sinister and it happens in political, corporate and secular populations too. Tragically I believe the long-term infiltration and perpetuation of this evil has been largely by design and does not reflect the hearts and souls of the majority of these segments of society. ❤

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Well, Beckita…my heart breaks over this, it is so incredibly sad that we must again address this issue. Although, it looks like this time it may really bring down the “house of cards.” I guess one can only hope…I feel so bad for the faithful who already are struggling in this crazy society we live in, not to mention the faithful Bishops and Priests.
      I went to Medjugorje five years ago, and one Priest I heard speak asked us to pray for purity in the priesthood.
      God’s Will be done💒

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It is a tough time, sheralyn. At the same time, there is great hope with light shining on what was formerly hidden. Praying we all are strengthened in faith that we will provide strength and encouragement for others.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thanks Doug! We are doing okay…ash is raining down today. The fires are a ways away, but the wind has blown a lot of smoke and ash into the valley.
          I will tell PF you said hello.
          God bless!

          Liked by 3 people

  16. Here is my Bishop’s (Albany NY Diocese) response to these ongoing scandals in the Church.

    Highlighted (below) is in my opinion an exactness of truth which needs to plainly spoken. It addresses issues beyond sexuality but of striving to be holy.

    “…I do not see how we can avoid what is really at the root of this crisis: sin and a retreat from holiness, specifically the holiness of an integral, truly human sexuality.

    In negative terms, and as clearly and directly as I can repeat our Church teaching, it is a grave sin to be “sexually active” outside of a real marriage covenant. A cardinal is not excused from what a layperson or another member of the clergy is not. A member of the clergy who pledges to live a celibate life must remain as chaste in his relationship with all whom he serves as spouses within a marriage. This is what our faith teaches and what we are held to in practice. There is no “third way.”

    “Sexual activity” includes grooming and seduction — the kind of experience that one of our brother priests tells of in a recent interview in America magazine that you may have seen. The psychological and spiritual destructiveness of such predatory behavior, really incestuous by a man who is held up as a spiritual father to a son in his care — even if not a minor — cannot be minimized or rationalized in any way. On that, it seems to me, we are experiencing an unusual unity amidst the many political and ecclesial tensions in our communities.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Sean: The bishop’s words were orthodox, following true Catholic teaching. However another question remains. Did he know of the Cardinal’s activities? Had the bishop heard rumors? Were there any indications that something was wrong which the bishop ignored?

      The activities of the Cardinal are horrific but a greater problem is how did he rise to such prominence when it appears his failings were something of an open secret? We confess to sinning by “what we did and what we failed to do”. It seems to me that there is a great deal of failing “to do:” going on just outside the usual view of the laity.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. JT and all,
        It is easy for us to ‘Monday morning quarterback’ these issues and place a critique on what may or may not have done. We all know this past century has been greatly influenced by the satana and his demons. We have all lived for thr greater part through this revolution of sexual activity and no one was immune. The key is to acknowledge this, forgive, let it go and move on. Tough I know. Now on to your question: what did the Bishop know and what did he do?

        Bishop Ed has a good handle on current event. He is a non-practicing attorney. I discovered this 2014 article and it is enlightening for me as each and every person quoted within I pray with, some on a daily basis. (The church pictures are from Our Lady of Hope Church Whitehall NY)

        This quote in the article addresses your question:

        “From 2002 to 2008, Scharfenberger was a member of the Diocesan Review Board for Sexual Abuse of Minors for the Brooklyn Diocese, charged with evaluating the way sexual abuse cases were handled. He and a committee determined whether an allegation was credible, then made recommendations to the bishop. During his last year on the board, he took on the role of Promoter of Justice and worked to protect and pursue individual and ecclesial rights in the church.

        Sharfenberger acknowledged there was a “lack of vigilance” in the past on the part of church officials to respond to allegations of sexual abuse. As far back as the 1970s, mental health professionals were suggesting perpetrators only needed counseling and reassignment to a new parish and all would be well, he said.

        Those were obviously, as you look back, not the right decisions to be made. Never again,” he said. “Now we urge the public, if they see something, to say something. To many of the victims, more than anything else, the most healing thing is just knowing that somebody is listening to them and takes them seriously.”

        Liked by 2 people

  17. I don’t see how anyone can’t be rocked to their core in these times we are going through. And it seems like it is not going to get better without it geting even worse first. But I still can’t get rid of this joyful hope that steels my resolve to acknowledge God and take the next right step. So I’m off to confession and praying for all my SOH family.

    Have a blessed feast of St.John Vianney !—a-model-for-priests-57699

    ♫ You could be better than you are, or would you rather be a fish

    Liked by 5 people

  18. I think it is interesting that this thread which Charlie initiated as an examination and critique and statement of disgust and outrage over the issue of sexual abuse by priests and bishops has morphed into a discussion of the abolition and “inadmissability” of the death penalty.

    Any way you look at it the Church has taken a sudden left turn in the middle of the hot chase of scandalous covering up of sexual abuse. Occasioned by the amazing outing of a distinguished American Cardinal Priest. Perhaps intended to facilitate a clean get away.

    This right here in this very thread on ASOH is an example of the use of the proverbial squirrel to defuse, distract, smoke screen and completely change the focus of attention.

    I have to say — Well done Vatican hierarchy. Well played.

    We are all talking about the death penalty today and not sexual abuse in the Church.

    I have to say what just happened coming out of the Vatican has me thoroughly confused.

    Here is the change in text authorized by Pope Francis in the wake of the McCarrick scandal. Mere hours after that scandal broke over the world:

    I take it that the position of the Church is that this just nudges the ball a bit. Like jumping up and down to get the golf ball to drop in the cup; i.e., the Church has always been on the cusp of declaring the death penalty to be “inadmissable” anyway. This move was in the works and just only coincidentally by a fluke was announced this week when all hell was breaking on sexual abuse.

    My confusion: Since there was ZERO preparation of the laity for this change in the Catechism, I don’t know what this change to the Catechism means to me and to the Church here in the U.S.

    1. The wording of the new Paragraph 2267 of the Catechism is all too typically churchy vague and wishy washy especially on the rationale supposedly supporting the change. Bold assertions with no proof. It’s a bit like climate change. You have to believe the assertions because we say so. These assertions:

    Bold Assertion No. 1: Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes.

    Bold Assertion No. 2: In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.

    Bold Assertion No. 3: Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

    My response to those three bold assertions is : Huh?, Huh? and Huh?

    Wordy empty BS if there ever was any. Sorry. Where’s the beef?

    2. The new “position” of the Church as amended in Paragraph 2267 is equally vague and from the perspective of the befuddled average pew sitter deliberately so. This inscrutable change in Church teaching is derived as a “Consequence” from the beefless bold assertions in the preceding paragraph.

    “Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide”.

    Inscrutable Wording No.1 : … In light of the Gospel … Huh? Can you point us where Jesus addressed this? Why didn’t the Pope shine the light on that part of the Gospel?

    Inscrutable Wording No. 2: “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” [1]

    Now, I don’t want to get too picky but this conclusion is internally inconsistent. Starts out by asserting that the change is a consequence of three bold but empty and flaccid assertions without a shred of supporting evidence and then points to a speech by Pope Francis in Footnote [1] as the basis for the change.

    [1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017.

    Some footnote. A profound change in the wording of the Catholic Catechism is defined by a papal speech.

    Click to access ING_2017_041_1310.pdf

    (Got to dig to Page 7 continuing on Page 11 to get to the quotation justifying the change to the Catechism.)

    Now as a “Traditional” Catholic I am a bit gobsmacked by Pope Francis’ speech on Oct. 11, 2017 which is the basis of this change to the Catechism. We are changing the Catechism to fit his view of the role of Tradition and for want of a better word “Progress’ or evolution of Church Doctrine. Church Doctrine in Francis’ view is subject to change depending on which way the wind is blowing. To me this has disturbing implications. Frankly, it scares me.

