Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Archbishop Dolan Redefining Human Dignity

The modernist crisis is alive and well within the Church hierarchy. In reading a recent article concerning Archbishop Dolan's teaching regarding human dignity and the death penalty, we can see what happens when the seminaries quit teaching Thomistic principles in moral theology. The archbishop nonsensically stated ,"“If even a man on death row has a soul, is a human person, an ‘is’ that cannot be erased even by beastly crimes he may have committed, then we ought not to strap him to a gurney and inject him with poison.” The Archbishop obviously does not understand that the death penalty cannot be against the dignity of the human person if carried out by a lawful authority. In fact it upholds it by sustaining the common good of society. If we read past documents by Saints and past Popes we all know that the death penalty does not in any way violate a person's "human dignity." Does the archbishop think himself wiser than St Thomas Aquinas, Pope Pius XII, or the entire Church of the year 1210 when it formally mandated that the Waldensians accept the use of the death penalty as a legitimate form of punishment? Did they think it contrary to human dignity? No.

St. Thomas Aquinas addressed this issue in depth long before Archbishop Dolan, and the Church has firmly stood by his point of view concerning this matter throughout the centuries. St. Thomas clearly views capital punishment as being in keeping with the fundamental principles of human dignity. If we read the ST 1-2.85 we can see how St. Thomas understands the effects of sin. He understands that even a criminal does not lose their fundamental dignity, which is that they are made in the image and likeness of God. This however never compelled St. Thomas to advocate abolishing capital punishment. What is true then is true now. Cultural variation does not change truth and Pope Pius XII told us this specifically in regard to capital punishment. (cf. Acta Apostolicae Sedis 47 (1955): 81-82.) The Archbishop here is clearly railing against 2000 years of the Church's voice repeatedly telling us that the death penalty does not in any manner violate human dignity. If it did, it would be malum in se, that is it would be evil in itself and it would never be justified as a licit moral act upheld by the Church in past centuries. When are the few Thomists that are left in the hierarchy going to challenge this kind of modernist theological rubbish? Is it not time that the seminaries and bishops honored Pope Leo XIII's wishes to restore Thomism to the Church?

"Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because "he most venerated the ancient doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all. The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith... But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull In Ordine; Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull Pretiosus, and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows lustre from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull Mirabilis that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors;...the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same."...We think it hazardous that its special honor should not always and everywhere remain, especially when it is established that daily experience, and the judgment of the greatest men, and, to crown all, the voice of the Church, have favored the Scholastic philosophy.

Moreover, to the old teaching a novel system of philosophy has succeeded here and there, in which We fail to perceive those desirable and wholesome fruits which the Church and civil society itself would prefer. For it pleased the struggling innovators of the sixteenth century to philosophize without any respect for faith, the power of inventing in accordance with his own pleasure and bent being asked and given in turn by each one. Hence, it was natural that systems of philosophy multiplied beyond measure, and conclusions differing and clashing one with another arose about those matters even which are the most important in human knowledge. From a mass of conclusions men often come to wavering and doubt; and who knows not how easily the mind slips from doubt to error? But, as men are apt to follow the lead given them, this new pursuit seems to have caught the souls of certain Catholic philosophers, who, throwing aside the patrimony of ancient wisdom, chose rather to build up a new edifice than to strengthen and complete the old by aid of the new-ill-advisedly, in sooth, and not without detriment to the sciences. For, a multiform system of this kind, which depends on the authority and choice of any professor, has a foundation open to change, and consequently gives us a philosophy not firm, and stable, and robust like that of old, but tottering and feeble.
 
Taken from Pope Leo III, Aeterni Patris

2 comments:

Neil Parille said...

What I find interesting is that this even goes beyond what the CCC says.

-NP

scotju said...

This nonsence about the death penalty being against the dignity of the human person by our so-called Catholic bishops sickens me big time. Has any of these bishops ever seen the body of a murder victim, especially one that was murdered in a very savage way? Perhaps they would gain a new perspective on "human dignity" if they would start visiting the morgues when they see some of the corpses of the members of their dioceses lying on an aotopsy table with all their wounds and bruises in plain sight!