Patterico's Pontifications

3/13/2013

Open Thread: White Smoke

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:06 pm



There is a new pope. Don’t know who yet.

UPDATE: Pope Francis, from Argentina. There you have it.

94 Responses to “Open Thread: White Smoke”

  1. i declined the honor…

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  2. Nancy Pelosi?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  3. that is so cool

    Argentina is not in Europe plus also it’s being ravaged by a stupid fascist warmongering hoochie

    interesting times

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  4. Jesuit conspiracy

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  5. What is his position on Liberation Theology?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  6. I thought I had heard mention of someone from Argentina that was well regarded and pretty “Conservative”, i.e., the Bible still means what it did before Marx (Karl).

    But I could also be just blowing smoke…

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  7. This is good for the pope on a rope collector.

    mg (31009b)

  8. MG lol. I had so forgotten that joke.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  9. If Pope Francis were a Liberation Theologist, would that oblige the world’s Catholics to adopt the philosophy as well?

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  10. 5. What is his position on Liberation Theology?

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 3/13/2013 @ 12:36 pm

    He studied theology in Germany, not a hotbed of liberation theology. Apparently as the Jesuit provincial of Argentina he insisted that the priests stay in their churches not trade traditional theology for political activism.

    He adopted some of the “social justice” philosophy, but he never used it to insist on structural economic reforms like land or wealth redistribution like the liberation theologians. Just to insist that the wealthy must be better Christians.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  11. 9. If Pope Francis were a Liberation Theologist, would that oblige the world’s Catholics to adopt the philosophy as well?

    Comment by Leviticus (17b7a5) — 3/13/2013 @ 1:37 pm

    No. The Pope can suddenly turn 2,000 years of theology on it’s head and insist everyone adopt a political ideology masquerading as if it were traditional Catholic spirituality. Not when priests were recently getting excommunicated for doing the same thing.

    John Paul was personally opposed to the death penalty. But he couldn’t oblige ever Catholic to oppose the death penalty because that’s never been the Church’s position. The death penalty is, under certain circumstances, an act of legitimate self-defense.

    In matters of social policy and public safety the decisions don’t belong to the church. The Pope can’t command Catholics to get on board with a particular program. They can teach and advise about Catholic morality, but the prudential judgement of how to apply that teaching belongs to they laity. Not the clergy.

    This is where the liberal non-Christian Catholics went wrong trying to smear Paul Ryan as an evil hypocrite for opposing abortion but supporting entitlement reform. Taking innocent life is always an exceptionally grave sin. No Catholic can get one or help procure one in any way without sinning. But they can’t claim that proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher program as opposed to keeping it a defined benefits program is a sin of any sort. Catholic public officials simply need to keep the Church’s social justice teachings in mind when trying to decide what the best way to achieve those goals might be.

    So, no, since liberation theology requires people to support socialist programs then, no, a Pope can’t make Catholics adopt liberation theology.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  12. Going on a retreat with the Jezzies this weekend. I wonder if any of the Fathers will have some scoop.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. I was hoping they would select a pro-condom lesbian atheist, to come into the 21st Century. Maybe Sandra Fluke. How dare thy select someone that believes in Catholic teachings?!

    JD (31065f)

  14. daley, keep us informed.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  15. JD, the Vatican has never had a good PR operation, from what I can tell.
    Their public-outreach just sucks.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  16. askeptic – I will confess JD’s sins and if they don’t kick me out after that I will let everybody know if I hear anything.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  17. I would like to know if these popes ever say the words “bless me father for I have sinned, my last confessions was ??? “

    mg (31009b)

  18. IIR, all priests, no matter what their rank within the church, have to attend confession.
    Just like head-shrinkers.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  19. The conservative base of the Catholic Church is in Latin America. He was a logical choice.

    nk (53646e)

  20. As Breitbart put it, “The media remain aghast at the fact that Francis I is a Catholic. They should get used to it.”

    The Catholic Dana (af9ec3)

  21. Mr 57 got it wrong:

    John Paul was personally opposed to the death penalty. But he couldn’t oblige ever Catholic to oppose the death penalty because that’s never been the Church’s position. The death penalty is, under certain circumstances, an act of legitimate self-defense.

    It most certainly is the Church’s position. While the Catechism states specifically, in §2263:

    The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor…. The one is intended, the other is not.”

    However, § 2267 states:

    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.”

    It is the Church’s position that if you have a prisoner in custody, and sufficiently helpless that he cannot prevent his own execution, you have already satisfied the condition of “rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm.” Lethal force is allowable if someone is not helpless and is presenting an active threat to society, but a prisoner would never meet that definition.

    The Catholic Dana (af9ec3)

  22. I just got home from a trip to Tyler, TX and found that I have a new Pope! That was fast. The Holy Spirit rocks!

    Good comments, everyone, as usual. Kudos to Steve and Askeptic for the accurate answers. LOL, Dana!

    felipe (3243af)

  23. Dana bears witness to the extremely nuanced position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. However, It is, nonetheless, incorrect to say that the Catholic church’s position is against the death penalty because of this deep nuance.

