PopeWatch: Life Sentence


Pope Francis is not only against the death penalty, he is also against life sentences:


“All Christians and people of goodwill are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms, but also for the improvement of prison conditions in the respect of the human dignity of those who have been deprived of freedom. I link this to the death sentence. In the Penal Code of the Vatican, the sanction of life sentence is no more. A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed”.


PopeWatch has no doubt that Pope Francis has great compassion for those criminals incarcerated for life for truly heinous crimes.  PopeWatch does doubt if the Pope understands in the slightest that his unwillingness to support life sentences for even the most heinous of crimes might be viewed by people like the parents of Stephanie Neiman, go here to read about her, as utterly lacking in compassion.

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  1. It is the logical end of such thinking. One wonders if a 20 year sentence for a young murderer will become a “life sentence.”

  2. father of seven – blasphemy? are you nuts?
    Charles Manson can stay in jail for life or go live in the Vatican. This Pope is a cuckoo.

  3. Source?

    Because one could read the quote as it stands in (gasp!) good faith and take it as a call to improve prison conditions rather than abolish life sentences.

  4. You don’t concede Scott that the Pope is in fact calling for the abolition of life sentences? Opponents of the death penalty used to argue that with life imprisonment the death penalty was not needed. We can now see that particular argument had a “sell by” date.

  5. “Opponents of the death penalty used to argue that with life imprisonment the death penalty was not needed. We can now see that particular argument had a “sell by” date.”
    Those who oppose capital punishment should be outraged over this shifting of the goalposts. Without the option of imposing life sentences, that makes the abolition of the death penalty LESS likely to happen.

  6. He is in unwitting contempt as were his two predecessors of Scripture itself. Now let’s read the Holy Spirit through St. Paul during the Roman Empire which sinned like all governments in various ways…but still had the right to kill murderers as given in Genesis 9:5-6… but to the New Covenant text…and the wrath of God which these last three Popes avoided in this matter:

    Romans 13:2 Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.
    For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it,
    for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer.c

  7. What about human dignity for the innocents and the victims?

    When the guilty are not punished, the innocent suffer.

    What is it, really?

    Misplaced mercy?

    Subverted sympathy? – given to the to the killer/mass murderer but not to the victim or the survivors/loved ones?

    I think this reflects unconditional zeal for killers’ peace, joy, and social justice (human dignity!) and little concern for the salvation of killers’ souls.

    Who spills man’s blood by man shall his blood be spilt. For God made man in His image. Gen. 9:6.

  8. Mark Shea can no longer say this:

    “So, with the Church, I think the best course is life in prison and, in particular, for penitents of capital offenses to serve a life sentence rather than be put to death. That’s the minimalist position in a nutshell.”


    Of course 2011 was a long time ago, at least a long time during a period when loose leaf binders are perhaps the most useful tool when keeping track of what Church teaching is.

  9. I would add that these last three Popes are probably totally oblivious to the fact that death penalty East Asia by UN stats is twenty times safer from murder than Brazil and Mexico ( the two largest Catholic populations on earth…non death penalty) and East Asia is thirty times safer from adult murder than largely Catholic Central America. East Asia has nearly a billion poor people also as does Latin America. Some will say Latin America has drug trafficing. Errr…China keeps that in check with the sword ( machaira) of Romans 13:4 which by the way was used in Acts 12:2 in an execution so don’t let Catholic pacifist scholars on the net fool you into believing the machaira was a symbolic sword as was tried on me at Catholic Moral Theology….which is generally pacifist like Vox Nova is. The Orient is honoring Romans 13:4 unwittingly and the last three Popes never quote it ( never appears in Evangelium Vitae which dealt with the death penalty).
    How can the Orient convert when our two largest populations…Brazil and Mexico…are murder capitals. You just had in Mexico maybe 40 students murdered because a Mayor handed them over to a drug gang who then confused them with being opposition gang members. The Mayor’s wife belongs to a major cartel family.

