Current events

If Pope Francis really is claiming that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, then either scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes were wrong—or Pope Francis is. There is no third alternative. Nor is there any doubt about who would be wrong in that case.

Edward Feser, “Pope Francis and Capital Punishment,”, August 3, 2018.

6 thoughts on “Current events

  1. One of the first things I thought of when I saw news of this death penalty thing last week was “I wouldn’t want to be Edward Feser right now.” Not that he isn’t well-educated or that he doesn’t make a good case for captital punishment… but to find yourself invested in a position that puts you at odds with the pope… whew. I don’t envy that. As a Catholic I hate to imagine a situation where either my well-known position was wrong, or worse: that the pope was wrong. Of course I must be supportive of the pope (as an ex-Protestant I know the dangers of assuming I’d be better at the job), but I will be interested in seeing where all of this ends up.



  2. I’m not supportive of the pope at all. And I do assume I would be better at the job. I agree with you that it’s worse that the pope be wrong than that Feser be wrong or that you or I be wrong. It’s terrible, it’s really an awful thing. But it’s a fact. He’s a terrible pope. He is endangering the faith of millions and is either oblivious to it or doesn’t care. Note that I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that he’s not doing it on purpose.


  3. There is much ambiguity in this new teaching. Eg., what is the implication of “inadmissible”? And #2267 does not state that capital punishment is a sin, nor that those who vote for politicians supporting it commit sin. This teaching seems to open the door to scholarly ecclesiastical discussion, rather than to define doctrine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand that there’s ambiguity in it. That’s par for the course with him. I wonder if he knows how to be precise. My problem with your theory is that it was already being discussed, a change didn’t need to be made to the Catechism to open it up for discussion. If anything I think this tends in the direction of closing off discussion.


  4. It seems that Edward Feser’s argument hinges on the idea that the Holy Spirit is not active in the world today, and that God’s Revelation of Truth has always been fully understood. If that were the case, we would still support slavery..which we know was seen as permissible by the church in the past


    • The key word is “intrinsic”. Slavery was never considered by the Church to be intrinsically good or intrinsically evil; it always depended on the circumstances. For the most part slavery was considered an evil, though it was excused and tolerated at times. To now condemn slavery is not a reversal of a teaching that was universally accepted in the past.

      Whereas capital punishment was always universally approved. To now teach that it’s intrinsically evil is a complete reversal.


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