    I read Steve’s statement to be accurate insofar as it deals with a Pope’s scope of authority. The CCC, itself does not prohibit the licit use of the death penalty.

    felipe (3243af)

  24. I should offer this correction to Steve’s comment:

    No. The Pope canNOT suddenly turn 2,000 years of theology on it’s head and insist everyone adopt a political ideology masquerading as if it were traditional Catholic spirituality. Not when priests were recently getting excommunicated for doing the same thing.

    felipe (3243af)

  25. No Dana, I didn’t get it wrong. Reaffirming the traditional moral teachings of the Church is as far as the Pope can go. And he affirmed that the death penalty can be an act of legitimate self-defense.

    But it isn’t true that the modern penal system renders prisoners harmless. If that were true, prisoners wouldn’t continue to murder in prison.

    It is a matter of prudential judgement to determine who poses a threat to society (and prisoners and guards are part of society), and if bloodless means will or won’t be sufficient to prevent them from causing a threat. The fact is by incarcerating someone as a prisoner you’ve rendered them uniquely incapable of self-defense. So society must accept an additional burden for defending the non-violent prisoners from the more violent.

    And no Pope has the expertise to expound on the modern penal system and how it is now capable of rendering prisoners harmless when it lacked that ability in the past. What advancements do when have now that weren’t available in Medieval times when the authorities also had the ability to shackle someone to a wall in a dungeon, lock the door, and throw away the key?

    The bottom line is that the Church has no special ability to expound on the quality of the penal system or on what measures need to be taken for public safety. And the Church teaches that it is not a replacement for the civil authorities who are responsible for making those decisions.

    Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est:

    The Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. . . .

    The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. (no. 28)

    The Church can’t take on the “political battle ot bring about the most just society possible” because the Church by its own teaching has no more expertise or insight into how to bring that about than anyone else. By the same token it isn’t for any Pope to decide if prisoners do or don’t meet the definition of “threat to society.” Even Pope John Paul would have had to admit that. It is the difference between the eternal and the provisional. The Church’s authority extends only to the former. The eternal moral laws of God. The provisional is beyond its authority. As long as a Catholic has formed his or her conscience in accordance with the Church’s teachings they can vote in good conscience in favor of the death penalty or even impose it as a judge or a member of a jury and no one can call that a sin. Not even Pope John Paul II who opined that conditions that warrant the death penalty are “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

    Steve57 (60a887)

  26. 23. Dana bears witness to the extremely nuanced position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. However, It is, nonetheless, incorrect to say that the Catholic church’s position is against the death penalty because of this deep nuance.

    I read Steve’s statement to be accurate insofar as it deals with a Pope’s scope of authority. The CCC, itself does not prohibit the licit use of the death penalty.

    Comment by felipe (3243af) — 3/13/2013 @ 4:23 pm

    felipe, that is exactly what I was referring to; the scope of the Pope’s authority.

    Abortion is intrinsically evil as is deliberately taking innocent life under any circumstances; it must be opposed in all cases. But no Church authority, not Pope John Paul II nor the USCCCB, has ever claimed capital punishment is intrinsically evil. Like the use of military force it can be necessary as a last resort. And in those cases it isn’t just excusing a necessary evil, but recognizing at an obligation.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  27. “Not even Pope John Paul II who opined that conditions that warrant the death penalty are ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'”

    It should be well noted that a Pope’s opinions are just that: opinions. Opinions impose no obligation on the faithful. Nor do opinions represent the Church Universal’s position on any matter of faith and morals.

    Now, let there be peace.

    felipe (3243af)

  28. Abortion is intrinsically evil as is deliberately taking innocent life under any circumstances; it must be opposed in all cases. But no Church authority, not Pope John Paul II nor the USCCCB, has ever claimed capital punishment is intrinsically evil. Like the use of military force it can be necessary as a last resort. And in those cases it isn’t just excusing a necessary evil, but recognizing at an obligation.

    Yes, Steve, that is absolutly correct. Now shake hands with Dana (in all humility)and wish him well!

    felipe (3243af)

  29. There’s no strife between Dana and I, felipe. It’s just a friendly theological discussion.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  30. Glad to hear it. It should still be said aloud for the benefit of the readers.

    felipe (3243af)

  31. It is the Church’s position that if you have a prisoner in custody, and sufficiently helpless that he cannot prevent his own execution, you have already satisfied the condition of “rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm.” Lethal force is allowable if someone is not helpless and is presenting an active threat to society, but a prisoner would never meet that definition.

    and prisoners never escaped or killed anyone, right?

    I suppose if it were possible to turn people to stone, like in the Gargoyles episode “City of Stone”, then perhaps the death penalty will become obsolete. But until then…

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  32. White smoke + Steve + Felipe + Dana = Capitl punishment thread

    felipe (3243af)

  33. It’s an open thread.

    And the Church has, traditionally, bowed to the civil authorities on death sentences, including death sentences ecclesiastical courts imposed. Priests prayed at auto da fes, soldiers lit the fires.

    nk (53646e)

  34. 32. White smoke + Steve + Felipe + Dana = Capitl punishment thread

    Comment by felipe (3243af) — 3/13/2013 @ 5:18 pm

    Amazing how that works.

    But it began when someone asked about Pope Francis I’s theological views. As I understand it he’s theologically conservative.

    Which makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, John Paul II appointed him bishop and later elevated him to Cardinal. JPII opposed liberation theology as a form of secularism, and appointed Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Ratzinger was a fierce opponent of liberation theology. It makes no sense that JPII would have appointed a liberation theologian or even someone sympathetic to it to those positions while at the same time having Cardinal Ratzinger root them out.