    The article in question even has a disturbing title:

    On the 25th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    A dynamic and living reality

    ““Tradition is a living reality”, and the “deposit of faith” cannot be regarded “as something static”
    nor “moth-balled like some old blanket in an attempt to keep insects at bay”, for “the word of
    God is a dynamic and living reality that develops and grows because it is aimed at a fulfilment
    that none can halt”. Pope Francis thus emphasized the natural progress and development of the
    Doctrine of the Church, as he spoke to those taking part in a meeting sponsored by the
    Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization on Wednesday evening, 11
    October, the 25th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The
    following is the English text of the Holy Father’s address.”

    it goes downhill from there.

    Maybe it’s just me but I am awfully leery of Doctrine based on dynamic and living “reality”.

    My assessment of this dynamic and living change of Church Doctrine or “teaching” is that it is based on a lot of Papal hot air and mumbo jumbo bold assertions.

    ….”Tradition is a living reality”… words of a Pope that kind of stops you in your tracks.

    3. Is this a change in the definitive dogma of the church? If so, what does that mean for us in the pews? Has Tradition evolved? What does “teaching” mean? Is it a sin to vote for a politician who supports the death penalty? What are the consequences for a Catholic supporting the death penalty?
    Will Catholics be excommunicated for support of the death penalty?

    Bottom line for me is that I find this new change baffling on a number of levels. And I think its hurried dumping on the faithful without any preparation or convincing explanation and of what it means for us individually — occurring in the immediate wake of the McCarrick scandal — is no coincidence.

    Discussion of sexual abuse at the highest levels of the hierarchy morphing into confusion on what a change to the Catechism means. All in the same thread.

    I call Squirrel! Well played. But ominous in its implications for the “perennial teaching” of the Church which now seems to be not so perennial. Depending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As for me, I can pay close attention to two things at once: Francis’s attempt to change doctrine; and the sex abuse crisis. I’m just making this observation. If bad men in the Vatican think we cannot consider two things at once, they are mistaken.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Ed,
      Please allow me to add:
      Vatican II, Constitution on Divine Revelation states, “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the Word of God which is committed to the Church.” (10) And, “Sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s Word, which was entrusted to the Apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.” (9)

      “Consequently,” the Constitution of Divine Revelation says, “it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore, both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to BE ACCEPTED AND VENERATED WITH THE SAME SENSE OF DEVOTION AND REVERENCED.”(10) (My emphasis in caps)

      It breaks my heart to state, according to the above, Pope Francis needs to be challenged and corrected by the Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, St. Thomas, St. Augustine and the College of Bishops on his view that Sacred Tradition is “dynamic and living.” The Catholic Church has had it right for 2000 years!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My hope is that the Pope is referring to the development of fully understanding the teachings of Christ. Development does not mean evolution. SO much of dogma and doctrine has not been defined for 2000 years. Its fullness was certainly deposited in the Scriptures and Tradition. But we didn’t get it all at once. It has pleased God that the development of fully understanding and defining dogma and doctrine has been a process engaged under the Light of the Holy Spirit.

        Here’s a great explanation which begins: “The Catholic Church holds that our Lord Jesus Christ delivered one apostolic deposit to His apostles, and that it hasn’t changed in terms of essence or substance. The Catholic Church preserves it, and is its guardian. But there is a growth in depth of clarity, in the understanding of those truths, without essential change.”

        Full article:

        Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s all well and good Beckita. But it sounds awfully Episcopalian or even Lutheran to me.

          Change. Evolution. Progression. Development.

          Personally, I don’t do change very well. I am uncomfortable with change especially with respect to my religion.

          It’s interesting that the article you linked to starts with a reference to John Henry Cardinal Newman.
          “Blessed John Henry Newman’s intensive study of the development of doctrine eventually led him to the Catholic Church.”

          I once did a heavy study of John Henry Newman and read a lot of his writing. Newman appeals to me because he came to the Church through his head and not his heart. Intensive study. That almost killed him.

          Newman was a genius. Off the chart IQ. He rose to the top echelon of the Anglican Church and was rector of the Anglican Church at Oxford. He was consumed by the issue of how do we know the Truth? In particular, he was concerned that what the Anglican Church was teaching in his own time was what the Early Church in Christ’s time believed and held to be the Truth.

          He went to Germany and studied the oldest texts available from the Church fathers. Got sick in the process. Nearly died. Came to the conclusion that the Anglican Church was heretical. That the Papists were adhering most closely to what the early Church believed.

          That personal epiphany compelled him in conscience to abandon the Anglican Church and join the — gulp! — Papists.

          Newman recognized a problem in the transmission of Truth from generation to generation. The problem he described is likened to the parlor game where everybody sits in a circle and the first player whispers a message into the ear of the person sitting on his right and that person whispers the message into the ear of the person on his right and so on all around the circle.

          By the time the message comes around to the first player the message is a garbled mess.
          Truth is lost over time by the changes or “development” or “evolution” of the message. The message gets lost in the transmission.

          Newman described the relationship of what he called Natural Religion to Revealed Religion.

          The focus of Revealed Religion is the person of Jesus. The story of the person of Jesus and the Truth of the Revelation stemming from his incarnation, life and death and resurrection can get lost from generation to generation just like the parlor game. Thus the Truth resides in the Gospels. All else is commentary. The Acts of the Apostles falls under this category. Every time the message passes through “mere commentary” the Truth of Revealed Religion is subject to degradation.

          “The life of Christ brings together and concentrates truths concerning the chief good and the laws of our being, which wander idle and forlorn over the surface of the moral world, and often appear to diverge from each other.

          ….. And hence will follow an important difference in the moral character formed in the Christian school, from that which Natural Religion has a tendency to create. The philosopher aspires towards a divine principle; the Christian, towards a Divine Agent….

          …..At such pains is Scripture, on the other hand, to repress the proud self-complacency just spoken of, that not only is all moral excellence expressly referred to the Supreme God, but even the principle of good, when implanted and progressively realized in our hearts, is still continually revealed to us as a Person, as if to mark strongly that it is not our own, and must lead us to no preposterous self-adoration….

          …..It may be observed, that this method of personation (so to call it) is carried throughout the revealed system….

          …..The body of faithful men, or Church, considered as the dwelling-place of the One Holy Spirit, is invested with a metaphorical personality, and is bound to act as one, in order to those practical ends of influencing and directing human conduct in which the entire system may be considered as originating. And, again, for the same purpose of concentrating the energies of the Christian body, and binding its members into close union, it was found expedient, even in Apostolic times, to consign each particular church to the care of one pastor, or bishop, who was thus made a personal type of Christ mystical, the new and spiritual man; a centre of action and a living witness against all heretical or disorderly proceedings…..

          …….Further, the same view suggests to us the peculiar perverseness of schism, which tends to undo the very arrangement which our Lord has made, for {33} arresting the attention of mankind, and leading them to seek their true moral good; and which (if followed to its legitimate results) would reduce the world to the very state in which it existed in the age of the heathen moralist, so familiar to us in this place, who, in opening his treatise, bears witness to the importance of a visible Church, by consulting the opinions of mankind as to the means of obtaining happiness; and not till disappointed in sage and statesman, the many and the educated, undertakes himself an examination of man’s nature, as if the only remaining means of satisfying the inquiry….

          …..Hence it appears that the Gospels are the great instruments (under God’s blessing) of fixing and instructing our minds in a religious course, the Epistles being rather comments on them than intended to supersede them, as is sometimes maintained. Surely it argues a temper of mind but partially moulded {35} to the worship and love of Christ, to make this distinction between His teaching and that of His Apostles,…

          …..It is the Incarnation of the Son of God rather than any doctrine drawn from a partial view of Scripture (however true and momentous it may be) which is the article of a standing or a falling Church….