  10. There is also this:

    “Pope Francis also speaks of what he calls ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments and sanctions,’ and compares detention in maximum-security prisons to a ‘form of torture’. The isolation imposed in these places – he says – causes ‘mental and physical’ suffering that result in an ‘increased tendency towards suicide’. Torture – the Pope points out – is used not only as a means to obtain ‘confession or information’.”

    All Torture is intrinsically. All Maximum security prisons are torture. Therefore Maximum security prisons are intrinsically evil.

    The death penalty is not intrinsically evil but is licit only when the defense of society requires. Current penal methods are sufficient to defend society. Therefore, the death penalty is illict.

    But, current penal methods require maximum security prisons in order to defend society. But maximum security prisons are intrinsically evil and cannot be used. Therefore current penal methods cannot adequetely defend society.

    Therefore, the death penalty may be licitly used.

  11. Shea will make the mandatory adjustment or he will hold his ground and lose speaking engagements in those dioceses that are most mimetic and fawning. Good luck Mark.

  12. Pope Francis wants to show mercy to convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles. He wants to show mercy to sodomizers, adulterers and fornicators. He wants to show mercy to everyone everywhere at all times EXCEPT to the victims who deserve justice.

  13. He’s a standard-issue contemporary clergyman: inclined to favor cruelty to the kind and kindness to the cruel. It’s going to be a long gorge-rising ride with this man.

  14. I tend to doubt the infrequently applied capital sentence explains more than a small part of the comparative degree of order in cities in the Far East.
    Latin American would benefit from much more assiduous law enforcement. The people who tell you need to use an Argentine frame of reference to understand this pope need to explain why his Argentine frame of reference induces him to talk rot.

  15. That quote is from 10/23/2014 via radio Vatican, a short time after the – Synod Family – debacle. What is the reasoning (evasion?) of this historically august office for the avoidance of natural family subject matter, its suffering in this world gone mad, the Christian families being literally torn apart by un-jailed murderers, and acknowledging mercy for innocents who are victims of God’s Law breakers? If the simple ten rules were given by God in His mercy for people to find peace, and, if Jesus came here to teach and reinforce the way to peace, and, if the office of Peter was founded to protect the teachings of the ages, then consolation for the many should be spoken to souls striving for holiness. Loose leaf binders with subject dividers on various population categories, I guess.

  16. The natural progression of this thinking is the sentencing of Anders Breivik. As you may recall, he killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, and was sentenced to 21 years! This equates to 100 days in prison for each soul murdered! True, legal loopholes are available to indefinitely extend his incarceration, but such shenanigans really belie the entire concept of justice. Here is a case where mercy has been allowed to subvert justice, and the remedy is simple arbitrary government fiat.

  17. TomD

    There is a world of difference between saying that a person should not be intially sentenced to a whole-life sentence and saying that, on completion of a determinate sentence, he cannot be detained in the interests of public safety, or that he cannot be released on licence and subsequently recalled to prison, if the Minister of Justice sees fit.

    Sentences of imprionment “during His/Her Majesty’s pleasure” have a long history.

  18. “Sentences of imprisonment “during His/Her Majesty’s pleasure” have a long history.”

    In the United States they do not. I find such indeterminate sentencing on the grounds of public safety to be far more problematic than a life sentence.

