I hear the neo-Catholics saying that the current Catechism is infallible therefore anyone who goes against Francis' new condemnation of Capital Punishment is going against a doctrine of the Church. However, they paint themselves in a corner. If the new Catechism cannot err, that means that the old Catechism of Trent cannot err. Notice one clearly says the death penalty is a legitimate, "lawful" punishment in lieu of the crime committed. The other says that this long held idea is no longer admissible.
In case you are one of those who may be wringing their hands over the meaning of "inadmissible" it means simply, "not able to be allowed or considered". The Latin in case you were wondering is "non posse admitti." This means, "not to be able to be admitted." No beating around the bush here, it means you can't do it! I don't care if that word has not been used before, it means what it means! All of this microscopic examination of the term cannot change what it means. More importantly, why can't it be done according to Francis?, "because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." This would make the act never permissible, or as he has worded it, never admissible, inadmissible. Again, we know this cannot be otherwise the Roman Catechism of Trent would have been teaching a heresy by saying that it was a legitimate act supported by the Church and Sacred Scripture. Could the Church have been supporting acts against human dignity for 2000 years? If you believe that,...
Catechism of Trent
Execution Of Criminals
Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.
New Francis Catechism
The death penalty
“2267. 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.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.
Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
So what are we to make of these two contradictions? Simply put, the Trent Catechism bases its teaching on the perennial teaching of the Church substantiated by things like Sacred Scripture, the Church Fathers, Councils and the like. The Trent Catechism does this clearly. This new entry by Francis does not base its teaching on anything other than Francis himself and his perceived idea of a "development of doctrine" which contradicts perennial Church teaching. See the source provided by Francis, himself. "FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5." Which one seems more credible?