          …..And hence the Apostles’ speeches in the book of Acts and the primitive Creeds insist almost exclusively upon the history, not the doctrines, of Christianity; it being designed that, by means of our Lord’s Economy, the great doctrines of theology should be taught, the facts of that Economy giving its peculiarity and force to the Revelation….

          Now how does all this relate to Pope Francis?

          I had a very good friend who was a retired architect now deceased. About 10 years ago our parish undertook a major building project to provide additional space for parish activities. One day upon completion of the project my friend and I were sitting in his pickup truck in the parish parking lot contemplating the results of the new edifice. One distinct aspect that struck us both as we peered up at the building was a very sharply peaked roof resembling that of a gothic cathedral. This was superimposed on a second floor basketball court and meeting hall. I observed to my friend that gothic peaked roof was a waste of space. I’ll never forget my friend’s response.

          “It’s a monument to the architect.”

          My fear is that much of what Pope Francis is trying to accomplish is a mere monument to the architect.
          Newman warns against getting away from the history and the Gospel and getting lost in the weeds of personal commentary. Particularly worrisome is doctrinal innovations based on passing fads of human opinion…

          bearing witness by consulting the opinions of mankind as to the means of obtaining happiness;

          Read the article referred to in Footnote [1] again and that language in the new Paragraph 2267 again. To me the message is garbled. And I don’t know what to whisper into the next player’s ear. I am afraid I am hearing and reading a message which is a monument to the architect.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. My use of the word “development” is to say the Biblical truths are implicitly there in their fullness, yet, the Church’s theologians have, especially in the beginning, had to meet in councils to explicate that fullness of meaning, looking for the precise words which explain the mysteries. For this reason the first 300-400 years in the Church were difficult, says my resident theologian and canon lawyer. I seek his knowledge and counsel at times like this because I can readily get in over my head in many matters of theology.

            As one example of developing understandings of our faith, initially we as Church had not a clear understanding of the Trinity. I am aware that the first 6 (maybe 7) councils were filled with discussions and prayer, working to develop the teachings on the Holy Trinity. Even then, the clearest teachings came much later at the Council of Trent. In my use of the word development, then, this is to say we didn’t get the understandings plunked into our midst. Those understandings were developed over time.

            For now, I’ve read both criticisms and approvals of Pope Francis’ change to the CCC. I continue to read, watch and listen as I know there will much more contemplation and discussion concerning this change. May Holy Spirit guide us all through this time.

            Liked by 5 people

        2. Hi Becks once again the rarified interpretation of words raises its rather important head. The body of Christ evolves as its understanding developes. Understanding, of course, is a gift of The Holy Spirit, the life giver. As in all good evolution, changes occur in order to enhance survival. Mutation does not enhance. Spiritually speaking evolution halts where transformation starts. The Bread of Life acclimatises us to supernatural life: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you cannot have life eternal in you.” In communion we are transformed not evolved. Despite the claims of Darwinian enthusiasts in nature there are no proven cases of interspecific evolution, only intra-specific: nothing between species only within a species. Mutation is not evolution. The Body of Christ does not evolve be taking on the characteristics of other species – other bodies of faith. The Catholic Church is whole and entire unto itself in its membership and in its understanding – in its love. It is only in love – personified by Christ crucified – that we can develope in understanding and evolve to the point of transformation as we share in the transubstantiation of Eucharist and become one with The Creator. In regard to human evolution the missing link is precisely that – missing – it is not there. Just as the sacred species undergoes transubstantiation so do we share in that transfirmation. The link in this case is Christ Himself, evidentially present in fact and faith (eg by Eucharistic muracles) to His Body The Church. Thus as a body we can be seen to have both evolved from a primitive understanding to a full realization as we move from a glass darkly to a face to face revelation of Truth. Put simply we become more and more Christ-like as we put our Faith into action pick up our cross in the service of God and man and follow Him. “Make me like a precious stone, crystal clear and finely honed, Light of Jesus shining through, giving glory back to You.” I want to know and be known. In the old testament when the marriage parties made love they were said to ‘know’ each other. I don’t want to stay a neanderthal – I want to be made new.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Francis has clearly attempted to change doctrine 180 degrees. God has permitted us to have a bad Pope for some reason.


    3. ST Ed, I find your comment quite interesting. Two unintended(??) consequences that spring to my mind:

      1) “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” sounds very close to the privacy right found in Roe v Wade. Even a little bit of doubt about whether a new fetus is or is not quite a person yet, and suddenly the Church has accepted a little bit of abortion and validated Roe.

      2). A living tradition sounds a whole lot like the Progressive formula of a living Constitution, and we know how well that works.

      I don’t much care about church buildings or the Vatican bank or any of the other and myriad encrustations the Church now carries around. To me one item that matters about the Church is the deposit of knowledge and wisdom the Church has so painstakingly and carefully developed and which has become the underpinnings of the best of the Western Tradition which has given the world so much. To reformulate that deposit is one of the Church’s primary duties. To reformulate the *process* in a way consistent with Progressivism’s unanchored process to do or think as thou wilt seems to me to open the Church to a terrible risk. For the Pope to do this with so little consultation seems to me to be a confirmation of such a shift.

      Process matters. The Church needs to respect and hold to the *anchored* process it has held itself to for 2,000 years.

      When it comes to the deposit of faith et al, I’m just a little guy. Nonetheless, my little opinion is that the Pope needs strong filial correction not just on his position but even more so on his process.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Great minds think alike Steve.

        … When it comes to the deposit of faith et al, I’m just a little guy. Nonetheless, my little opinion is that the Pope needs strong filial correction not just on his position but even more so on his process….

        Bingo! We have a winner.

        It seems to me that Pope Francis’ “process” is a confusing rush to judgement based on his own personal biases or preferences.

        The Catechism has been changed to reflect his own personal bias against the death penalty. I don’t know what he is planning on climate change. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t show up as a new paragraph in the Catechism reflecting “generally accepted science.” Just sayin’. We know he is toying with the Lord’s Prayer. Amazing. He is manifestly anti-capitalism. This arising from his own personal experience growing up in Argentina with its corrupt version. Is some anti-capitalist screed headed for the Catechism as well? And we all know he doesn’t like fences. Is Open Borders headed for the Catechism?

        I just don’t know. But I am worried.

        All of this Pope Francis “process” in the name of fully apprehending and developing the “deposit of faith and Tradition” is alarming to me. The “process” appears to me to be less about developing greater understanding of Tradition than it is about upending it and imprinting the personal views of a Pope into Church doctrine.

        My wife is a convert. She came to the church firstly because she was drawn to the Eucharist. Secondly, she was dismayed by the way Protestant denominations swayed to and fro depending on the au courant cultural winds. She felt she was standing on shaky ground. She was attracted by the fact that the Catholic Church was slow to change.

        Under Pope Francis the Church is not so slow to “change” or “evolve” or “develop” anymore. And the Transformation of doctrine is done without the councils or the input of the faithful. It is done by summary executive decision. Some might call it “leadership inspired by the Holy Spirit”. Others might call it something else.

        I will grant to the Pope that he is well intended. That he is trying to accomplish good as he sees it. But sometimes, as is the case for the rest of us, the pursuit of good intentions can wreak havoc in the result.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. STE, I believe with all my heart that God will preserve the faith as intended. He will send the right saint at the right time. He made a promise to Peter and I am sticking with it. I have too believe he will preserve the faith. Where else can we turn?