    Also it’s widely accepted that Cardinal Bergoglio was a leading if not the leading candidate next to Cardinal Ratzinger in 2005. That makes sense only if both were seen as suited to meeting the needs of the church at that time. Two candidates with polar opposite theological views wouldn’t have made the same short list.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  35. I just can’t believe The Church chose a hohophobic pro life misogynist as the Pope.

    JD (b63a52)

  36. That’s not all, JD. Once again the Church discriminated against non-Catholics and atheists when choosing a Pope.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  37. More on Pope Francis I from Catholic Online:

    NEW POPE: Who is this man named Bergoglio?

    As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to authenti social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. Living in a small apartment, he eschews the typical palatial bishop’s residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and reportedly cooks his own meals.

    …Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement.

    Cardinal Bergoglio has invited his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.

    Among his teachings and stands, he strongly affirms church teaching on the intrinsic immorality of homosexual practices, though he teaches the importance of respecting homosexual persons. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to give legal equivalency between true marriage and homosexual partners. He has also insisted that adoption by homosexuals is a form of discrimination against children.

    His doctrinal orthodoxy emphasizes Christ’s mandate to love: he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  38. The major problem churches face today is one of authority.

    The Catholic problem is 1 Pope. The Protestant problem is 1,000,000 pastors.

    All of them will tell you authority is rooted in the “Word of God” as long as they get to interpret the “Word of God” authoritatively.

    WarEagle82 (2b7355)

  39. #38

    Interesting discussion on that very point.

    Gerald A (c7c56a)

  40. As I understand it he’s theologically conservative.

    I should hope so. After all, what good is it being a leftwing Christian since that hews quite closely to being a faithful follower of secular liberalism, and praying at the altar of, say, Al Gore’s Church of Global Warming.

    If one chooses to lean left in today’s era, he or she might just as well join the UN, Green Peace, the ACLU, NOW, etc, instead of trying to glom onto a traditional religious organization.

    BTW, if members of the Catholic hierarchy aren’t totally disgusted at and appalled by anyone in their church who’s guilty of molesting children, that suggests the corrupting nature of left-leaning sentiment has done to their group what political correctness has done to the US military, vis a vie Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood massacre.

    Mark (6ae95d)

  41. Since he’s conservative the left has already begun to attack him:

    The Gaurdian: The sins of the Argentinian church

    The Catholic church was complicit in dreadful crimes in Argentina. Now it has a chance to repent

    Naturally according to the atheist left the sins of the Argentinian church involve not siding with the leftists when the junta was in power in a civil war in which both sides were committing atrocities.

    Just as naturally, when the Church refuses to recognize the superior moral authority of the left commentariat and repent as directed that will just compound the sins of the Church.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  42. A little context about one of those who relate this story though;

    Along with Mario Firmenich and five other Montoneros, he was indicted for allegedly being involved in the planning and execution of the bombing of the Superintendence of Security of the Federal Police, on July 2, 1976 — a few months after the military coup — which caused 21 deaths among intelligence officers. The case was however closed in 2007 because of statute of limitations.[7]

    narciso (3fec35)

  43. Good point, narciso. There are lots of problems with the story and the allegations against Bergoglio.

    For instance O’Shaunnessey at the Guardian writes:

    The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment

    Verbitsky was a leftist guerrilla during that period, a fact the author dishonestly leaves out when identifying him as a “journalist.”

    And Bergoglio wasn’t Cardinal when the Junta was in power in the late 70s. He was a priest. He was named provincial of the Jesuit order in Argentina in 1973 and served in that capacity until he became rector of the same seminary he had attended. But he was still just a priest and priests don’t get vacation homes on islands in the Platte river.

    Then there’s this via Politico:

    One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.

    These two heretics (and that’s what liberation theology is in the eyes of the church) accused Bergoglio of “effectively” handing them over to the junta because he didn’t endorse their work.

    Thereby demonstrating why the Church has declared liberation theology a heresy. It puts leftist politics ahead of the Church’s spiritual mission. No Church leader could have endorsed their work that without betraying their faith.

    But Bergoglio did personally intervene with the dictator on their behalf to get them released as an act of mercy.

    Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them — including persuading dictator Jorge Videla’s family priest to call in sick so that he could say Mass in the junta leader’s home, where he privately appealed for mercy. His intervention likely saved their lives, but Bergoglio never shared the details until Rubin interviewed him for the 2010 biography.

    Bergoglio — who ran Argentina’s Jesuit order during the dictatorship — told Rubin that he regularly hid people on church property during the dictatorship, and once gave his identity papers to a man with similar features, enabling him to escape across the border.

    This is far more plausible than to claim he connived with the Argentine Navy to hide dissidents at a vacation residence his position at the time didn’t permit him.

    His sin in the eyes of the atheist left was not subordinating that silly god-bothering nonsense to the leftist cause.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  44. – One interesting comment I heard said it was something to note that a Jesuit took the name Francis upon ascending to Pope, rather than Ignatius or something “more Jesuit”.
    – That while a Jesuit he was clearly showing respect to the Franciscans
    – I’m not Catholic so I can’t say much, but it sounds like an interesting little point

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  45. I think it’s more in keeping with Francis Xavier,

    narciso (3fec35)

  46. One interesting comment I heard said it was something to note that a Jesuit took the name Francis upon ascending to Pope, rather than Ignatius or something “more Jesuit.”

