Saint Thomas Aquinas

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mark Shea Has Spoken, The Case Is Closed

I'll let you chew on this comment by the self proclaimed "Catholic apologist" Mark "the Magisterium of One" Shea regarding capital punishment. It comes from this latest post on his blog, which I will address when I get a chance over the next few days. Until then, let these words of the bombastic Shea sink in a bit. One has to wonder how many times Shea has to make a fool of himself before he will go away. Stay tuned for my retort.


"The bottom line is and remains this: The Church does not say the death penalty is intrinsically immoral. So what? The Church is on the side of saving and redeeming human life, not snuffing it out for the sake of cost efficiency. So the Magisterium--that would be the teaching office of the Church founded by Jesus Christ to conserve and articulate the Tradition--urges minimal use of the death penalty with an eye toward abolishing wherever possible. That is the teaching of the Church and those who are at war with this teaching are, in fact, dissenting Catholic every bit as much as those who are at war with the Church's teaching on contraception.... To embrace the DP is, at the end of the day, to say "Better the innocent should perish than the guilty survive." I don't buy that "Kill all! God will know his own!" moral reasoning. Neither do two Popes and virtually all of the world's bishops."
Mark Shea

9 comments:

Neil Parille said...

I love this quote:

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For, of course, the actual biblical teaching is that Jesus promises paradise to the one who placed his faith in Him, not to those who place their faith in the death penalty. Such enthusiasts for killing never seem to get around to acknowledging the corollary to their argument: namely, that not just the death penalty, but crucifixion is, by their twisted logic, sanctioned as legitimate.

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This guy is a buffoon.

Shame on Jimmy Akin, Crisis, National Catholic Report (or is it Register) and all the people who link to this guy or publish his garbage.

@GodnChzburgers said...

Mark Shea is right about the Church's teaching on the death penalty:

2267 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 your the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to 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 definitely 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."

From this paragraph it seems pretty clear that the Church would have us err on the side of mercy and life, giving the truly guilty a chance at repentance in this life for God "desires that all men be saved."

Censor Librorum said...

How dare any of you doubt the infallibility of the Digesterium of Shea!

Well, if you do, you might as well join us: http://www.facebook.com/groups/bannedbymarkshea/

SacredHeart1220 said...

This opposition to the death penalty is a very recent change for the Church. Pope Pius XII was very plain and consistent in upholding the use of the death penalty throughout the 1950s.

The death penalty, if administered as a matter of justice and recompense, is totally moral. There are many things people do that morally deprive them of their right to their own life. It is the misapplication of the death penalty: putting to death the innocent because of legal failings in the process like the US and using the death penalty as an instrument of political or religious persecution largely by Muslims and Communists, targeting of racial or ethnic groups, etc.

I actually don't agree with Pope John Paul II's logic in Evangelium Vitae about the intrinsic value of human life. I think it suffices to say that the death penalty is more often than not misapplied, and given the modern world's ability to reliably incarcerate people for life, it simply should be gotten rid of in order to put moral force on Islam and Communism and ethnic separatists to stop using the death penalty as an instrument of persecution. It is only incidental that the US does such a bad job of killing people for crimes, in such an inefficient way so prone to errors.

Matthew Bellisario said...

No, Shea is not right about the Church's teaching, and a one liner from the Catechism or an encyclical does not make you an authority on the matter. In fact, the present Pope has said that the stance taken by the Church in recent times can be debated and does not put one at odds with the Church. Shea however has just excommunicated everyone who does not agree with his view on the matter, which is laughable at best, and dangerous to those who actually think that he knows what he is talking about. I will be presenting a complete rebuttal to Shea's nonsensical post soon. Just because you own a Catechism does not make one an authority on doctrine and dogma.

Martin S. said...

Perfect unity is impossible I understand. The work of perfecting our tradition is ongoing and so this issue is obviously a good work per se. We want our tradition to be coherent and the best it can possibly be so it can best orient our lives, and those not currently within the Church in the most life-giving way. We know nothing is more robust for this purpose that Catholic orthodoxy.

It seems we see our cultural context differently though.

As a final comment: Couldn't our vehemence be reserved for 'National Catholic Reporter' types? Wouldn't that be a more proportionate response to doctrinal deviation? Don't we need to take account of the Church's standing in society? It is almost as if the treatment of Shea were being carried out as if the traditions of the Church dominated cultural life and so this issue's importance would be magnified - affect more lives.

We're told by the Pope in his exhortations to the new evangelism that there is a crisis. We should take our cue from him. Refine our understanding of natural indeed but in a manner fitting to the broader context.

The Holy Father is calling us to form alliances, platoons/battalions if you will, to work not under the economy of scarcity 'the cultural pie of catholic cultural influence is small so we must fight over it' rather 'the effects of working together under the economy of the Kingdom isn't additive but exponential!'.

Surely Shea's ability to mount attacks against our anti-culture completely swamps any errors he might make in his grasp of natural law.

Aren't we all laboring under pretty difficult conditions. Fr Schall's words ought to be bracing.

My hope is that we can all avoid nasty persecution for ourselves and our children so my hope is that laborers like yourselves and Mark Shea can work together really constructively in each other's interest. We have genuine enemines within and without the church. Mark Shea isn't one of them. The language used towards him is unhelpful.

If some Catholic bloggers are punchy and quick to take offense it might be because they suffer from attacks from roaming bunches of the anti-God squad or gay mafia - it is likely a surival instinct and psychological necessity.

When this site goes from strength to strength and has to deal with the hoardes you will need each other.

Best wishes.

Matthew Bellisario said...

"Surely Shea's ability to mount attacks against our anti-culture completely swamps any errors he might make in his grasp of natural law. "

Martin, I disagree. If you read the post I just put up refuting Shea's post, you will see why. Shea is making moral pronouncements that he has no business doing. He is causing more damage to the Church than most who are outside the Church.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

I hope you will all consider this piece I wrote on the subject for Front Page Magazine when the Vatican protested the execution of Saddam Hussein:

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=1463

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

What makes the Church's revisionist teaching on this matter so risable is the fact that the Church is shifting the focus from the fundamental dignity of the divine image in human life (which God reinforced by decree in Genesis 9:5-6) to the state's ability to protect its citizens (which certainly varies).

Even worse, the Church (through the CCC) is behaving as if it were Oceania's Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984: We have always been at war with Eurasia...I mean, East Asia...I mean, errr....

Besides, Shea's remark about equating opposition to capital punishment with opposition to birth control is the exact, same argument Absp. Chaput made when he criticized Supreme Court Justice Scalia's skepticism about the change.

This whole convoluted, revisionist gobbledygook is not only a stain against a Church that claims to revere serious thought. It's an abomination to a holy, righteous God Who "instituted the rules" in the first place!

Just look at Shea's comment about the Church not supporting an abolitionist attitude, when he admitted on another blog that Benedict did support abolition!

As far a Shea goes, he is not an apologist. He is a parrot.