          Liked by 5 people

      2. Couldn’t agree more, Steve. But really, a strong filial correction? You mean like the last one that’s still collecting dust somewhere if not already in the circular file? I won’t be holding my breath.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Very good insight . First, the idea to change something in our Church’s Catechism I don’t think can just be done. The Catechism is derived from teachings of Scripture and Doctrine of the Church. Both of which is Truth and unchangeable. Truth cannot be changed, it is not ‘timely’ and the late John Vennari Five Deadly Errors, (Catholic Family News) did about an hour lecture a few years back on this very subject. Life Site News has an article by Robert de Mateii “Whoever says death penalty is evil in itself ‘falls into heresy’: Church historian. Church teaching and understanding. August 3, 2018. Great article.
      As we all realize, we have now sent many more into greater confusion. Yesterday it was ok, now today it is not…tomorrow, who knows. Not how it is done. It begins to snowball. So the masses scatter. It has all become obvious, and so many are not looking up. “Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls. And they said: we will not walk.” Jer 6:16

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Fr. Palka is just one of the first, of many – I pray, who will come forward and “Tell It Like It Is” in the coming months. A Great Outing that must occur if The Church is to survive as was intended. I’ll rant again that the same Lavender Marxists that hijacked Vatican II 50 years ago are the very same sort who have hijacked the Democrat Party ( & Global godless Left)…… and as we have seen in the past two years, become ever more fringe radical, intolerant of other views and violent. Likewise The Usual Suspects in the Church. Both the Church and Secular Radicals thought that their “Victory” was at hand. Their nasty radicalism and dirty tricks (Intimidation, Blackmail, Spin-n-Smear campaigns and threats of worse had …. all with the collusion of a Fellow-Traveler “Media”….. that evil golden ring almost within reach …….. then along came Trump. The proverbial Bull in the China Shop. “Apple Carts” upended and “Rice Bowels” a-flying. This one guy has invigorated, emboldened and given hope to secular and religious Patriots alike … here and abroad. I’d like to read a honest, factually correct and scholarly history about this period written in a 100 years or so. “The Rebirth of a Republic and Renewal of Christendom” or something close would be the kind of title I’d Pray for! 😉


    PS: I still think that Pope Francis is chosen by God for this time …. but to be the Judas character in this 21st Century Divine Play. His latest anti-death penalty proclamation is just another pander to the Left. The same Left that is all for saving lives except in the womb … and sickly Old Folks ….. and another “Stick in the Eye” to conservatives …. Christian and Secular….. stirring up more division, distraction and confusion … just as he has done since his arrival to the Vatican.
    God Wills It so I don’t worry!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Had Pope Francis continued in the usual {Pontifical} manner, none of these arguments would have risen. His seemingly take on the ‘middle of the road’ approach with an all inclusive view, allowed those passionate individuals to express viewpoints hidden and/or subverted previously. He has allowed those to declare allegiance to a point of thought and had a discussion. In essence, are we all not better educated now having researched the facts, had lively discussions and discerned the truth?

      Beyond the hijacking (this thread) news articles about his view on the Death Penalty. Perhaps he is trying to address a bigger issue:
      revere “life from conception to natural death”. Is this not what all “pro-lifers” declare?

      Liked by 2 people

  20. In college I wrote a paper on Capital Punishment and from what I learned from reading books by Jack Levine, detailing criminals of the 20th century, is that Capital Punishment is not a deterrent.

    I always deferred to the church on its application. In a way, it is similar to war but not the same. I always felt that it takes away time from repentance. Although some would never repent.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. As true today, as ever, is this quote from St. John Vianney, patron of pastors and whose feast it is today. Let us resolve to continue praying for all priests: the broken, the sick, the holy and strong. Our Church will rise again in glorious splendor. She will!

    St. John Vianney, remain close to every priest, calling all heavenly intercessors to join you – as do we – in praying for each and every one *and* in praying for the laity to grow in holiness via TNRS. We were born for this. Amen.

    Liked by 9 people

  22. I am opposed to the death penalty because of the teaching of Pope JPII and Pope Benedict XVI. It took me awhile to come to this position. As it turns out, being against capital punishment helps me to deflate the arguments that are thrown my way by abortion rights activists.

    But the Catechism did not need to be changed concerning the death penalty. The language in the CCC against capital punishment is already very strong — “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” This is a quote from JPII’s encyclical “EVANGELISM VITAE”.

    It is my belief, and I hope I’m wrong, that this change regarding the death penalty is not really about the death penalty per se. I think some of the Pope’s advisors are making a strategic move to set a precedent which will enable them to edit the Catechism’s language that they disagree with. For example Father James Martin has suggested that the phrase “intrinsically disorder” regarding homosexual acts be changed to “differently ordered”. While Martin is not a close advisor to Pope Francis, I believe that there are high level advisors to the Pope who think along these lines. God forgive me if I’m wrong.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Praying, Frank, that there’s not an ulterior motive such as you’ve suggested. I have read many writers who share this concern. Trying to up my fasting times based on the scripture that some demons are only cast out by prayer *and* fasting. One thing’s for certain: every.prayer.matters.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. “every.prayer.matters.”

        Amen. I spoke on this before, we live in an era of great grace aplenty. Today’s homily our Pastor spoke of a saying from Saint Mother Theresa; whereas in India a hunger exists among people the same hunger exists here in America but of a Spiritual Hunger. He advised to reach out of our comfort zone and open your heart to another about the Faith you have in God.

        In these times, I have turned to definitevely obtain a Plenary Indulgence, though I am trying not to be selfish, but to offer it to a Holy Soul in Purgatory who needs it more.

        Liked by 3 people

  23. I have to state my biases first and foremost. I was a public defender long ago, shortly after graduating law school. I only stayed in that position for close to three years but it taught me much about the justice system and life.

    I have taught criminal law and constitutional law for over thirty years at a junior college which has a program offering classes to future police officers, parole officers and prison guards.

    I fully believe that there are some crimes which deserve death as a punishment. Certain crimes are so brutal, so anti-life, so depraved. as to indicate that the perpetrator needs to be removed from this life for the protection of society.

    However, I have never heard of a society, including our own, that I would trust with the power to determine who should live and who should die. I would refer you to the Innocence Project and to the history of the death penalty in the state of Illinois. There have been many times, even in our system in the United States, which probably gives criminal defendants more rights and opportunities to avoid the imposition of penalties than most systems in the world, where the system has convicted and sentenced to death innocent people.

    Timing of the announcement and motive for its promulgation aside, I fully support Pope Francis in his opposition to the death penalty. We are fallible humans. Our societies and our justice systems are fallible. It is all too easy to sentence a person to death who does not deserve to die. If there is a doubt. and there will always be a doubt, we must chose life, even if we are wrong in specific situations. Death is ultimate, unchangeable and un-revocable if we are wrong. In situations where we could be in error we must chose life.


    Liked by 6 people

    1. JT, I am *wholly* in agreement with you in considering CP for individual or small-group crimes. However, it is not true that all convictions for crimes carry doubt. I think the previous definition the Church used was accurate, that CP can be used in a moral fashion in certain very limited cases. When the leader of a country turns the machinery of his state to cow his country’s citizens or the citizens of other countries through deliberate use of mass murder, there is no chance of false conviction. Hitler is the poster boy for exactly such a situation and he would have remained a toxic evil influence on his nation and a great risk to the world if he had been captured, convicted, and imprisoned.

      The following people would certainly qualify for this limited use: Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Pol Pot, Mao, Saddam Hussein. Each had millions of supporters who would have worked to get their Beloved Leader restored to power. If the oppressed citizens were to choose to accept that risk and commute that leader’s sentence to life imprisonment, my hat would be off to them. However, I think it might actually be immoral of me to tell those citizens they cannot morally execute such a leader if they felt that leader and his movement remained an active danger to them and their country if he were only imprisoned.