    It’s also a way to placate the Italian cardinals who apparently wanted to elect one of their own and only turned to Bergoglio (the son of Italian immigrants) only when they saw that no Italian could win enough votes. By taking the name of perhaps the most famous Italian priest in history, Bergoglio is paying respect to his Italian brothers.

    JVW (4826a9)

  47. Slight correction: Francis of Assisi was never ordained a priest; he is the most famous and probably most important friar in history.

    JVW (4826a9)

  48. 45.I think it’s more in keeping with Francis Xavier,
    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 3/13/2013 @ 8:39 pm

    Didn’t he play basketball??

    The MD in Philly that knows less than Dana about Catholicism (3d3f72)

  49. Francis Xavier?
    or
    Malcolm Xavier?

    GUS (694db4)

  50. I liked reading Aquinas, my father went to a Catholic university (UD Flyers), and I’m quitting before I dig deeper into trouble. G’Night

    The MD in Philly that knows less than Dana about Catholicism (3d3f72)

  51. Actually he probably chose the name Francis because St. Francis of Assissi said his call to the priesthood came when God spoke to him from the crucifix of his local church.

    “Francis, Go and rebuild my Church, which you can see has fallen into ruin.”

    I think the significance of that should be obvious considering how the Church’s reputation has been marred by scandals.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  52. Didn’t he play basketball??

    Still do. Though they aren’t particularly good this year.

    JVW (4826a9)

  53. Yes, JVW is right. Francis was never ordained a priest. I should have said he received his call to give up his life of luxury as a young nobleman and follow God with those words.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  54. JVW. How silly of you. COLONEL HARLAND SANDERS was the most important FRYER in History.
    Get real.

    GUS (694db4)

  55. I’m getting a lot of the details wrong. Francis’ family was wealthy but his father was a merchant, not a noble. Although a knighthood doesn’t appear to have been out of reach for Francis if his life had gone to his original plan.

    Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Francis of Assissi

    Steve57 (60a887)

  56. i haven’t read hardly anything about mr. pope nouveaux it was a busy day

    but I was coming back from a meeting and I passed a new Argentinian bakery!

    it had to be a Sign of course so I popped a U in front of a Burbank cop and he didn’t do nuffin, which confirmed of course that it was a sign cause you don’t get tickets for following signs and I parked right in front and went in and got tasty pastries – mostly featuring caramel in some way

    they were so good I took them back to the office and tried to make sure everybody took some home an they all did except for the smoking hot thin girl

    but at the bakery

    they also had these sammiches

    called “migas”

    now migas means something different in texas where I come from

    but in the land of New Pope migas basically means a sammich wif the crusts cut off

    I asked my friend from Argentina and he said oh yeah in Argentina they still do high tea in places – they can be very fancy and emulative of the British

    who effing knew???

    I can’t wait to go back for one of the sammiches they’re only like $7 and they look like more than enough foozle for lunch you could probably even share one

    and that is the story of the fun day I had when we got the new pope

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  57. 45. Anyway we protestants are a bit jealous.

    First Jesuit after half a milennia. Sure wish some of our sinking, dying mainline churches opted for stasis, in anything.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  58. What is his position on Liberation Theology?

    What is liberation theology?

    Is it a left-wing Catholic analogue of militant Islamism?

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  59. No, it’s the attempt to adapt marxism to Catholic doctrine, the Sandinistas were big on that, as was Chavez, Kirchner, et al

    narciso (3fec35)

  60. No, it’s the attempt to adapt marxism to Catholic doctrine, the Sandinistas were big on that, as was Chavez, Kirchner, et al

    Just like militant Islamism adapted Hitlerism into Islamic doctrine.

    Here are some more news that neither liberation theologists nor militant Islamists would be pleased to hear.

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/new-pope-said-to-have-good-ties-with-argentinian-jews-1.509239

    Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian cardinal who was elected pope and will take the name Francis, is said to have a good relationship with Argentinian Jews.

    Bergoglio, 76, a Jesuit, was the choice of the College of Cardinals on Wednesday following two days of voting in Vatican City. He is the first pope to come from outside Europe in more than a millennium; reflecting the changing demographics of Catholics, he comes from Latin America.

    As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio attended Rosh Hashanah services at the Benei Tikva Slijot synagogue in September 2007.

    Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said that the new pope is a “warm and sweet and modest man” known in Buenos Aires for doing his own cooking and personally answering his phone.

    After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he “showed solidarity with the Jewish community,” Rosen said.

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  61. 58.

    What is his position on Liberation Theology?

    What is liberation theology?

    Is it a left-wing Catholic analogue of militant Islamism?

    Comment by Michael Ejercito (2e0217) — 3/14/2013 @ 7:22 am

    It’s actually the the Catholic equivalent of the Black liberation theology that so attracted Barack Obama to Rev. Wright’s TUCC. Neither are Christianity; they’re both Christian Heresies designed to yoke the “opiate of the masses” into the service of a socialist agenda. They even speak in similar patterns.