  19. The victim is in a three by six foot box, suffering death and rigor mortis, unable to speak or assemble, six to eighteen feet underground, without light, cold, imprisoned for no reason except that another individual wanted the thrill of imposing death, the feel of committing homicide, the arrogance of breaking the Fifth Commandment, the experience of assaulting God. Do only murderers have any civil rights? Can murderers offend God with impunity? Does equal Justice apply to no one?
    Any one can take a criminal’s place and serve his sentence except in the sentence of the death penalty for capital one murder, laying in wait for his neighbor and killing the neighbor in cold blood.
    I can forgive my murderer, I cannot forgive your murderer without becoming an accessory after the fact and an accessory before the fact of any subsequent homicides. Saint John Paul II and Pope Francis cannot forgive my murderer without imposing the temporal punishment for capital one murder, the death penalty, in the Sacrament of Penance. No forgiveness may already be hell. Without the temporal punishment of the death penalty, contrition and the acceptance of the penance, there may be no Sacrament of Penance, even by the Pope.
    Capital punishment, the death penalty, is the temporal punishment for killing of the innocent person. Without the temporal punishment in the Sacrament of Holy Penance, the murderer is unforgiven, condemned to hell by his unforgiven mortal sin. It is the Pope’s job to offer redemption to the capital one murderer through Penance. Forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance does not confect without the temporal punishment due to sin. The Pope can forgive the sin. The Pope cannot forgive the temporal punishment due to sin. It is the virtue of Justice and that other commandment: “Do unto others as you would be done unto.”
    Capital punishment, the death penalty, vindicates the victim’s innocence. The victim does not deserve to be put to death. Yet, the victim is put to death, and by a member of the state. Now the state must prove the victim’s innocence and the murderer’s lie against the victim, because the murderer has killed the victim.
    The murderer is brought to Justice, equal Justice.
    Pope Francis is torturing the victims of homicide and their families who hunger and thirst for Justice.
    I cannot understand how Pope Francis can believe such a thing. Is there no heaven and no hell? Can you just imagine?

  20. Donald R. McClarey wrote, “I find such indeterminate sentencing on the grounds of public safety to be far more problematic than a life sentence.”
    The distinction between a sentence during pleasure and a life sentence, where the offender can be released on licence, is a fine one.

  21. Mary,
    There is a hell but some of these high clergy hold with Rahner and Von Balthasar that it might be empty, vacant, no takers. Christ said that ” many will seek to enter on that day and will not be able”. It doesn’t matter because unlike Aquinas, none of these men know scripture in minute detail and when apprised of it, they think it could be a faulty manuscript at the root of the translation. Let me cite Jackson Browne from ” Running on Empty”…” I can’t tell you just just how crazy this life feels”.
    Again….a decoupling from Scripture which Vatican II stated has God as it’s Author in ” both testaments with all their parts” Dei Verbum…chapter 3 I think.

  22. “The distinction between a sentence during pleasure and a life sentence, where the offender can be released on licence, is a fine one.”

    I do not think it is. It gives far too much discretion for the executive to hold people indefinitely which smacks of tyranny. With a definite sentence the individual knows what he is looking at as do the reviewing courts.

  23. wow. oh my. Thanks for the post and the link. This morning’s extended coffee with the daily mass crowd showed me, we all need to have more information about what statements are coming from this pope. People are trying to blame secular press for weekly doses of confusion.

  24. “ The very conception of criminal law and the enforcement of sanctions as an ‘ultima ratio’ in the cases of serious offenses against individual and collective interests have weakened. As has the debate regarding the use of alternative penal sanctions to be used instead of imprisonment”.” -from the link to vatican radio article
    It is hard to imagine what “alternative penal sanctions” he would suggest instead of imprisonment.
    In his discourse it seems that Inhumane treatment in detention is thrown in the same ball of wax as life sentence…why must it all be muddled together?

    “Pope Francis dedicates an ample part of his discourse to corruption. The corrupt person – according to the Pope – is a person who takes the “short-cuts of opportunism” that lead him to think of himself as a “winner” who insults and persecutes whoever contradicts him. “Corruption” – the Pope says “is a greater evil than sin”, and more than “be forgiven, must be cured”.

    I wonder what he is talking about in that quote- opportunism, corruption, winners. Is the murderer the corrupt one? OR Does everything go back to poverty or economic injustice?
    Jesus said that we will always have the poor with us. I take it that there will be no earth-bound solution, no matter how we modify our economy or move toward liberation theology
    At the end he asks the jurists to be cautious. Good advice.

  25. Has this Pope ever, in his career as a priest, ever consoled the family of a murder victim? If he did, I wonder if he said of the killer, “Who am I to judge?”

  26. The simple answer, of course, is that it is the mission of the church and the church’s ministers to save souls, which cannot be done without the free will consent and good will of the sinner.
    It is the duty of the state to prosecute crime, provide Justice and protect the virginity and innocence of its citizens. If it becomes necessary, the state must drag the criminal to Justice kicking and screaming, so be it. That is why the state has armed forces.

