Monday, 6 August 2018

Reflection on Francis' Magisterium

The only hermeneutic of continuity to be discerned in Francis' magisterium is the frequent recurrence to quoting his own works.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Some Thoughts on ''Developments'' and the Death Penalty

Since the Council we have continually been presented with a series of novelties that are described confidently as ''developments''. When we ask to know how a position can move from point A to point B, our opponents assume the worst caricatures of a crude Ultramontanism and dismiss our concerns as disobedience to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff.  Catholicism has an objective content that has been defined and systematically presented. The mysteries of faith certainly transcend the capacity of our minds - and that of the angels - but we do not hold to a gnostic cult of unintelligibility. I still await an adequate Catholic defence of Dignitatis Humanae. The most recent example is of Francis' amendment to Pope John Paul II's catechism on the matter of the death penalty which should cause grave concern to a faithful Catholic. Leaving aside the question (answered negatively) whether a catechism is infallible in itself, we are clearly facing a pope who sees no limits to his authority even when he stares down the weight of clear and consistent Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. What else is to be newly reconsidered in the light of changing historical circumstances? The Roman Catechism did not uphold capital punishment only to be necessary due to the dilapidated state of Neapolitan prisons.

 It is not permitted for a Catholic to retain the Faith and simultaneously claim that the death penalty is intrinsically evil - or a violation of human dignity which equates to the same thing. The opposition to the death penalty by Francis and our bishops is not based upon Catholic sources but rests upon vague secular notions of dignity that are incompatible with Divine Revelation and Christian morality. We are supposed to hold that there has been a growing appreciation of human dignity in our society, one in which abortion, sodomy, divorce and remarriage and euthanasia are lauded.  These aberrations of human activity are in no way demonstrative of an increasing devotion to human dignity as God conceived it. What is Holy Mother Church to learn from these people?

 John Paul II was on shaky -and uncatholic - ground when he held that capital punishment could only be inflicted for the safeguarding of public authority which he denied required it any longer due to societal developments. The traditional teaching of the Church is that the death penalty is a proportionate response of justice to an evil that is deserving of punishment. There must be some degree of correspondence between the act and its guilt and the castigation to be  incurred. This is clearly based on an objective understanding of the natural law and is divinely revealed in both Old and New Testaments.  Vindictive justice is - however unpleasant to the sentimental - a fundamental aspect of upholding human rights and an objective standard of goodness within society. The preservation of society from the wickedness of some is only an ancillary end. It can be likened to marriage as a remedy for carnal concupiscence. The true end of marriage is  of course procreation and the education of this offspring. A Catholic may in certain known circumstances oppose a declaration of death and favour mercy to the guilty, but he may not hold that it is always and everywhere inadmissible. One cannot hold that what was once a matter of divine sanction is now to be considered contrary to our Lord's teaching, without admitting a new revelation. Since public Divine Revelation has been completed with the death of St John, we can only see a corruption in doctrine which is in no way a development. It would be a torturous path for Cardinal Ladaria to show how the traditional teaching was somehow contrary to human dignity and yet in the same line of progression. It is his duty to explain - if he dares - how a development of doctrine is contained in this amendment. Our Lord endowed man with reason as well as constituted a sacred hierarchy in His Church.

 The Holy Father undermines his own authority by laying aside the teachings of his venerable predecessors, the Fathers and the Doctors and discarding the perennial doctrine of the Catholic Church on the intrinsic right of the public authority to impose the death penalty on those who are deserving of it. It is outrageous to charge these men with possessing a spirit of unjust vengeance unworthy of a Christian. Are we to alter our understanding of God's revelation when a Pope Pius XIII is elected? Are we to subscribe to a cult of the papacy that the early Protestants accused us of?

 May Catholic Tradition be restored and may a future General Council issue an anathema against this man.

It is not without justice that St Robert Bellarmine S.J. declares this opposition to be heretical. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Reflection on Papal Postivism

Catholicism has never concerned herself with the cult of a particular pope; but rather with the cultus of the Unchanging Word.