    The Latin American liberation theologians abhorred the fact that most Latin American Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary because it’s “non-transformative:”

    CatholicCulture.org: The Retreat of Liberation Theology

    This sensus fidei [Ratzinger uses the traditional term] means that to truly listen to the poor means accepting acts of traditional piety, often most prevalent among the poor, even if they seem old-fashioned or distinctly non-revolutionary. Again, the liberationists fail to live up to their own standards. Rather than “serving as the voice for the voiceless,” they seek to misdirect such popular piety toward an earthly plan of liberation. This, writes Ratzinger, leads the poor to another form of slavery, and is a “criminal” act (1986: para. 22, 98).

    Liberation theologians disparaged such things as processions, prayers to patron saints, and the veneration of Mary, among other popular forms of piety in Latin America, as “non-transformative.” When they discovered that Marian devotions were not going to go away, liberation theologians tried to limit Mary’s entire life to two verses from the Magnificat. [“The Lord has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away” Luke 1:52-53.]

    Only those parts of scripture that serve their political agenda are useful. The rest must be hidden (much like Democrats view the founding documents).

    And how is this similar to the way our “transformative” President speaks? Recall this from the 2008 campaign:

    “If people find [civil unions] controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.”

    His “faith” is a political agenda not too dissimilar to the Latin American agenda. Of course to his “faith” the book of Romans is obscure. He’s probably never heard it in any of the leftist Churches of Transformational Government he’s attended, since it doesn’t serve the cause of radically altering the political, social, and economic structure.

    James H. Cone, the inventor of liberation philosophy, only slightly modified liberation philosophy to fit his purposes; to serve a racial agenda and not class. He explains it in his book Black Liberation & Black Power:

    “Black Theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the Black Community. If God is not for us, and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of Black Theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the Black Community…

    … Black Theology will only accept the love of God which participates in the destruction of the White Enemy. What we need is divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal…

    …Unless God is participating in this Holy activity we must reject his love…

    In other words, not too different from Latin American liberation philosophy which was simply a way to pervert religion to claim it justified any means the poor found necessary (and by “poor” they didn’t mean “poor” but died-in-the-wool marxists who claimed to know what was best for the poor better than the poor so shut up, poor people) to destroy the “oppressors.” Just not necessarily on the basis of race, although anti-white hatred was a central feature of Chavismo since light skinned Venezuelans are seen as the ones who “didn’t build that” and owe the poorer darker skinned Venezuelans.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  62. In case it’s not obvious, if you actually belong to a Christian denomination that remains a Christian faith and not a political cause then there’s nothing obscure about Romans 1:24-28. The passage of the Bible Obama thinks should be ignored.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  63. It’s a deflection right out of Aaron Sorkin’s the West Wing, like that line about shellfish in Deuteronomy,

    narciso (3fec35)

  64. 63. I heard a Buenos Aires ‘Woman on the Street’ quote this AM following Argentinian Ok of SSM and yesterday’s election.

    She was hopeful that the new Pope’s “opinion” on the matter would be opposed.

    Seems good Catholics the world over are fuzzy on the ‘church authority’ issue, along with the emancipated.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  65. “… died-in-the-wool marxists who claimed to know what was best…”
    aka, The Vanguard of the Proletariat!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  66. Precisely askeptic.

    From the article I linked to earlier, “The Retreat of Liberation Theology:”

    Liberationists, for all their talk of “preferential option,” do not really listen to the poor. Supporters of liberation theology openly accept this point. Daniel Levine, for example, says that “serving as the ‘voice for the voiceless’ is not the same as listening to what the hitherto voiceless may have to say” (1990a: 71). Enrique Dussel voices a common attitude among liberationists when he says: “After having tried to lose themselves within the people, to identify with the people, [liberationists] come to understand that they must shake the people” (Burchaell, 1988: 266).

    Steve57 (60a887)

  67. Soime background to the election explained:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/342964

    In April 2005, the progressive party (which was a real party then) came to Rome after the death of John Paul II thinking it had the wind at its back and clear sailing ahead — only to find that the Ratzinger-for-pope party was well-organized; that Ratzinger had made a very positive impression by the way he had run the General Congregations of cardinals after John Paul II’s death; that he had deep support from throughout the Third World because of the courtesy with which he had treated visiting Third World bishops on their quinquennial visits to Rome over the past 20 years; and that, after his brilliant homily at John Paul’s funeral Mass, he was indisputably the frontrunner for the papacy.

    Confronted with this reality, the progressives panicked. Their first blocking move against Ratzinger was to try to run the aged Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J., emeritus archbishop of Milan, who was already ill with Parkinson’s disease and had retired to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. The idea was not to elect Martini pope; it was to stop the Ratzinger surge. Then, when Ratzinger blew past Martini with almost 50 percent of the vote on what was assumed to be the “courtesy” first ballot (where some votes are cast as gestures of friendship, esteem, etc.), and subsequently went over 50 percent the following morning, the panic intensified. Martini was summarily abandoned (or may have told his supporters to forget it). The progressives then tried to advance Cardinal Bergoglio — who was very much part of the pro-Ratzinger coalition; who embodied “dynamic orthodoxy,” just like John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger; who had been persecuted by his more theologically and politically left-leaning Jesuit brethren after his term as Jesuit provincial in Argentina (they exiled him to northern Argentina, where he taught high-school chemistry until rescued by John Paul II and eventually made archbishop of Buenos Aires); and who was doubtless appalled by the whole exercise on his putative behalf.