  27. bill banana: In First Things magazine, several years ago, von Balthasar was challenged on Christ’s descent into hell by Alyssa Pitstick. An interesting read. The German highway men, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Kung, I read. I am not impressed.
    If souls accompany Christ into hell, they will accompany Christ into the Resurrection. Our Lady mourned the souls falling into hell because they had no one to pray for them, not even themselves. The reason, I believe that some people think hell is empty, including Father Robert Barron is that the souls in hell are not remembered. Once those souls reach their destination, the destiny they have chosen for themselves, part of their hell is not having a remembered soul. So, it is easy to say and believe that hell is empty, not knowing or remembering the soul gone there. Remember the Gospel about the rich man who had no name or identity in hell, nor any hope of being relevant.

  28. Pope St. John Paul II was against the death penalty, I believe, due to the massive number of murders perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in Poland during WWII.

    Pope Francis is a pure modern day Argentine Jesuit. He has shown himself to be in league with the German bishops who want Church teaching changed to keep the German church tax funds rolling in. He has shown himself to be intolerant of traditional Catholics and traditional Catholicism, but for people who are active in homosexual activity and those who are remarried without benefit of an annulment.

    If he wants mercy for convicted murderers by letting them out of jail early, he out to start by showing some mercy to the FFI. Until then he comes off as a hypocrite.

  29. Mary,
    Bill Banana is Bill Bannon. I’m going bananas due to the hierarchy’s going further into criminal misdirected love and away from God’s word which they like until they don’t like Rom.13:4 or other severe passages…and because in the same week, today I was posting under that name, Banana, from an Apple store because my ipad crashed from obeying Apple’s suggestion to download ios8. I will return there tomorrow to do a trade in rather than fix it. With Job gone, Apple is itself slow motion crashing with these improvements that don’t match the slightly older ipad processors….but they don’t tell you that until you crash after obeying their message to download. Pope Francis….well…I thought nothing could be worse than ccc 2267 of 1997’s catechism ( not 1992’s catechism which affirmed actual execution as punishment) ( in 16 years of Catholic school, I was never taught that Church doctrinal development can happen at warp speed or could jettison the New Testament….who knew).
    But Pope Francis is worse than 1997’s catechism. Google ” Pedro Lopez Monster of the Andes”… I believe Columbia gave him 16 years for raping and killing 50 little girls ( he perhaps killed 300). That Mary is way against the wrath of God that the state is supposed to produce as God’s minister according to Rom.13:4.

  30. ‘”Sentences of imprionment “during His/Her Majesty’s pleasure” have a long history. ‘
    Well, MPS, all I can write in response is that ideas such as ‘His Majesty’s pleasure’ are why there is a United State of America in the first place. Also, remember that clemency on the part of parole boards, governors, and presidents are not unheard of.

  31. PS to Mary.
    Wiki’s account of Pedro Lopez and his fleeting sentence ends with their noting that his whereabouts is currently unknown….after quickly rehabilitating after raping and strangling 300 daughters of mostly Catholic parents. Pope Saint Pius V would have had him dead in a week….Pope Sixtus V in days.

  32. This is a naive question, but as a Catholic am required to agree with Pope on this statement? I’m having a very, very difficult time with this. For the life of me I cannot understand why Pope Francis would be so cruel to the innocent victims heinous violence. Plus, he might seem like he’s caring for the imprisoned, but some crimes are so bad that it does require a lifetime of penitence, does he not want their souls to be saved either? God knows this Pope has been a struggle for me.