      Let’s assume you and I were together on the panel of judges trying a living Hitler in Nuremberg. On my part, I believe I would have viewed him and his movement as still murderously dangerous. I would probably have viewed imprisoning him as an immoral act that would leave millions of people at substantial risk of injury or death in the future. I likely would have voted to execute him and then cremate his body and scatter his ashes somewhere in the Atlantic so his followers would have no shrine. I’m genuinely curious: What would you have decided?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I believe JT – there will always be a doubt – maybe not about the crime but about the culpability. How can we know the true mental state of anyone? How can we see the deep wounds of the heart? How can we know the full history of a soul? How can we know the physical effect of trauma long suppressed? Yes there will always be a doubt. The law applies the standard of reasonable doubt but faith goes beyond reason. His ways are not our ways and the life of faith is the more abundant life. He is The Way, The Truth and The Life and no one can come to the Father but by Him – not by the judgement of human Law. There will always be doubt and we can always give the benefit of the doubt which in this respect is Life.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Steve– I agree with you– I hate capital punishment, but there could be extreme situations where it is called for, although I feel they would be very rare. It troubles me that the Catechism has been changes as it had. Very peculiar– especially the timing.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Wow JT. I love watching and listening to those such as you who are so fluent in their fields. Thank you for sharing your powers of reduction and deduction.

      Timothy Evans, Ruth Ellis (whose family suffered 4 suicides after her execution – now there’s Satan) and Derek Bentley hanged at the age of 19 years in 1953, the year of my birth, come to mind. The dreadful details of their cold blooded, calculated executions, beggars belief.

      Going back further in time, the law of the day would have executed the gospel woman caught in adultery. Did Jesus hand her over to the law? No, and neither do I.

      God bless Pope Francis; knowing the attacks he would suffer he still witnessed to the truth given to him, just as he always has done in his drive to reeducate and reform the psyche of the faithful. By no stretch of the imagination could this be seen as an underhand attempt to distract from scandals in the Church.

      As he says, there will be no reform of the reform. This latest developement is part of that permanent reform. “Ever changing from glory to glory, mirrored there may our lives tell Your story.” May Your people ever evolve in the developement of Your Divine plan.

      Remember the old days when films and photos were developed? We are made in the image and likeness of God and under the developing fluid of Pope Francis this reflection is brought ever more into clearer definition.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. JT, regarding my comment above, I have been unequivocally against the death penalty since the papacy of JPII. I am against it for any and all reasons. Because I find the current language of the Catechism on the matter to be strongly against capital punishment (although it leaves the smallest of loopholes) I have some concern regarding the motive for the change. If my concern is cynical and / or judgmental, I repent. But again, I have been against the death penalty for years. I am also against all forms of torture including waterboarding.

      Liked by 4 people

  24. SteveBC: An excellent question. I would love to say that I would have stood by my beliefs and made a bold statement to the court that even someone as evil as Hitler, whose crimes were innumerable, should not be executed. Having studied a little of Jordan Peterson’s work on how people react in social/political situations, I have to admit that I would have most likely followed the ascendant views of the day (just as millions of otherwise not evil Germans were caught up in Hitler’s insanity) and would have voted for death. As I stated in my earlier comment I do believe there are crimes for which a person rightly deserves to die.

    The examples you set forth are seriously important. The world has seen far too many evil leaders, mad with power, imposing hideous suffering on humanity. The Book of Revelation tells us we are going to face at least one more, and this one will make all the others look like children at play.

    In some respect your question strikes me as similar to the pro-abortionists constant challenge of “What if a minor is raped and becomes pregnant? Do you make her carry the baby to term?” A horrific scenario. A real scenario. The lives of two children are in the balance. This question is laid at the feet of the pro-life movement exactly because it is so difficult to answer. There is no good resolution. All the choices are difficult choices. My own view is that unborn child, regardless of the manner of its conception, is a life. We must do everything in our earthly capabilities to support, uphold and help bring healing to the mother but the solution is not to terminate the life of the unborn.

    While it is a real question, about real situations, it is also a question arguing from the extreme. Most abortions have nothing to do with this situation. However, those who support legal abortion for any reason attempt to use this extreme example as a way to make us back down from our position that abortion is evil. They use it as a wedge to attempt to move us away from our position. Their hope is that if they can move us one millimeter they have begun break down our defenses.

    Steve, please do not take the last paragraph as applying to you. I know that unlike the pro-choice folks, your question to me is sincere. As I said beginning this post, it is an excellent question. In the best Socratic method, it forces me to re-examine my position, to clarify my thoughts on the matter and defend what I say I believe.

    It is however, still arguing from the extreme. The death penalty is only rarely applied to the leaders of nations, empires and mass movements. The day to day reality is that the death penalty is applied in many places almost without a second thought. It is also true that wealthy athletes and rock stars can use their money and prestige to avoid the death penalty, or other punishment. The poor, not having the means to stand up to the power of the state, are often railroaded into pleas and convictions and punishments that are not just, sometimes even the death penalty.

    If death penalty exists it will be utilized. As much as we say it will be reserved for a tiny minority of criminals, the urge to expand it to other situations will arise again and again. The legal systems of the world are too corrupt to trust with such power, even in the face of unspeakable evil.

    In some ways, particularly in the situations you posit in your question, the death penalty is too easy. Hitler, Stalin, Mao did not rise to power and institute tyranny over the masses by themselves. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people were complicit in the careers of these evil men. Why did that happen? How did the millions of people they terrorized not stand up and resist? As Christians and Catholics, we know that satanic forces were undoubtedly involved. Even so, how did the millions of good people allow these demons to take control of societies, nations and empires?

    Killing the dictators can provide an easy scapegoat for what are truly society wide problems. It is very convenient to claim that these horrible regimes were all about the man at the top and that killing him has resolved our problems. I would suggest that the problems are much, much deeper than that. If we do not address those problems we can kill off dictators in rapid succession and others will only rise to take their place.

    So after a very long post, my answer is that I would not apply the death penalty even for the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

    If I am wrong in this belief I pray the Holy Spirit opens my mind and gives me eyes to see. I have been wrong before, and God will undoubtedly, until the day I leave this earth, continue to show me where my thoughts are incorrect.

    Thank you again for the question, Steve. I hope my answer was worthy of the challenge. In God’s peace we can agree to disagree and still be brothers.


    Liked by 5 people

    1. JT, thank you for your very thoughtful answer. I would like to make a few points.

      First, your inclusion of the abortion argument is in my eyes a ‘straw man’ false argument. Anyone who believes the fetus in that situation is a child (as I do) could never consider visiting the punishment due the rapist on the innocent one.

      Second, in my comments a few weeks ago on CP, I made very clear that nobody who is *not* the leader of a country should ever be subjected to CP. As you say above, whether there is doubt about the crime or not, a ‘little’ bit of CP *will* spread. I am deeply concerned about recent remarks by Trump and many others that pedophiles should be executed. Modi in India has already begun this. I reject it wholly.

      Third, I believe that past practices related to removing a bad leader and letting him off easy are the wrong approach. Charlie and I differ on this point. I believe we as The People (in any country) need to make it abundantly clear that someone who becomes the leader of a country *will* absolutely be held accountable for his conduct as leader, and if he engages in mass murder, he may be subjected to CP.

      Fourth, my formulation of CP for such a leader involves a requirement on the judges or the jury. If the use of CP is solely backward-looking, I believe its imposition should be rejected. Only if the judges believe the leader remains a murderous threat, should CP be imposed as an ongoing act of self-defense to protect a still-threatened community. Since a leader can only carry out mass murder through the acts of his immediate direct reports, I believe if the leader is subjected to CP, his direct reports should also be considered for CP as well, for the same reasons.

      Note that I would lean against even this use of CP. However, I don’t believe I can morally deny its use by a people when it can reasonably be considered a legitimate and considered act of self-defense, as I believe it would have been in Hitler’s case, if he had been captured and tried at Nuremberg. For that reason alone, I cannot find it in me to judge the judges at Nuremberg for imposing CP on certain of his direct reports as being morally incorrect.

      Charlie has told us that we must learn to “judge righteous judgment.” I don’t believe it is moral to eliminate CP from the list of judgments available to humans. However, I believe it is a deep moral requirement to develop clear objective rules for its use, so that it is available only in the most extremely limited number of cases.

