Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Edward Feser on Capital Punishment

Check out this article. It is Edward Feser's response to Christopher Tollefsen's view on capital punishment. Tollefsen unreasonably holds that the death penalty is completely contrary to human dignity.  Feser presents the proper teaching of the Church on this matter in his article. Below are a few points of thought taken from the article.

Traditionally, the aims of punishment are threefold: retribution, or inflicting on a wrongdoer a harm he has come to deserve because of his offense; correction, or chastising the wrongdoer for the sake of getting him to change his ways; and deterrence, discouraging others from committing the same offense. Retribution is necessarily the most fundamental...
If wrongdoers deserve punishment and the punishment ought to be proportional to the offense, then at some point we are going to reach a level of criminality for which capital punishment is appropriate at least in principle. To claim that no crime could justify capital punishment—to claim, for instance, that a cold-blooded genocidal rapist can never even in principle merit a greater punishment than the lifelong imprisonment inflicted on a bank robber—is implicitly to give up the principle of proportionality and, with it, any coherent conception of just punishment...
It is one thing merely to assert that capital punishment is against human dignity; it is quite another actually to show that it is...

What is intrinsically wrong is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. That is why, contrary to what Tollefsen insinuates, those who oppose abortion and euthanasia but support capital punishment are perfectly consistent in their thinking...

Above quotes taken from Edward Feser's article, 'In Defense of Capital Punishment' 2011

5 comments:

hi there said...

I'm so glad I found this site. Our Bishop here in Arkansas is always saying the no Catholic can support the death penalty. He's a real leftist

Adrienne said...

I've just spent over an hour reading different posts on this site. I blame you for keeping me from my work, but I won't hold it against you.

Because...

anyone who is willing to go toe-to-toe against Mark Shea has earned a place in my heart. Besides, the posts I read were really good and the work waiting to be done is spreading manure on my lawn. Which would any sane person choose?

Back when the whole Corapi thing started, I read some of Mark's posts, as well as Elizabeth Scalia and Deacon Kandra. I was so appalled it actually made me a bit sick to my stomach.

When they tired of ripping into him, based on nothing more than their "feelings", they started in on Michael Voris. Then additional priests were made a focus of their vileness.

I hadn't read these self-proclaimed "apologists" (Shea and company) in years, having ascertained that they were a bit "full of themselves", but was led there inadvertently by other sites such as Pewsitter.

I believe that it is people such as these that are doing the most damage to our faith. Poorly catechized Catholics read their drivel and use it to form their consciences - and not in a good way.

Now I see that Mr. Shea will be joining the other two at Patheos, a site I think is strange as any I've ever seen.

As I used to tell my RCIA classes, "I'll always tell you when something is my opinion vs Church teaching." So here's my opinion of that site - FWIW. When you put a bunch of blogs together, each with their own religion being spouted, each of them is giving tacit approval to the others opinion. Therefore, in the interest of being politically correct, the Catholic portal is saying, "I think your viewpoint is just as legitimate as mine - only different."

The real upside for Mr. Shea, as stated on his blog, is that he will make a bit of money. I'm sure it will not be enough to replace the begging on his site. Maybe he should try getting a real job.

Cheers...

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks for the kind words Adrienne. The problem with these apologists is that they sometimes overestimate their level of expertise regarding Church documents and so forth. This is not something that anyone can take lightly since those who are reading the material can be mislead if they mess up. I am sorry to have kept you from your yard work! Back to the manure! :)

Adrienne said...

"they sometimes overestimate their level of expertise regarding Church documents and so forth."

Having delved deeply into myriad Church documents, I discovered the more you know sometimes the less you know. It's the main reason I quit blogging on Catholic matters and read very few "Catholic" blogs.

Politics suits my combative personality better... ;-)

Nick said...

This confusion about the DP being on par with abortion is a satanic trick to divide, confuse, and hurt Catholicism and prolife attempts. It adds a whole cloud of confusion over what is actually very clear.

As for the life-sentence approach, this is almost an Achilles's heel for the Shea types, because I don't see anywhere where the Church has said life-sentence is the default alternative to DP. In fact, it can easily be argued that life-sentence is totally against human dignity by reducing the person to a caged animal. How can someone "learn their lesson" when they know they're locked up for good?