    It was a last-ditch blocking move, perhaps constructed around the idea that a Third World candidate like Bergoglio would peel off votes from Ratzinger. In any event, it was a complete misreading of the 2005 conclave’s dynamics and a cynical use of Bergoglio, who would almost certainly have been abandoned had the stratagem worked — and it failed miserably.

    Thus it may be safely assumed that the coalition that quickly solidified and swiftly elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope in 2013 had little or nothing to do with the eminent cabal that tried to use him in 2005.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  68. Bergoglio was a 30-1 longshot. Somehow, all the predictions assumed it would be somebody younger, although that should never have been more than a 50-50 proposition.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  69. The left is going to just love this guy:

    Pope Francis I promises to be strong pro-life world leader

    It may have been from this heart of familiarity with common man and the challenges that the modern person often faces that Cardinal Bergoglio commented on the plight of unwed mothers in Argentina. Less than a year ago, he made the following comments to his priests:

    In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites… Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!

    As Cardinal, Pope Francis strongly condemned abortion, including in rape cases

    “On the one hand, he has promoted the dignity of each woman and especially of women during pregnancy,” he added.

    In his archdiocese, Cardinal Bergoglio promoted a special blessing for mothers and their unborn children.

    Moreover, on behalf of the bishops of Latin America, also in 2007, Cardinal Bergoglio presented the “Aparecida Document” regarding the situation of the Church in their countries. The document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI in July of that year, made a very clear statement regarding the consequences of supporting abortion, disallowing holy communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians.

    The text states in paragraph 436 that “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”

    I wonder if Pope Francis will deny abortion-supporting, HHS mandate-loving Sheriff Joe communion when he heads the US delegation to the Vatican for his installation?

    Steve57 (60a887)

  70. Comment by Steve57 (60a887) — 3/14/2013 @ 1:29 pm

    “I will listen to the people when their voice sounds like mine!”

    or…..

    “The People have spoken, Damn Them!”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  71. Mr Ejercito wrote:

    It is the Church’s position that if you have a prisoner in custody, and sufficiently helpless that he cannot prevent his own execution, you have already satisfied the condition of “rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm.” Lethal force is allowable if someone is not helpless and is presenting an active threat to society, but a prisoner would never meet that definition.

    and prisoners never escaped or killed anyone, right?

    Sorry, but this would never pass as a reasonable argument, at least not by the Church. You are suggesting that capital punishment would be legitimate even though a prisoner is helpless, just because the authorities might fail in their jobs of keeping him incarcerated.

    The theologian Dana (3e4784)

  72. Dana, the theologian, I fear you are missing the point.

    Is it within the authority of the Pope to determine that capital punishment, which might otherwise be justifiable and is therefore not intrinsically evil per the catechism, no longer necessary because of modern advancements in the penal system?

    Even the Church teaches that isn’t a question it can decide. It’s up to the laity.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  73. It should not surprise me, but it does nonetheless, how many people are shocked that The Church selects someone as Pope that follows and believes in their teachings. So many friends think The Church should change their views to come into the 21st century.

    JD (4bb5d1)

  74. felipe wrote:

    “Not even Pope John Paul II who opined that conditions that warrant the death penalty are ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’”

    It should be well noted that a Pope’s opinions are just that: opinions. Opinions impose no obligation on the faithful. Nor do opinions represent the Church Universal’s position on any matter of faith and morals.

    The passages I cited were not from Pope John Paul II, but from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the authority of the Catechism:

    What is the doctrinal or teaching authority of the Catechism?

    The Catechism is part of the Church’s official teaching in the sense that it was suggested by a Synod of Bishops, requested by the Holy Father, prepared and revised by bishops and promulgated by the Holy Father as part of his ordinary Magisterium. Pope John Paul II ordered the publication of the Catechism by the Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum, on October 11, 1992. An apostolic constitution is a most solemn form by which popes promulgate official Church documents. The new Code of Canon Law, for example, was promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges. In Fidei Depositum, Pope John Paul II said, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” John Paul II also stated that the Catechism “is given as a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine.”

    Is the doctrinal authority of the Catechism equal to that of the dogmatic definitions of a pope or ecumenical council?

    By its very nature, a catechism presents the fundamental truths of the faith which have already been communicated and defined. Because the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine in a complete yet summary way, it naturally contains the infallible doctrinal definitions of the popes and ecumenical councils in the history of the Church. It also presents teaching which has not been communicated and defined in these most solemn forms. This does not mean that such teaching can be disregarded or ignored. Quite to the contrary, the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine as an organic whole and as it is related to Christ who is the center. A major catechism, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, presents a compendium of Church teachings and has the advantage of demonstrating the harmony that exists among those teachings.

    Emphases mine. The teachings of the Catholic Church on capital punishment are not just the opinions of John Paul II, though he certainly agreed with the statements made in the Catechism, but the official teaching of the Church.

    The catechumen Dana (3e4784)

  75. Leaving Michael Ejercito aside for the second, what “new measures” has society developed since the dark ages to render prisoners harmless?

    I’m not suggesting the death penalty is justified if you could render a prisoner truly helpless. I’m just wondering how that’s possible one.