  33. L.B.,
    If you agree with him on that, then you and other Catholics had to agree with Pope Nicholas V in 1454 in Romanus Pontifex that all Portuguese Catholics could perpetually enslave natives in the newly discovered lands and take all their possessions if they resisted the gospel. Then later in 1537, those Catholics and you would have to agree with Pope Paul III who attacked that very concept. After 16 years of Catholic school, 8 under Jesuits, God afterwards had me read scripture cover to cover and memorize much of it. Doing that will help you know when a Pope is off the wall or speaking in continuity with scripture. Read Vatican II which says in Dei Verbum that the Magisterium is supposed to hand on what was handed to them from Revelation. That means they are not allowed to overturn Romans 13:4 which clearly supported the death penalty to Aquinas and to Popes til Pius XII who affirmed it. You can’t have Popes playing cafeteria with the Bible while Catholic media says nothing about it because their small salaries are still contingent on flattering all things papal. Read Romans 13:4 and Genesis 9:5-6 where Romans 13:4 began ( both are non Jewish but rather universal). Were the comments of the last three Popes in continuity with Romans 13:4? They are obliged to be. Romans 13:4 says the sword of the state is supposed to bring God’s wrath on the criminal…not our wrath….God’s wrath. Do you see wrath in Biblival terms at all in Pope Francis’ words? That’s the God who in the New Testament had an angel kill Herod in Acts 12 and leave his body for worms to eat. That’s the God who through the first Pope’s words killed Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 and buried their bodies.

  34. PS to LB,
    John Paul and Benedict were implying that life sentences permanently protected us from murderer A. because now with secure prisons, we need not fear murderer A. thanks to life sentences and therefore we need not kill murderer A. They were incorrect because murderer A. with court protected phone calls can have witness B. shot by others as happened in Newark to a 12 year old witness.
    Francis is removing their very tool that they saw as pivotal in protecting society in lieu of the death penalty. Francis would remove life sentences and thus the substitute protection the other two Popes admired. You can’t make this stuff up. Francis also warned that we shouldn’t bomb Islamic State but just stop them. The man’s never been in lethal combat nor a basic street fight. Bouncer?….it must have been in a gift shop in Cape Cod.

  35. Know what? I’m going to say it:

    “A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed.”

    He’s exactly right and I’m glad he’s saying it because NOW we can have an honest debate about punishment since, as I’ve often tried to point out to death-penalty opponents, Death vs Life sentence, the end point is the same: a man dies behind prison walls.

  36. Respectfully…. (I’ll try)….he has no degree in penology! I’m shocked at this Pope! So if we had caught Bin Laden and tried and convicted him, we would look forward to the day he is released, under this Pope’s belief?? Good and rehabilitated in prison?? Riiiigght!!!!!So people who are serial killers can get out and we the innocent get to take a chance they will kill again?? Quite frankly, I worry about the church wilh this guy as leader!! His thoughts are not truly Christian …. The state has the moral duty to PROTECT me!!!… He has a warped sense of “Justice”

  37. A capital one murderer who does not die of grief over the murder he has committed is a liar, if and when he apologizes to the victim. November 14th will be 41 years since by my brother was murdered. Eight years after the crime, the murderer hanged himself. As an individual, the murderer killed. As a citizen, a member of the state, the murderer inflicted capital punishment on a murderer. Yes, prison is tough, but living with oneself, oneself, who is a murderer, is tougher.
    Pope Francis needs to realize that aiding and abetting, becoming an accessory before subsequent murders is a crime.

  38. Nate Winchester: “Death vs Life sentence, the end point is the same: a man dies behind prison walls.”
    The warden and his family, the guards, the doctors, other contractors, innocent persons, and other inmates not deserving of capital punishment in the prison are at double jeopardy of life, since the first murder was their first jeopardy of life. (except other prison inmates who were protected by the prison walls, the only safe place to be when murderers are rampant in society) The Constitution prohibits double jeopardy of life. Why do capital one murderers who deserve capital one punishment have constitutional protection but not the innocent citizen?
    I have been raked over the coals for being “pro-life” and holding with the death penalty. However, “GET OUT OF MY FACE” unless you change the Fifth Commandment.

  39. bill bannon: “Mary,
    Bill Banana is Bill Bannon.”
    I figured you out from your avatar, bill bannon…but only after I commented. Please do not go bananas. I was amused because I had just consumed a banana.
    “obeying Apple’s suggestion to download ios8. I will return there tomorrow to do a trade in rather than fix it.”
    That is just the devil in your machine. I, for the most part, am computer illiterate. My son taught me to go to “programs” then to “accessories”, then to “system tools”, then to “system restore”. The computer may be restored to an earlier date, when it functioned properly. Very often updates and add-ons are imposed without your approval and these may cause all kinds of havoc.
    Good luck with that, Bill. I hope it works.

