Evangelium Vitae “Time of Prayer and Forum” (25 March)

Australian Catholic University invites you to attend a time of prayer and public forum commemorating the 15th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) by Pope John Paul II.

Thursday 25th March 2010
Christ Lecture Theatre,
Australian Catholic University (Melbourne)
115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy
6.30pm-7pm

Time of prayer in Chapel led by Bishop Tim Costelloe SDB
7pm-7.30pm

Supper sponsored by ACU and The Order of Malta
(Victorian Association)

7.30pm-9pm
Forum with key note speakers

Bishop Tim Costelloe SDB (Auxiliary Bishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne)
Evangelium Vitae 15 years on – A pastoral response

Ms Jo Grainger (Healthcare ethicist, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery (Vic), ACU)
The challenges of fostering a culture of life in a ‘culture of death’

Dr Mary Walsh (Melbourne GP specialising in women’s health, obstetric shared-care, paediatrics and care of the aged)
Evangelium Vitae for health professionals

For more information and RSVP
Email: jo.grainger@acu.edu.au

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Evangelium Vitae “Time of Prayer and Forum” (25 March)

  1. Will some of that prayer be in reparation for His late Holiness’s trashing of the Traditional (not to mention natural-law) doctrine on the death penalty? Thanks to him we now have the situation where many, probably most, Catholics, even supposedly conservative Catholics, denounce capital punishment as ‘barbarous’ and ‘uncivilised’ (see my blog’s “death penalty” tag for more) and greet its abolition as a ‘sign of hope’–as though murderers and rapists going without adequate punishment were something to celebrate!

    “It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.”
    [Evangelium vitae, Section 56, Paragraph 2,
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html%5D

    Nonsense–the death penalty should be carried out whenever justice demands it, which obviously it does at least in the case of murder, and when its execution would not provoke greater evils. If these two conditions are present then the death penalty should be carried out, regardless of whether the State could have defended society by, say, life imprisonment.

    “In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: “If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person”.”
    [Evangelium vitae, Section 56, Paragraph 3,
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html%5D

    More nonsense:
    1. How can a universal Catechism purport to know the “concrete conditions of the common good” as they exist in any given society at any given time?
    2. “… are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person”–on the contrary: There is ontological dignity and there is operative dignity. The death penalty is more in conformity with a grave malefactor’s operative dignity, because he lost his operative dignity by his wrongdoing and has thereby shown himself worthy (worth=dignity) of the proportionate punishment, and it is more in conformity with his ontological dignity, because it treats him as responsible, and fully responsible, for his actions and makes sure that his entire freely-incurred debt of justice is paid (by which he can also regain some of his operative dignity).

    • His late Holiness’s trashing of the Traditional (not to mention natural-law) doctrine on the death penalty

      You unfairly denounce Pope Paul VI. He did not “trash” the teaching regarding the death penalty. You yourself say that the “traditional” doctrine was that “the death penalty should be carried out whenever justice demands it”. What both Pope Paul and Pope John Paul asked States to consider is “when does justice demand” the death penalty? Considering the dignity of every human life, even the life of offenders against life, one might well conclude that while Divine justice can demand such the death of such an offender, human justice (being somewhat more fickle) can never be so determined.

      Tonight I went to mass and heard the story of the woman caught in adultery. I will comment more on this separately. Divine Justice, according to the Torah, demanded that she be stoned to death. Jesus showed Divine mercy, which is greater than Divine justice. Let us, then, mirror Divine mercy wherever and whenever possible – as both Popes and the Catechism urge us to do.

      • “[I] unfairly denounce Pope Paul VI.”

        I denounce (the writing of) John Paul II, and fairly, as I will show now again.

        “[I my]self say that the “traditional” doctrine was that “the death penalty should be carried out whenever justice demands it”.”

        With the other important condition that, as I said, “its execution … not provoke greater evils”. An authority may tolerate the injustice of a malefactor going unpunished, or inadequately punished, if the evils consequent on punishment were foreseen to outweigh the evil of non-punishment.

        “What … Pope John Paul asked States to consider is “when does justice demand” the death penalty?”

        No, justice demands that everyone receive his due, and proportionate rewards are due for good deeds and proportionate punishments are due for bad deeds, whereas John Paul II concluded that what is solely relevant is the consideration of ‘when does the defence of society demand’ the death penalty. You seem to acknowledge that I was right in saying that the Traditional doctrine can be stated as “the death penalty should be carried out whenever justice demands it … and when its execution would not provoke greater evils.” Yet the Johannopauline doctrine can be stated fairly and accurately as “the death penalty should be carried out when, and only when, the defence of society demands it.” Don’t you see how irreconcilable these two doctrines are?

        “Divine Justice, according to the Torah, demanded that she be stoned to death. Jesus showed Divine mercy, which is greater than Divine justice.”

        Our Lord showed Divine mercy by assuming human nature and paying superabundantly the debt which the human race incurred against Divine justice and by applying the fruits of that Redemption to people by the Sacraments and indulgences. My point in saying that is that one way or another, Divine justice must be satisfied; Divine mercy does not cancel out Divine justice in the way a creditor might arbitrarily say to a debtor ‘you no longer owe me anything’, rather, it (or rather, He) takes on the debt and pays it for the debtor.