Jul 6, 2005

LA-bound Roman 'missile'

O felix culpa! O happy fault! O gleeful gaffe!

In my haste to post what I thought were Pope Benedict's words about dissent from the Magisterium, I failed to recognize that the quotation cited in my previous post, "Roger, are you listening?", should have been attributed to the late Pope John Paul II. I consider the gaffe fortuitous, though, because Pope Benedict was citing words spoken by his beloved predecessor almost 20 years ago in ... you guessed it ... Los Angeles!

Now how awesome is that? And why, I ask, out of the massive body of writings left to us by John Paul II, did Benedict zero in on those particular words which were uttered in an L.A. seminary which Cardinal Mahony closed down years ago? A coincidence? Maybe not. Was this a warning shot, albeit semi-stealth, aimed in the direction of Cardinal Mahony's Archdiocese of Open Dissent?

VATICAN, July 5, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) -Speaking to the Bishops of the United States at Queen of Angels Seminary in Los Angeles [shut down by Mahony] on September 16, 1987, Pope John Paul II stated: "It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church's moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a 'good Catholic,' and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere."


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Of course, if Benedict (and the late Pope) were to have any credibility on the issue of "dissent" from the Magisterium, they'd have to abandon their "teaching" on capital punishment, which sacrifices both Scripture and Tradition to the late Pope's intellectual arrogance. Benedict aided and abetted this nonsense by putting the late Pope's prudential opinion on the issue in the Catechism. None other than Fr. Richard Neuhaus said that.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Clayton said...

There are in fact moral matters that require prudential judgment. This is a very Catholic idea, and not to be confused with compromise or diluting the truth.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Clayton, there's a big difference between Catholics making prudential judgements for themselves based on Church teaching and a Pope imposing his prudential judgement on an issue as de facto doctrine.

Recall Gen. 9:5-6. It's a divine imperative to execute murderers because murder is the ultimate descecration of the divine image in humanity. The Books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy make it clear that such a punishment 1)should only be executed through due process, not through vigilantism 2)fulfills the moral imperative of punishment proportional to the crime.

Take a look at any catechism written before Evangelium Vitae and you will see quite a difference.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Non Sum Dignus said...

Ahhh, the death penalty. This is (yet again) a real simple one.

No where, and I mean NO WHERE in official Catholic teaching does it state that I have the stain of sin on my Immortal Soul if I happen to adhere to the notion that DP is a correct form of punishment as The Church has defines for almost 2,000 years.

Cae in point, St. Dismas. Recall him saying to the Bad Thief "...we are getting what we deserve". Christ never refuted him. In fact, Christ's silence was deafening.

Domunis Vobiscum Y'all

2:43 PM  
Blogger Clayton said...

You may be missing the point.

The Pope didn't have reservations about the death penalty because of some belief that no one deserves it. As St. Paul tells us, every one of us is a sinner - and thus would deserve death - but that is not how God treats us. Mercy is this painfully incovenenient reality God puts in our path, when his Son dies on the Cross for each one of us. And then there's that bothersome verse in both Hosea and Matthew, "Go and learn the meaning of the phrase, it is mercy I desire, not sacrifice."

The Pope's treatment in Evangelium Vitae has to do with the fact that, in most modern societies, the system of incarceration is effective enough to protect the common good from further harm by the aggressor, and for this reason the death of the offender is no longer warranted.

3:43 AM  

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