  40. A life sentence takes no account of the way in which circumstances can change over time, often very rapidly.

    On 11 July 1961, General Raoul Salan was sentenced to death in absentia for leading the Algiers putsch on the previous 22 April. Had he been captured, the government would have been remiss not to execute him promptly, for such was his support in the army, with many senior officers wavering in their allegiance that he would have been as dangerous in prison as out of it.

    He went on to lead the OAS terrorist organization that was responsible for many deaths, principally in Algeria, but also through their indiscriminate bombing campaign in Metropolitan France (I myself witnessed the bombing by OAS plastiqueurs of the French Foreign Office on the Quai d’Orsay, in Paris on 22 January 1962; I had just walked past Voltaire’s statue).

    Nevertheless, by the time Salan was brought to trial, De Gaulle’s government was firmly in control and enjoyed the confidence of the army, so, on 23 May 1962, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    By 1968, the public mood had changed. Salan and his supporters were virtually forgotten men; they posed no risk to the Republic and they were granted amnesty.

    In 1982, in consideration of his gallant service in the Free French Forces of North Africa and in Indochina, General Salan, now 83, was restored to his rank and decorations. The decision was popular with the army.

    Now, I believe the death sentence was right in 1961, that the sentence of life imprisonment was appropriate in 1962, that the amnesty in 1968 created no risk at all to the public and that the rehabilitation in 1982 was merited by his previous services to his country.

  41. Bill Bannon

    Reliance on the records of the past, rather than on a living teacher is a risky business.

    As Socrates says, “Writing, Phaedrus, has this strange quality, and is very like painting; for the creatures of painting stand like living beings, but if one asks them a question, they preserve a solemn silence. And so it is with written words; you might think they spoke as if they had intelligence, but if you question them, wishing to know about their sayings, they always say only one and the same thing. And every word, when once it is written, is bandied about, alike among those who understand and those who have no interest in it, and it knows not to whom to speak or not to speak; when ill-treated or unjustly reviled it always needs its father to help it; for it has no power to protect or help itself.”

    There are only two alternatives: the submission of faith to a living authority or a reliance on private judgment. An appeal to the records of the past is always and inevitably an appeal to one’s own interpretation of them for, “σεμνῶς πάνυ σιγᾷ” – they preserve a solemn silence.

  42. “A life sentence takes no account of the way in which circumstances can change over time, often very rapidly.”

    Justice in France MPS has ever been a whore to the powers that be when politics enters in. Your comment as to a life sentence not being able to take into account changing circumstances is bizarre. Salan under a life sentence could have been the beneficiary of changing politics via a pardon or clemency.

  43. Michael PS,
    Your post presents a false dilemna….obedience or hopeless subjectivity. The submission of faith to a living authority, Pope Nicholas V in Romanus Pontifex (1454?) and it’s perpetual slavery and despoilment permission ( mid 4th large par.), fostered a Catholic nation, Portugal, being foremost in the slave trade and effectively murdering countless blacks for centuries…with a papal document as support that stated that it could not be reversed by future authorities like Pope Paul III who tried to reverse it in 1537 but withdrew the real force of excommunication for said slavery under pressure of the Spanish royals….and it continued til Britain stopped it by threat of force. Wonderful obedience to a living authority….leading to the ultmate mess of arrested states. If you are mugged in Rio, thank the living authority of Pope Nicholas V…..whose own subjectivity was to not divine in what areas the Old Testament slavery and despoilment violence was
    curtailed by Christ. Pope Francis is the opposite extreme with his words….but I don’t see him taking away the Heckler and Koch submachine guns from the Swiss Guard…armor piercing bullets in those guns. Don’t be in a Vatican crowd when they go off.