      I believe Pope Francis has gone too far and is at best on shaky moral ground. He is there at least in part because he did not follow normal and proper Church process. You and I should not be having to debate this after the fact. For that reason alone he should walk this decision back and start over.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Steve: One point on which we do agree has to do with self-defense. In my lawyer brain the death penalty and self defense are different things even though the subject of the action can end up equally dead in both cases.
        Defense of self and others, when an attacker engages in possibly fatal actions, is in my mind a justified act, even if deadly force must be used to stop the attack. Looking at an evil leader such as Hitler or Mao as posing a threat of life and health to their people, would in my mind justify the people in defending themselves. I suppose that would be true even if such a leader had been captured and subdued but kept insisting that given the opportunity they would go back to their murderous ways. I had never thought about such situations in this way but having now considered it I think you are correct.
        As concerns the timing and manner of the Pope’s announcement on this topic, I have to confess that I am quite ignorant of the process of how these things are done. The changes do seem rather sudden and out of the blue but beyond that I do not have the knowledge to judge.

        Good discussion. God bless.


        Liked by 2 people

        1. I see it very similarly JT. I do not dwell too much on this because it is used so infrequently today in this country. To me the bigger fish to fry is abortion. Blessings to you!

          Liked by 1 person

  25. The death Penalty is perfectly just when administered justly in a rightly ordered state for heinous crimes, such as paedophilia. I can think of one cardinal who should be hanged.


  26. I just saw this on Joseph Sciambra’s blog. I read this after expressing my concerns above.

    “On August 3, 2018, the Catholic LGBT ministry Out at St. Paul (OSP), located at the Paulist Fathers motherhouse of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in New York City, posted the following message to their official Facebook page:

    Yesterday, Pope Francis declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. It shows us that Catholic teaching can and does change over time (or, “develop,” using theological terminology). Pope Francis specifically called for the language in the catechism to be altered. He has the power to recognize other “developments” in doctrine as well.

    This is why we push for the language about LGBTQ people in the catechism to change. We are not, and have never been, “intrinsically disordered.” It is time for the Church to listen to LGBTQ believers and recognize the harm that its official doctrine has caused to millions of people around the world.”

    Again folks, I have been unequivocally against the death penalty in all situations. I just felt that the current language in the CCC concerning the death penalty is very strong. I am concerned that a precedent is being set whereby language concerning other matters will be changed.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’ve been doing a frequent check in at Joseph’s blog, Frank, because I think he has good perspective on the issues surrounding the McCarrick problems. He also is sounding the alarm concerning clergy in the Church who continue to allow Church events and property to become a platform for pushing deviant sexual activity.

      I clearly see your concern as stated. For me, what is not yet settled among Catholics – and I mean those with depth and breadth in theology – is whether or not Pope Francis could and should have made the CCC change concerning CP… and as I’ve previously stated I am one, like you, having read Pope St. John Paul II’s reasoning, remain against CP

      As for the quotes mentioned in the article you share, I see the anti-Gospel agenda pushers jumping on the coattails of the new change and doing so to promote their goals. The onus for their error in doing this is on them.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. There is so much going on and far too much for me to read. I find myself skimming articles at times just to get the gist – it can be a dangerous way! I end up making aspirations and putting the pieces and comments aside. One thing struck me recently: in Luisa Piccarreta’s Hours of the Passion we find it hard to read the truth that the Father said “crucify Him”, His Blessed Mother said “crucify Him”, we say “crucify Him” in our desire for salvation. But we also perform the Capital Punishment each time we sin seriously. Jesus Himself desired it out of love and if it be His Father’s Will. And we are made in the image and likeness of God. Maybe this does not relate one iota to the Church’s teaching on CP but it gives me more than enough to think of for the moment. Lord, give me your strength to climb Calvary!

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Hi Becks
        As you know, I am not one with depth and breath in theology but I take heart from the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:25-30 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

        Jesus Thanks His Father
        “25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

        In a similar way I believe we can thank our Holy Father for revealing more of Jesus to us, not adding more to public revelation, but restoring original light and colour and detail to The Faith in the way that an expert restores a masterpiece. The detail was always there only now we can see it.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. That’s what I’m seeing, Beckita. I wonder what the Lavender Mafia and all who push the gay agenda are thinking now, with the surge in anger over what is being uncovered. It’s like our US politics. Will it lead to devastating strife as those with evil intent see their foothold possibly weakening?

        Liked by 3 people

      4. The DP is obviously the sovereign right of nations.
        Spiritually the church will always teach for the common good and seek to establish the fullness of truth in every generation. Some of the arguments here are about when a “truth” has been decided that it is definitive and therefore unchangeable. I don’t think we have reached the point of saturation in truth yet since the comment by St John (John 21:25) about the things Jesus did, if written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written, establishes the essence of why our “evolution” in this matter is ongoing- we aren’t there yet folks.
        Aquinas himself, after a short vision, even wanted all his (above quoted) theology to be thrown out as “straw” since it paled in comparison to the divine genius he experienced during his vision.
        It is important for us to remembered that THIS Magesterium has the same authority as any PAST Magesterium. One dies not trump another in its authority. Jesus gave them this authority and He Himself claims it’s binding effect in heaven.
        Jesus even claimed Moses had this power when he allowed divorce because the Jews were hard hearted (Matt 19:8) and this change was allowed as Jesus said “it was not that way in the beginning” so Moses changed it but Jesus changed it back or rather reinstated this divine truth as it was always ment to be lived.
        This is evidence that God allows us, even in our ignorance and weakness, to live a certain way for a time but always seeks to realign us with the perfection that is God.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Ok, now we have come full circle…language. We are aware that this is mentioned in the Bible, it will be messed up and changed and certain meanings mean opposite than before. Good will become Evil and Evil will become Good. You could say that this is not meant as a a change in language, yes it is. Once spoken it is a change. How often now, are we hearing something we have heard so often years ago, and now it is not what is meant at all…even in our Church. Change in God’s decrees of moral good /evil of LGBT community, pediophelia, marriage, contraception, or latest in Death Penalty. (Can’t wait for what is up next). All spoken of in Biblical Theology, except now modernism has stepped in to reroute the use and purpose. Same with history and math and science.
      Confuse the people (big need). Our Catholic Church has always had a language unto itself. You could spot a Catholic miles away, just by their vernacular. Not any longer, thanks to less interaction with each other and more interaction with TV or social media, etc. Boy did we mess this up! But Pope Francis wants us to be like everyone else (ecumenical). “Oh, what evil webs we weave…when we practice to decieve.” We are busy trying to be like everyone else, that we forgot to ‘LOOK UP’. Take care. And Remember…Look Up!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Please excuse my ignorance, as I would like to read the two replys on this comment; however, everytime I click on the *Liked by you and 2 other people, it just sends me to Gravatar. And I could not read your reply. Do you have any suggestions? How to get to your reply! Thank you and plz reach me (edit: I’ve saved your email address) if you can suggest what has happened. I have a site. And I finally signed up with Gravatar, which I was game on doing. But nothing has changed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. robill, I’m not exactly sure what is going on in your scenario. I do know when one clicks on the person’s name who “liked” a comment or reply, it does take you to that one’s Gravatar. Any replies to comments, as I’ve experienced this site, are clearly seen by all… no clicking or accessing needed. I’m writing SteveBC’s name in this reply so he can provide the geekier persepctive than can I. As mentioned, I have your email address, robill, in the event it’s needed. Let’s see what Steve suggests to resolve and/or clarify solutions to your problem.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Robill, the *Like link is only for liking a comment and is designed to be clicked only once. It has nothing to do with viewing comments.

          I can’t tell from your description what you are trying to do. Replies are supposed to list indented and under their parent comment. You should be able to see all child comments just by scrolling down the page below the parent.

          If you can give us a better description of what you are trying to do, Beckita and I might be able to provide further help.

          Liked by 2 people

  27. Charlie,
    Please forgive me for posting again. The thread of homosexuality in the Catholic Church clergy and the inadmissible application of the death penalty, which Pope Francis has unilaterally “promulgated” vs its application in Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I believe the world-wide College of Bishops as in Vatican II must call into challenge and question Pope Francis’ decision to change the unchangeable doctrine of the Teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church as defined in the CCC.

    Murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:17,21)
    Attacking or cursing a parent (Exodus 21:15,17)
    Disobedience to parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
    Kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)
    Failure to confine a dangerous animal, resulting in death (Exodus 21:28-29)
    Witchcraft and sorcery (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 13:5, 1 Samuel 28:9)
    Human sacrifice (Leviticus 20:2-5)
    Sex with an animal (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:16)
    Doing work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14, 35:2, Numbers 15:32-36)
    Incest (Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-12,14,17,19-21)
    Adultery (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22)
    Homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13)
    Prostitution by a priest’s daughter (Leviticus 21:9)
    Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14,16, 23)
    False prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20)
    Perjury in capital cases (Deuteronomy 19:16-19)
    Refusing to obey a decision of a judge or priest (Deuteronomy 17:12)
    False claim of a woman’s virginity at time of marriage (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
    Sex between a woman pledged to be married and a man other than her betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

    From Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.,

    2267. Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm-without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself-the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This thread on “Scandals on the Church” has taken on a whole, new light : people have been going ‘hog wild’ with thoughts and ideas. I’m not saying they’re wrong, just plumb crazy with some comments.

      I read not so long ago, Pope Francis interpreted {translated} the ‘Our Father’ in a different, more correct manner. I related such to my Pastor who stated: I should WAIT until it became official. I had been altering the ending in the singular version rather than the plural (one). He stated (paraphrase), we as a Catholic family have to stick together, in unity, without discord from one another.

      In essence, prayer in unity matters.


      For me, I am sticking to what I know: Daily mass, Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours and a few others. Frequent confession (once per week, if not sooner) and prayers for the deceased. As I have stated previously, I intend on obtaining a Plenary Indulgence each day and I hope you do so also.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m with you about remaining in solidarity, Sean… and the continued need for prayer.

        As long as there is good will and true respect for the reality that sometimes we must simply agree to disagree, I see value in wrestling with these ideas, striving to clarify and refine our thinking. That said, sometimes it’s equally important to take a break from the wrestling.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Beckita, for the link to this piece by Justice Scalia, may he rest in peace. It is both thoughtful and thought-provoking–especially the final 3 paragraphs.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thank you very much for this link. I hope everybody takes the time to read it. Maybe somebody should send a copy to the Pope.

      I love it when people make me think. Justice Scalia could certainly make you do that. I have met his son Fr. Paul on a couple of occasions and have heard him speak at public events. He is a chip off the old block.

      What struck me immediately about Justice Scalia’s common sense is that he draws a distinction between the principles of morality for the individual and the principles of morality for Government.

      NOT identical. I’m sure that will come as much of a shock to the average person as it does to me.

      Bottom line to make you think: Retribution is moral for a Government but not moral for an individual.

      Stew on that one for awhile.

      “The death penalty is undoubtedly wrong unless one accords to the state a scope of moral action that goes beyond what is permitted to the individual. In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self-government…..

      ……But the core of his [St. Paul’s] message is that government—however you want to limit that concept—derives its moral authority from God. It is the “minister of God” with powers to “revenge,” to “execute wrath,” including even wrath by the sword (which is unmistakably a reference to the death penalty). Paul of course did not believe that the individual possessed any such powers….

      …..These passages from Romans represent the consensus of Western thought until very recent times. Not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state……

      ……So it is no accident, I think, that the modern view that the death penalty is immoral is centered in the West. That has little to do with the fact that the West has a Christian tradition, and everything to do with the fact that the West is the home of democracy. Indeed, it seems to me that the more Christian a country is the less likely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral…..”

      Then there is this twist of the Scalia intellectual knife into the thinking of the opponents of the Death Penalty to chew on. Wonder if he had a grin on his face when he wrote this:

      “Of course those who deny the authority of a government to exact vengeance are not entirely logical. Many crimes—for example, domestic murder in the heat of passion—are neither deterred by punishment meted out to others nor likely to be committed a second time by the same offender. Yet opponents of capital punishment do not object to sending such an offender to prison, perhaps for life. Because he deserves punishment. Because it is just….

      So I take the encyclical and the latest, hot-off-the-presses version of the catechism (a supposed encapsulation of the “deposit” of faith and the Church’s teaching regarding a moral order that does not change) to mean that retribution is not a valid purpose of capital punishment. Unlike such other hard Catholic doctrines as the prohibition of birth control and of abortion, this is not a moral position that the Church has always—or indeed ever before—maintained. There have been Christian opponents of the death penalty, just as there have been Christian pacifists, but neither of those positions has ever been that of the Church. The current predominance of opposition to the death penalty is the legacy of Napoleon, Hegel, and Freud rather than St. Paul and St. Augustine. I mentioned earlier Thomas More, who has long been regarded in this country as the patron saint of lawyers, and who has recently been declared by the Vatican the patron saint of politicians (I am not sure that is a promotion). One of the charges leveled by that canonized saint’s detractors was that, as Lord Chancellor, he was too quick to impose the death penalty.”

      We all have to start working on that plank in our own eye.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I seem to recall that you met him once, Mick. And, for certain I know, amidst all the warmth, humor and joy you ever extend in this community, you also express your serious analytical comments in terms that reflect your training as a lawyer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bless you for your kind words, Beckita. And yes, I did have the honor of meeting Justice Scalia. I fear I came off as somewhat of a groupie; but after he recovered from the shock of having a crazy black woman chase him down outside Old St. Mary’s after Sunday Mass, he graciously agreed to have his picture taken with my little family. In the picture, His Honor looks dignified, I look dorky, my baby looks drool-y, and my husband looks mortified.

        Liked by 7 people

          1. You first, BD…. I want to see a picture of that rope that you’ve been referring to for the past few years. 🙂

            I’ll have to rummage around in some old photo albums. I have no tech skills to speak of, so maybe my eldest son can figure out how to upload (or whatever) the photo.

            Liked by 2 people

  28. The article by Scalia brings up a well thought out opinion by a well respected justice. He makes use of some good sources for his argument and very effectively.
    He also make use of a another important point…feelings. Not the feelings of the emotional kind but of the moral kind. He notes the “just” feeling of those who profess the Christian conscience. This just feeling of a Christian is one based upon years of continuity and reasonable effect practiced by society and the church. Although he concludes there is a margin for error in this practice, it is still a just and reasonable practice. But he gets to the nitty-gritty of it all when he goes into the moral area of the individual. He mentioned the “loss of his job” which he likes if he were to decide his Christian duty was to follow another path other than the one he was on. Jesus told Pilot that the power to condem Him was given by God Himself but that the Jews were committing a “greater sin” not forgiving Pilot that what he was doing was still sinful but not as great a sin. In this we see our real dilemma, going against our conscience. Pilot knew what he was doing was wrong and washed his hands in protest against (really himself) deciding with the crowd.
    God judges the heart. Upon reading theological reasoning against capital punishment Scalia had to decide if he is wrong or right in acting upon CP. He chose a different road than the pope for reasoning that canonically the encyclical is nonbinding. But, like Pilot, does his authority to punish still a sin for him? Is his deferment to nonbinding truth a pass? Once a “normal” truth is exposed as not really normal, does one have the right to live freely in the past with it especially if it threatens their livelihood or moral compass?
    Pilot sinned by going against his rightful authority to judge justly and knew the Jews hated Jesus out of jealousy. Other commentators suggest he was afraid of loosing his position as the Jews knew they could cause a scandal for him.
    Charlie opened a can of worms with the line judging rightous judgement here as it pertains to the deep seated reasons we each have decided what our vision is when it comes to truth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hah! I think Beckita may have opened up a bigger can of worms than Charlie’s admonition to us to relearn how to Judge Righteous Judgement.

