Well, Pope Francis is certainly no saint and, in fact, takes on the title Vicar of Christ (literally “Christ’s representative, or in the place of Christ”). He’s clearly a Socialist, something that has absolutely nothing in common with the Bible, and now he’s attacking the very thing that the Bible deems as actual justice for a handful of crimes, the death penalty. Having had the Roman Catholic Church’s catechism updated to reflect official Catholic teaching (amazing since true Roman Catholics believe these guys actually speak for God ex-cathedra), Francis is now backing “abolition worldwide” of the death penalty in keeping with the changes made in the catechism.
The Bible is replete with direction from the Creator to deal in capital punishment in a handful of crimes, but those crimes must either be confessed to or there must be two or three witnesses.
The RCC had previously held to the death penalty for several crimes for hundreds of years.
However, the new catechism for the Roman Catholic Church reads:
“Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.”
It also adds that the death penalty is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”
Francis has not been the first pope to oppose the death penalty which should be one of a plethora of things that should open people’s eye to his fallibility, just as any other pope. Benedict XVI and John Paul II were also against the death penalty.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
But Francis decided to leave no room for doubt in the catechism during a meeting this year with Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the head of the church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The change reflects the “clearer awareness of the church for the respect due to every human life,” Ladaria said in an open letter Thursday. The church wanted to energize the campaign against the death penalty, he wrote.
If the death penalty were once justified to keep the public safe from criminals, jails were now more secure and “the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the criminal” was now a higher priority,” Ladaria wrote.
Father Tom Reese, a Jesuit priest and Vatican expert, said the change is expected to see some opposition from conservative Catholics in the United States.
“The loophole has until now been a reason not to speak up, but the next time there is a horrendous criminal due to be executed, perhaps for a school shooting, bishops will have a duty to say this shouldn’t be done,” he said.
There is no biblical basis for a prison system. The prison system is about as unjust a system as one can get. Not only is the inmate treated like an animal and placed in a cage, but those who are victims and law-abiding citizens have their property and liberty held hostage for taxes to pay to keep them up. There is no justice in a prison system.
The death penalty was prescribed in the Old Testament in the following passages.
- 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)
In some cases, the did not become matters of crime that were addressed by the civil magistrates due to the fact that some may not bring the case to be judged. We have the example of Joseph in the New Testament, who clearly thought Mary had engaged in adultery which would have resulted in a death penalty (Deuteronomy 22) because of breaking of the vows of their betrothal, but he was called a “just man” for not seeking the death penalty but rather looking to put her away secretly (Matthew 1:19). Similar things could be said of how God dealt with David over his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:1-13).
The point is that the death penalty, when properly administered is not only just, but is a mercy to the people it protects. It ensures that those who engage in crimes that deserve a capital punishment never perform that crime against another person again.
Furthermore, before I hear anyone say Jesus did away with the death penalty, and will point to the allegations of the woman caught in adultery, but I tell you that He could not violate one jot or tittle of the law till all was fulfilled. So, if you want to hold to that position, you are doing nothing more than ridding Christ of His blamelessness.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20
No, Jesus knew what the law said, and he followed it, even in that instance and pointed out not only the hypocrisy of the men who brought the woman to Him, but also their guilt of breaking the very same law. For more on that, I recommend you read this article.
To drive home the message, Jesus expressly pointed out that the law demanded the death penalty for the son who failed to honor his mother and father, and no, he wasn’t talking about little children. He was speaking of grown men and pointed the finger at the religious leaders of his day indicating they were worthy of the same.
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, ‘What you would have gained from me is given to God,’ he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” – Matthew 15: 1-9
Christ was only upholding what He had given to Moses.
“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.” – Exodus 21:17
“For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.” – Leviticus 20:9
The pope is off on this one, many Christians are off on this one and many who represent us in government are off on this one. I am cautious about the death penalty in that it is a serious penalty and I believe it should be best handled in local communities and that it not be done in a back room, but rather the people are the ones to carry it out after judgment has been pronounced. That too, is biblical in order to teach us to fear not doing the same thing that the condemned engaged in (Romans 13:1-5;
Sadly, because in our day it can literally take decades before criminals worthy of capital punishment are put to death, there is no fear of committing the crime. This too demonstrates the truth of the Scriptures.
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” -Ecclesiastes 8:11
It would do the pope good to actually read and give heed to what the Word of God actually says rather than thinking he is God and can just make up law and punishments himself. He’s only probing his own depravity.
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