  44. Donald R McClarey wrote, “Salan under a life sentence could have been the beneficiary of changing politics via a pardon or clemency.”
    But what that amounts to is that his sentence was not in reality one of life imprisonment at all, but of imprisonment at pleasure; in the event at the pleasure of the National Assembly which passed the Act of Amnesty and Oblivion. Why not be honest and say so, when passing sentence?

  45. Pope Francis’ comments on the death penalty directly contradict the statement from the Council of Trent on the page that you linked to. If the death penalty is a matter of doctrine, then this pope is changing doctrine, or trying to. Thanks to him, I don’t know what to believe anymore.

  46. Francis is just creating chaos and the worst part is that most people because they are so liberal and like what this Pope is doing don’t see that in the end it is going to be a world left with even more chaos.

    Francis is spiritually ruining many.

  47. Joseph,
    In some centuries, the Church is like a coconut….perfectly beautiful in the center and a hairy brown mess on the surface. Or think of a geode with a gorgeous blue center but an outer surface of dirty grey. I may have to withdraw from the surface which includes this Pope…unless he writes something ex cathedra and then I’m protected from his all too human side. I like him as a person but as I said to God the Father today at the ocean…” Father…on criminal justice, he’s a loon…You know it and I know it….he’s bonkers…bonkers.”
    Then I broke out laughing.
    But I sense he is too talkative to enter the silent months needed for ex cathedra and the ponderous. If you feel faith ebbing, flee the surface of the Church and read on the Trinity and on God Himself rather than His Bride and all Her controversies including liturgy’s language. It’s supposed to be God First…Bride of His second. We keep getting it reversed.

  48. Donald R. McClarey: ““Why not be honest and say so, when passing sentence?”
    Because humans do not know the future, and because indeterminate sentences, by their very nature, are engines of tyranny.”
    Thank you, Donald McClarey.

  49. Why do capital one murderers who deserve capital one punishment have constitutional protection but not the innocent citizen?

    Also an excellent point, Mary. I’ve noticed that it is rare for those favoring life sentences to know much about prison life.

  50. Nate Winchester: Are there any capital one murderers on death row who will exchange their cells for their victims? Do you know of any capital one murderers who will exchange their death row cell for a coffin?
    My mercy has run dry. You take those murderers home to your daughters.

  51. Jesse Timmendequas, the rapist and murderer of seven year old Megan Kanka, released from Avenel, the security prison for sex offenders at Rahway was free several weeks when he chose death for the Kanka child. Now, the state is complicit for releasing Timmedequas.
    Timmendequas was convicted in the crimes against Kanka in 1997 and given a death sentence with the provision that if the death sentence was vacated by a court, he would still serve consecutive life sentences for murder and first-degree kidnapping. Read the rest of this horrific story at Wikipedia.
    Timmendequas sits in solitary confinement for the past seventeen years. Timmendequas has not asked for the death penalty, he has only plead for release, which means he still does not acknowledge his crime.
    Why do capital one murderers who deserve capital one punishment have constitutional protection but not the innocent citizen?

  52. Nate Winchester: “??? What? Mary, you do realize I was AGREEING with you, right?”
    Yes, Nate Winchester. You also believe that a life sentence is like the death penalty, only concealed.
    Nate Winchester on Friday, October 24, A.D. 2014 at 9:29pm
    Know what? I’m going to say it:
    “A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed.”
    He’s exactly right and I’m glad he’s saying it because NOW we can have an honest debate about punishment since, as I’ve often tried to point out to death-penalty opponents, Death vs Life sentence, the end point is the same: a man dies behind prison walls.
    It is NOT the same and I vehemently disagree with you.
    Why do capital one murderers who deserve capital one punishment have constitutional protection but not the innocent citizen? Maybe because the innocent victim is dead and there is no one in the state to plead his cause.

  53. Divina Genao, seven year old, kidnapped, raped and strangled by Conrad Jeffries, a homicidal maniac released from the Vroom building, the psychiatric hospital, in Trenton, N.J.
    Six year old Amanda Weingert, kidnapped, raped and murdered by Kevin Aquino, a confessed child molester, released.
    The little girl in the pink hat raped and buried alive. These murderers need to have done to them what they did to their victims, down to the last slash. It is the only language they understand.

