(for use by policemen, traffic wardens, etc.)

Æthelred

Bee

Chthonic

Dew

Ewes

Fillip

Gym

Heir

Isle

Jinn

Knew

Llandudno

Mnemonic

Not

Oestrogen

Psittacosis

Queue

Rack

Sell

Tea

Use

Volkerwanderung

Wrest

Xenon

Yews

Zeno

 

 

As everyone is aware Pope Francis has ordered the insertion of a new section into the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
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[1] 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.
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As is also well known, scripture and the entire tradition of the Church teach the admissibility in principle of the death penalty. The admissibility in principle of the death penalty is thus a dogma. It rests upon Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13:4 as unanimously interpreted by the fathers and the teaching office down to 2013.
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If the new 2267 denies the legitimacy in principle of the death penalty then it is heretical and Pope Francis must be forced to recant or be deposed.
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It is obvious, given Pope Francis’s other comments elsewhere, that what he means in this new passage is that bad rigid Catholics in the past held that the death penalty is licit in principle but now we understand the Gospel better and see that it neither is permissible nor ever was. The consideration about ‘more effective systems of detention’ simply removes a factor which mitigated the guilt of the preceding error and now does so no longer. ‘Human dignity’ is the reason for the inadmissibility in principle of the death penalty and more effective systems of detention are the occasion for our perception of this. This is clearly heretical on the material point and modernist in the nature of dogma.
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However, the passage does not have to be interpreted in this way. It could be read to mean that more effective systems of detention are the reason for the inadmissibility here and now (and only here and now) of the death penalty and a greater consciousness of human dignity (perhaps in reaction against the culture of death) is the occasion for our perception of this contingent inadmissibility.
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This second interpretation is quite licit for a Catholic to hold. However, it is quite wrong for this view (that the death penalty is illicit at this moment because of contingent circumstances) to be taught in a magisterial document. This is because the question of whether the death penalty is licit here and now is a contingent question of the application of principles to particular circumstances of the civil order and such questions are proper to the laity. While the pope is free to have opinions on such subjects he may not express them as pope for as pope he is forbidden to wield the temporal sword except in necessity. Sadly, St John Paul II’s 1997 text is also guilty of this misuse of the teaching office.
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Thus it is possible for a Catholic to hold that the view presented in the new CCC2267 is (if taken literally and in isolation and then interpreted in a very particular way) reconcilable with dogma. Nevertheless, the passage is not thereby acceptable as teaching because the expression of an opinion on this subject in an official capacity by the pope is ultra vires and, indeed, a usurpation.
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On the other hand, the only authority cited in the new section is “Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017” and in this address Pope Francis remarks:
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“It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.  It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which – ultimately – only God is the true judge and guarantor.”
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This statement is indeed heretical and it is the only ‘authority’ cited for the new CCC2267. Pope Francis personally must therefore be interpreted as denying the legitimacy in principle of the death penalty. It is consequently impossible to avoid the conclusion that Pope Francis must be forced to recant or deposed and any Cardinal who now omits to take this step sins gravely by omission.

Just before the year 1300, Blessed Mechtilde was asked by a certain brother to put this question to our Lord in prayer: “Where are the souls of Samson, Solomon, Origen and Trajan?” He answered her: “That which My love has done with the soul of Samson, I wish to be unknown, that men may fear to avenge themselves further upon their enemies. What My mercy has done with the soul of Solomon, I wish to be hidden from men, so that they may the rather shun carnal sins. What My kindness has done with the soul of Origen, I wish to be hidden, so that no one, trusting in his own science, should dare be lifted up. And what My generosity has commanded concerning the soul of Trajan, I wish men not to know, that the Catholic faith may thereby be the more extolled: for although he was excellent in all virtues, he lacked Christian faith and baptism” (quoted by Cornelius a Lapide, Commentary on Ecclesiasticus, 47:22).

Aelianus once suggested to me that the principal difference between the elves and the men in Tolkien is not their nature but their end: the elves are directed by God to a merely natural end, whereas the men are directed to a supernatural end. This is why the elves are destined to remain in Arda, that is, on earth, since they can find there all that is necessary for them to achieve their goal, whereas men by ‘the gift of Iluvatar’, that is, by death, go elsewhere, the elves know not whither.

Savonarola suggested – though Bellarmine didn’t like it – that the inhabitants of Limbo would after the resurrection have dealings with the saints, sharing at least some of the same space and speaking to them.

Since those in Limbo have the same nature as the saints, but only attain a natural end, they would be after the resurrection rather similar to Tolkien’s elves. It is true that those in Limbo had a supernatural end insofar as they are members of the human race, but they were never personally proportioned to the beatific vision by receiving any actual grace, and so they would not experience any longing for it, or have any sense that their natural fulfilment was insufficient for them.

(Garrigou-Lagrange claims in various places that those in Limbo have a will that is averted from God as their supernatural end, and that by this fact that their will is also averted from God as their natural end. If this were true then their lot would seem to be very unpleasant, but I don’t know why he says it. Original sin implies an absence of charity in the will, but not a state of ‘having turned away from God’ in it.)

We can be tempted to imagine the inhabitants of Limbo after the resurrection as being like over-grown children, or like the adults on earth who have Down’s syndrome. But this would be quite wrong. Their intellects would function excellently, and their wills would love God with a natural love, and each other with noble friendship, and their emotions would be in complete harmony with reason. God might even give them certain natural gifts that the saints would not possess, such as the gift of writing beautiful poetry or singing beautiful songs in honour of creation. Or even if the saints could do the same, their would surely be a style of speech and song unique to those who live by nature alone, in a natural purity of heart, yet without desire of friendship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; just as the saints  have no desire, for example, to be higher in glory than they are, or to have been the redeemer of the world.

If we put, then, Aelianus’s and Savonarola’s suggestion together, we come up with the question of this post: shall we see elves?

“….to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practised the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which admittance to consecration is not possible.”

 

Transgender people should not have to go through an “invasive” medical process to prove their change in gender, the Prime Minister has said.

Theresa May also apologised for her voting record on gay rights, admitting: “There are some things that I voted for in the past that I shouldn’t have done.”

[…]

The Prime Minister said: “Last year, I committed to carrying out a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act and I’m pleased to be able to launch that today. What was vert clear from our survey is that transgender people across the UK find the process of legally changing their gender overly bureaucratic and invasive. I want to see a process that is more streamlined and de-medicalised – because being trans should never be treated as an illness.”

The 16-week public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in England and Wales came after the launch of a new £4.5 million LGBT action plan, including a ban on so-called “gay-cure” conversion therapies.

The recent furore over the Polish supreme court brought to mind the general question of  Denazification. One of the justifications offered by PiS  for the clean-out of the court is the fact that this process was not properly undertaken in the early nineteen nineties. If a general restoration were to occur in a given country what measures would be necessary? It seems essential (and many people privately agree) that on the Nuremberg principle abortionists should be prosecuted and, where appropriate, given the death sentence for their crimes. This would not exclude the possibility of commutations or pardons for those who have renounced ‘choice’ in favour of life. What is less often observed is that those who have advocated abortion need to be disqualified from holding public office and the advocacy of abortion, euthanasia etc. in future must be prosecuted as incitement to murder. The procuring of an abortion by a mother cannot coherently not be recognised as a criminal offence but given the social pressures and evidential difficulties this should not (unlike the surgical act itself) be prosecuted retrospectively. Those who have performed ‘sex-change’ operations should be prosecuted even retrospectively for GBH.