Nothing asserted in Scripture read in light of the New Testament excludes the conclusion that capital punishment is inherently wrong. Nor does any definitive Church teaching. But the new revision of the Catechism, while removing from view an evident instability, remedies none of the underlying tensions and seems likely to obscure the only path to a teaching fully stabilized by adopting that conclusion authoritatively, as an authentic development of doctrine. And the revisionary documents are in other ways disconcerting. Part two of a two-part essay.
The Catholic Catechism’s new section on capital punishment makes no substantive change of teaching. Nor did the 1997 amendment of that section. The 1992 Catechism did change traditional teaching on killing, whether in war, police actions or judicial executions. That authoritative change, partly initiated by Pius XII, has sufficient theological warrants, but it is little understood and needs much more attention. Its logical conclusion is that capital punishment is inherently wrong. But that has not yet been taught. Part one of a two-part essay.
The whole of Grisez’s account of this sense of Christian philosophy repays study, not least as an exploration of the shape that philosophic wonder first takes in a Catholic educated by a warmly believing household; and then of the place of audacious questioning in a Christian faith firmly held for love of God and in hope for God’s Kingdom.
Catholic sexual ethics are as fully reasonable today as they were in the time of St Paul. In fact, the natural law understanding of human fulfillment is inherently intelligible even without a theistic framework.
It is morally indefensible for Catholic institutions to recognize and incentivize same-sex marriages by extending marriage benefits to employees who declare themselves legally married to a person of the same sex.
The equality that demands same-sex marriage demands that all social recognition of the distinction between mothers and fathers—of the paternal and the maternal, the masculine and the feminine, and of the sexual identity of everyone as male or female—must be systematically expunged, to be replaced by the lies and seductions of “gender identities” on the ever more blurry rainbow spectrum.
In an article adapted from his debate last week with Peter Singer and Maggie Little on the moral status of the “fetus,” Professor Finnis explains that outside of medical contexts use of the word “fetus” is offensive, dehumanizing, prejudicial, and manipulative. It obscures our perception of moral reality. Moral status is not a matter of choice or grant or convention, but of recognition, of someone who matters, and matters as an equal, whether we like it or not.