      Personally, that little comment has set me on a path of self discovery to learn what LIVING Righteously means today in 2018. It has lead me clear back to James the Just who was the Lord’s older step brother. Even down to studying the street maps of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. James had a lot to deal with and he dealt with it by living a life committed to Righteousness.

      Now, I have to rethink the whole issue of personal v. governmental morality.

      Thanks, Beckita.

      One can of worms that I think the Pope has unleashed is the connection, or rather CONSISTENCY, of his CP declaration on the subject of morality or immorality of punishment by the State for crimes and the morality or immorality of the punishment or lack of punishment or avoidance of punishment for Canonical crimes especially by priests and bishops and even Cardinals and maybe even Popes.

      Sexual abuse crimes come to mind. We have a history of coverup of sexual abuse by the Clergy for decades here in the U.S. Cardinal McCarrick’s case goes back to his days as priest in New York. The Canonical punishment for sexual abuse by Priests, Bishops and maybe even Popes should be laid out somewhere in Canon Law. One would think the JUST punishment for such crimes would be quite severe. Maybe even a stone tied around their necks and thrown into the ocean.

      However, to the average layman’s eye it seems like all these guys ever get is a slap on the wrist. Reassignment. Prayer and penance. A stretch in the rehab center. Acknowledgement of the pain they have caused. Maybe, horrors, laicization.

      Is this Just punishment for the heinousness of sexual abuse of children or young adults?

      What is Just Punishment for a devouring, lascivious, destructive, preying Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing?

      The Pope just accepted the resignation of the Chilean Bishops and an American Cardinal.

      Does the punishment fit the crime(s)?

      The Pope asks “Who am I to judge?”.

      Answer: You are the Pope that’s who. It is your job. To live Righteously and to Judge Righteous Judgement and to guard and shepherd the flock.

      By judging the Righteousness of the State imposing the Death Penalty it may be that all the Pope has inadvertently drawn attention to what appears to be the Lack of Righteous Judgement behind the Vatican walls.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. Charlie– do you know Our Lady of the Mountains Church in Estes Park? My friend Fr. Clancy from Boston was there for Focus recently visiting with parishioners.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Little One, Charlie did mention recently in a comment that all has not yet been revealed. That recalled, we must be SO close to the Scriptural truth: “All that is hidden will be revealed.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bekita, here is a Vatican headline that says much in regard to Paul VI: Pope Paul VI who died 40 years ago underscored the centrality of man. Get that? The centrality of man not of God but of man made in His image and likeness. The link to the article is below this long but pertinent quote which comes from Paul VI’s General Audience of July 2, 1969:

        We wish to make our own the important
        words employed by the Council; those words
        which define its spirit, and, in a dynamical synthesis,
        form the spirit of all those who refer to
        it, be they within or without the Church. The
        word “NOVELTY”, simple, very dear to today’s
        men, is much utilized; it is theirs… That
        word… it was given to us as an order, as a program…
        It comes to us directly from the pages
        of the Holy Scripture: “For, behold (says the
        Lord), I create new heavens and a new earth”.
        St. Paul echoes these words of the prophet Isaiah11;
        then, the Apocalypse: “I am making
        everything new”12. And Jesus, our Master, was
        not He, himself, an innovator? (Sermon on the Mount)
        It is precisely thus that the Council has come to
        us. Two terms characterize it: “RENOVATION”
        and “REVISION”. We are particularly
        keen that this “spirit of renovation” – according
        to the expression of the Council – be understood
        and experienced by everyone. It responds to the
        characteristic of our time, wholly engaged in an
        enormous and rapid transformation, and generating
        novelties in every sector of modern life.
        In fact, one cannot shy away from this spontaneous
        reflection: if the whole world is changing,
        will not religion change as well? Between the
        reality of life and Christianity, Catholicism especially,
        is not there reciprocal disagreement,
        indifference, misunderstanding, and hostility?
        The former is leaping forward; the latter would
        not move. How could they go along? How could
        Christianity claim to have, today, any influence
        upon life?
        And it is for this reason that the Church has
        undertaken some reforms, especially after the
        Council. The Episcopate is about to promote
        the “renovation” that corresponds to our present
        needs; Religious Orders are reforming
        their Statutes; Catholic laity is qualified and
        found its role within the life of the Church;
        Liturgy is proceeding with a reform in which
        anyone knows the extension and importance;
        Christian education reviews the methods of its
        pedagogy; all the canonical legislations are
        about to be revised. how many other consoling and promising
        novelties we shall see appearing in the Church!
        They attest to Her new vitality, which shows
        that the Holy Spirit animates Her continually,
        even in these years so crucial to religion. The
        development of ecumenism, guided by Faith
        and Charity, itself says what progress, almost
        unforeseeable, has been achieved during the
        course and life of the Church. The Church
        looks at the future with Her heart brimming
        with hope, brimming with fresh expectation in
        love… We can say… of the Council: It marks
        the onset of a new era, of which no one can deny
        the new aspects that We have indicated to

        The statistics alone show what has happened to the Church through NOVELTY, RENOVATION, and REVISION. Anyway the Vatican seems to promote the centrality of man made in the image of God rather than the centrality of God in Whose image man is made. The difference has made all the difference and Paul Vi will be canonized.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is a beautiful article. The phrases used in relation to man do not promote man as an end unto himself. NOT at all. Blessed Pope Paul VI’s writings: “… underscored the centrality of man… “ and “… in his writings and testament Paul VI revealed his understanding of man, especially as the image of God.” With further clarification: “The priest noted that 40 years after his death the Church continues to take a different path as indicated by the Second Vatican Council and taught by Paul VI, which consists is putting man at the center, not so much in his anthropological aspect as an end in itself but rather as an image of God – man as willed by God in his likeness, a man who has value and dignity. And I love the recognition of Blessed Pope Paul VI as protector of the unborn.

          Blessed be God in Blessed, soon-to-be Saint, Paul VI!

          Liked by 1 person

  30. Good on Charlie for his article, I look forward to his next article hopefully opening our minds to this serious, shocking development or revelation or scandal in our poor mother Church.

    Of course this appears to be a global problem, and not only happening in the Church. I think once God has exposed and cleansed the Church; the rest of society will be next for cleansing, and make no mistake this problem is right across our cultures and societies. The Bishops culpable as they may be, are no worse than other men in authority who try to hide these horrors for the sake of appearances.

    You know what I mean, fearing what others may think or say if they find out the true depth of depravity to which our societies have fallen. And might I add this degeneration is as a result of kicking God out of His rightful place right in the front and centre of our lives in and out of the practice of Faith.

    If we wonder what Jesus would say to the deadly criminal behaviour which obliges secular courts to in some instances recommend a death penalty. Did Jesus not say that those who give scandal should have a stone tied to their necks and be thrown in a river. Now that sounds awful like a death sentence to me.

    Historically there have been a couple of eras when homosexuality reared its ugly head and the Church was infested like the rest of society. It was dealt with severely, I think a death sentence was not out of the list of options. So I wonder if the advisors around Holy Father suggested he announce death sentences were intrinsically wrong might be the gay mafia trying to get faithful Catholics to rise against anyone lopping off the heads of these perverts who are destroying our Church. And where does the Holy Father remind us of the dignity of the victims in all this mayhem. Perpetrators have the privelidge of dignity, the victims and their families have to live in hell for the rest of their earthly lives over the soul destroying crimes against them. Who cares about their dignity. That is what bothers me.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Sadly for things to improve, the church at all levels would need to admit that the root of the problem which led to the abuse crisis is homosexuality in the church, both acted out and accepted by others. These sins and acceptance of sin would need to be repented of by the church as a whole. And after the church repents and cleanses itself, it would need to regain the courage to speak to a culture which is so accepting of these sins and disordered lifestyles, and even sees them as good. And since we have all sinned in lessor or in greater ways, we need to address these things realizing the “earthen vessels” we all are and trusting in God’s assistance every right step we take.

    Liked by 3 people

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