    Inmate kills guard at Pennsylvania prison, officials say Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/26/inmate-kills-guard-at-pennsylvania-prison-officials-say/#ixzz2NcDiQaZQ

    This individual who killed the guard wasn’t a danger to society? Assuming a grand theft auto conviction or accepting a job as a prison guard doesn’t place you outside society.

    I suppose it’s more or less admirable for the Catholic Church to opine on such things, but exactly what advancements have been made to prevent really violent inmates from turning a five year prison stretch into a death sentence? Or the job of prison guard? And why do prisoners who weren’t sentenced to death and prison guards keep turning up dead? Given these “new measures” society can supposedly protect itself by?

    Steve57 (60a887)

  76. Mr 57 wrote:

    Dana, the theologian, I fear you are missing the point.

    Is it within the authority of the Pope to determine that capital punishment, which might otherwise be justifiable and is therefore not intrinsically evil per the catechism, no longer necessary because of modern advancements in the penal system?

    Actually, yes, it is. The Church may lack the civil authority to put that into law, but she certainly has the moral authority to state that the taking of a human life is unnecessary, and wrong, under such conditions.

    The arguments I have seen above remind me very much of the arguments expressed by the pro-abortion forces, who state, quite accurately, that nowhere in the Bible is Jesus quoted as saying that abortion is wrong, nor is such explicitly mentioned in the New Testament epistles, nor in the Old Testament laws. Exodus 21:22-25 describes an accidentally-caused miscarriage, but does not impose the same penalty as in the case of taking a life. We know and accept the Church’s position that abortion is intrinsically evil, yet that is a position which has developed over time, not something for which you can cite chapter and verse from the Bible.

    The Bible explicitly does provide for capital punishment, and does so for a number of crimes for which we would never impose it today, but it must be remembered, those laws were given to a nomadic people, wandering in the desert for forty years; the Israelites couldn’t exactly keep people securely jailed in tents.

    The Catechism addresses whether capital punishment is necessary, and it almost never is. Most of the people whom we sentence to death do die in prison, but of something other than execution, and most of the people convicted of murder in our country are not sentenced to death; it is clear, from those facts alone, that capital punishment is not necessary as a form of societal defense, because we have obviously survived without imposing it for every murder, or anywhere close to every murder. Not being necessary, the Church holds it to be the unjustifiable taking of a human life.

    The very Catholic Dana (3e4784)

  77. We know and accept the Church’s position that abortion is intrinsically evil, yet that is a position which has developed over time, not something for which you can cite chapter and verse from the Bible.

    So why was it not obvious either in the time of Moses or the time of Jesus?

    In any event, the Church would be overstepping its authority if it declared something intrinsically evil that God Himself never did. However…

    Exodus 21:22-25 describes an accidentally-caused miscarriage, but does not impose the same penalty as in the case of taking a life.

    God saw fit to impose a penalty for that.

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  78. Mr 57 cites the case of a prison guard slain by an inmate. However, the inmate who is going to be charged with the slaying was not in federal prison for murder, and thus was not eligible for capital punishment; suggesting that execution would have saved the slain officer had the inmate been executed is a non-starter because capital; punishment for him was never on the table.

    He was to be returned to the Arizona state prison system after he served his sentence in federal prison, to complete a life sentence for murder; Arizona, where Jessie Con-ui was tried and convicted of murder, did not see fit to sentence him to death.

    The extremely Catholic Dana (3e4784)

  79. The Catechism addresses whether capital punishment is necessary, and it almost never is.

    But the Church teaches it isn’t up to itself to decide when it is necessary.

    It’s up to the laity; civil authority which, hopefully, has a properly formed conscience to decide.

    “Almost never” means sometimes, sometimes, the death penalty is necessary.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  80. Dana @79, how does the fact a prisoner at a maximum security prison who wasn’t convicted of murder invalidate my point that the modern penal system can’t render prisoners harmless?

    Steve57 (60a887)

  81. *who wasn’t convicted of murder found a way to kill a guard*

    Steve57 (60a887)

  82. Mr Ejercito wrote:

    We know and accept the Church’s position that abortion is intrinsically evil, yet that is a position which has developed over time, not something for which you can cite chapter and verse from the Bible.

    So why was it not obvious either in the time of Moses or the time of Jesus?

    One could argue that it was, but was not written down as part of the law. The words we have recorded from Jesus are remarkably few. All that we can say that we know is that such was not recorded in the Bible.

    In any event, the Church would be overstepping its authority if it declared something intrinsically evil that God Himself never did.

    God did state that murder was intrinsically evil; the Church has stated, in effect, that the unborn are still living human beings, and thus the deliberate killing of the unborn falls under the Commandments.

    The Church has not stated that the execution of the unambiguously guilty for a capital crime is an intrinsic evil; the Church has stated that, under modern conditions, it is unnecessary and should not be done.

    The seminarian Dana (3e4784)

  83. Mr 57 wrote:

    how does the fact a prisoner at a maximum security prison who wasn’t convicted of murder invalidate my point that the modern penal system can’t render prisoners harmless?

    They are harmless to outside society, and, quite frankly, the prison system fouled up by allowing a condition to exist in which Mr Con-ui was able to assault a guard. I do note, however, that despite the murder, the prisoner was never able to get out of the prison and put the public in jeopardy.