  54. Nate Winchester: Thank you for your response. If you accept my position on life sentences, an honest debate may ensue. This honest debate, and /or dialogue as Pope Francis calls it, and I dearly hope that Pope Francis reads my comments, absolutely must include the victim, a victim who has been denied his time to make his peace with God. A homicide prosecution is not a homicide prosecution without the dead body. An honest debate, dialogue about the life sentence is not an honest debate/dialogue about a life sentence without the inclusion of the dead person, the dead persons’ civil rights and the dead person’s equal Justice. I grant you that you are in possession of some of the moral integrity necessary to debate the current onslaught against the death penalty, for one, being called “hateful” in a video by Sister Helen Prejean, for two, being frozen out and treated to condescension by those untouched by homicide. The debate cannot continue without either the murder victim or the murderer. Who is going to tell Pope Francis?
    I am glad you responded.

  55. I don’t think I disagree with you in the slightest, Mary. My earlier points were merely arguing against anti-Death Penalty (anti-DP) from their own starting position and suppositions. Your line of debate is at a different angle but one just as useful and strong. I also like to bring up CS Lewis’ essay on how “what is just” should never be forgotton. Just because I don’t use your specific line of debate, doesn’t mean I disagree with it or even disprove of it. On the contrary, with my day job I probably have more exposure to the issue of victim rights than you could know.

  56. ^ I’m not Catholic so I don’t know if you mean I should say it or you’re going to or you’re making some pun based on your name but uh… if it’s a call for a truce, I’m totally with you there.

  57. Nate Winchester: It is very kind of you to post the writing of C.S. Lewis. I would have entitled it: The Punishment must fit the crime.
    “One last word. You may ask why I send this to an Australian periodical. The reason is simple and perhaps worth recording: I can get no hearing for it in England.” C.S.Lewis.
    “My earlier points were merely arguing against anti-Death Penalty (anti-DP) from their own starting position and suppositions.”
    Is arguing against anti-Death Penalty enough? Capital One Punishment is Justice for the capital one murderer.
    Yes, I am asking for a truce. I have followed you comments which are scarce and thoughtful. The only thing I truly regret is bringing your daughters (children) into the exchange. I am in the habit of placing The American Catholic and all commenters on the altar where the good Lord will care for us.

  58. No problem, consider the essay is my contribution to the truce. 😉

    Is arguing against anti-Death Penalty enough? Capital One Punishment is Justice for the capital one murderer.

    Ultimately in all things? No. But we must each do what we can, where and when we can in all things no matter how small. Next time I’ll lead off the Lewis’ essay as I do think not enough people have considered his points. May you have luck when sharing it with others as well. 🙂

  59. Nate Winchester: “Next time I’ll lead off the Lewis’ essay as I do think not enough people have considered his points.”
    Leading off with Lewis’ essay is excellent. I wish that all people would have read it.

  60. C.S. Lewis’ essay: “THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT” voices the intent of the state, the state whose duty it is to provide Justice, equal Justice to the murder victim and the dangers of qualifying the intent of the murderer as being a psychosis and treating the murderer as insane plying the murderer with MERCY and JUSTICE, but leaving the treatment in an open venue, as Donald McClarey has pointed out: “Because humans do not know the future, and because indeterminate sentences, by their very nature, are engines of tyranny.”; THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT cannot be applied to a cold blooded, capital one murderer who planned, premeditated, laid in wait for his victim and murdered his victim in cold blood, for the simple reason that MERCY AND JUSTICE cannot have a place in the capital one murderer’s soul. There is no place for, understanding of, or sympathy for mercy in the capital one criminals’ soul. Empathy for the victim is nil.
    THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT cannot be applied to the lesser criminals’ crimes because in the verdict handed down MERCY and JUSTICE are already expressed: “And may almighty God have mercy on your immortal soul”. The substitution of MERCY by the state for JUSTICE, separates MERCY from JUSTICE. MERCY and JUSTICE ARE ONE AND THE SAME.

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