    However, if I am to take your point at face value, then I must hold that every felon in any prison must be executed, regardless of for which crime he was imprisoned, because he might somehow kill a guard.

    The Dana making the obvious point (3e4784)

  84. 83. the Church has stated that, under modern conditions, it is unnecessary and should not be done.

    Comment by The seminarian Dana (3e4784) — 3/15/2013 @ 7:10 am

    What are these modern conditions?

    And please explain how the Church has become the authority on penology.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  85. Mr 57 wrote:

    the Church has stated that, under modern conditions, it is unnecessary and should not be done.

    What are these modern conditions?

    And please explain how the Church has become the authority on penology.

    Modern conditions are those in which we have static prisons, capable of permanent incarceration. And the Church does not claim expertise in penology; it claims authority on moral questions.

    This discussion has gotten skewed; the question has never been whether the Church has expertise on criminology, on penal conditions, or whether some prisoner, somewhere, just might escape. The point was, as you raised it originally, that the Church’s position on capital punishment was somehow just John Paul’s opinion, and in that, you were incorrect.

    It’s obvious that you believe the Church’s position is the wrong one, or impractical, or something, and it’s clear I’ll never persuade you otherwise. But your opinion that the Church’s stated position is the wrong one does not change the fact that it is the Church’s teaching on doctrine and morals. That teaching is very unlikely to change at any time soon, and certainly not under Pope Francis.

    The theologian Dana (3e4784)

  86. 84. However, if I am to take your point at face value, then I must hold that every felon in any prison must be executed, regardless of for which crime he was imprisoned, because he might somehow kill a guard.

    Comment by The Dana making the obvious point (3e4784) — 3/15/2013 @ 7:15 am

    No Dana. A prison is still part of society. It contains husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. Most of whom are going to re-enter the mainstream of society. I believe the Catholic
    Church has had occasion to say a thing or two about prisoners in the past.

    To point out that it’s a matter of prudential judgement for the laity to determine who might pose so much of a danger to society, even on the edge of society that is a prison, that the mechanism of self defense (the death penalty) might be imposed is not the same thing as license to kill.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  87. It’s obvious that you believe the Church’s position is the wrong one, or impractical, or something, and it’s clear I’ll never persuade you otherwise. But your opinion that the Church’s stated position is the wrong one does not change the fact that it is the Church’s teaching on doctrine and morals. That teaching is very unlikely to change at any time soon, and certainly not under Pope Francis.

    But the Church’s position hasn’t really changed. That’s the point. Bloodness means if possible was always the rule. It isn’t as if I ever deluded myself I could be a good Catholic and advocate the indiscriminate application of the death penalty even for murderers.

    Catholic catechism always taught that some murderers are so dangerous that the death penalty can be necassary. Nothing JPII ever wrote changed that. I’m merely pointing that out. He might have opined that the necessity of applying the death penalty was in most cases was “rare if practically nonexistent.” But that never actually changed anything as it already should have been rare if practically non-existent.

    But rare if practically non-existent means by any definition “sometimes.”

    Steve57 (60a887)

  88. Dana, if a 25 year old inmate who was served up a life term for murder and has already tacked on an additional life term or two for killing other prisoners and oh by the way has threatened guards and their families, are we bound by our catechism to conclude only bloodless means are allowed?

    “Nothing left to lose” takes on real meaning in such circumstances.

    Steve57 (60a887)

  89. 89. Christopher Scarver, Great American.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  90. There are passages in Jeremiah and Psalms, and perhaps in other places that I am unaware of, that clearly acknowledges the personhood of the child in the womb. If the child in the womb is indeed a person, it seems to me that any prohibition against premeditated murder would include abortion. David and Jeremiah, or perhaps rather God the Holy Spirit in inspiring the text, did not think it was above their pay grade to state whether or not the child in utero was a person (as opposed to…?), even though Jeremiah for one did not get paid much.

    As a non-Roman Catholic Christian, I have always believed the arguement can be made from Scripture that governmental execution of a murderer could be justified, at least in some aggravated circumstances, as consistent with the general idea of the dignity of life, consistent with a pro-Life stance. It is a societal statement on the value of life that those who take life wantonly have forfeited their own right to life. As said above, there is nothing in Scripture that I know of that says the official execution of a murderer is an intrinsic evil.

    But all of that is in reference to my understanding of scripture, not Roman Catholic teaching and the nuances of it.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  91. I found this story, through a Gawker link, ‘that den of scum and villainy’ but it helps explain some things;

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/full-statement-from-jesuit-kidnapped-by-argentine-junta-on-new-pope/?smid=tw-thelede&seid=auto

    narciso (3fec35)

  92. But your opinion that the Church’s stated position is the wrong one does not change the fact that it is the Church’s teaching on doctrine and morals.

    Of course it is wrong.

    By saying so, they are in direct opposition to God, who imposed the death penalty for various crimes like buggery and idolatry.

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  93. In this space I asked about Pope Francis’ position on “Liberation Theology“, since many Jesuits had embraced it.
    Mary Anastasia O’Grady ably answers that question in her Monday WSJ column “Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope“.
    Thank You, Mary!
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324077704578362701947035938.html

    askeptic (b8ab92)


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