Various & Sundry, 3/10/15

I was attending a work-related event, thus the lack of a V&S yesterday and the brevity of this one.

– Don linked to the Dr. Long piece referenced, but here is Ed Peters on the issue of the Church and the death penalty.

So argue, if one will, the prudence of the death penalty—there are some very good prudential arguments against it, as Häring noted fifty years ago—but do not read the Catechism as making any principled points against the death penalty beyond those that have long been part of the Church teaching on the death penalty, that is, for the last 20 centuries during which no Catholic thinker, let alone any Magisterial pronouncement, asserted the inherent immorality of the death penalty. To the contrary, as Long points out, acknowledgment of the moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered, is the Catholic tradition.

Second, Catholic opponents of the death penalty should be aware that their (supposedly) faith-demanded opposition to the death penalty carries, right now, implications for real Catholics getting real summons to serve on real capital crime juries.

I assume that Catholic opponents of the death penalty would advise fellow Catholics in capital crime jury pools to express to the court (and jurors will be asked about this) their opposition to the death penalty. At which point, having answered Yes, they, like any other juror so answering, will likely be dismissed from the pool for cause. But, do we really want Catholic citizens—while Catholic pundits debate the death penalty from the comfort of their offices—excluding themselves (or being subjected to dismissal by lawyers) from trials wherein a sound Catholic commitment to justice and fair-play is most needed? If not, may I suggest some moderation in the rhetoric being used by some Catholic opponents of the death penalty against Catholic support for the death penalty. Such rhetoric (besides likely being wrong-headed in itself) seems especially susceptible to the law of unintended consequences. + + +


By the way, here is the Anchoress post that Dr. Peters also referenced. It’s, umm, something. I guess.

– On Mr. Spock – Point:

Not only do Spock’s peacenik inclinations routinely land the Enterprise and the Federation into trouble, his “logic” and “level head” mask an arrogant emotional basket case. Unlike the superhuman android Data, a loyal officer whose deepest longing is to be human, Spock spends most of his life as a freelancing diplomat eager to negotiate with the worst enemies of Starfleet. He’s the opposite of a role model: a cautionary tale.


First is that Continetti’s primary complaints are not with Captain Spock, but with the writers and the plotting. That is hardly his fault. They have to write for me, after all.

Second and most important: four times in the films, and many more times in the TV show, Spock acknowledges that he is not at all the superior being, and that his logic-based pursuits are intrinsically limited. The examples are so easy to find, it is shocking that Continetti missed them. But then, perhaps we of the Enterprise are the only ship within range …. of Netflix.

Things you should never say to a Catholic bookstore employee. I must say that having worked for a popular Shrine bookstore myself for over a year, I don’t recall any of these things ever being said to me.

This is what treason looks like.

More to explorer


  1. Jim McDermott has kept the Kennedy tradition alive and well.

    Now, if only the same Senate Republicans would show similiar initiative vis-a-vis Obama’s amnesty executive order. I’m thinking something along the lines of “We love the idea. It will make it so much easer to find them all and round them up for deportation when the next President rescinds it!”

  2. Senator Kennedy did not go to his judgement until 2009. The memorandum
    was unearthed in Soviet archives by a reporter for the London Times in
    1991. My question is: why on earth did that reporter sit on that information
    for 18 years? Was the Times waiting for an engraved invitation to make
    that memo public, or do the editors there have a difficult time understanding
    what news is?

  3. From the Anchoress:

    “To those who suggest that capital punishment is a proper justice, and that one who has taken the life of another has no right to his own, or her own, let us consider a life lived in captivity, where, — because of one’s actions — one’s choices are forever limited; where simple human freedoms no longer exist for you. You cannot decide to take a walk at midnight, or plan a menu and entertain guests, or try a new restaurant, or rustle up some scrambled eggs, or go fishing, or sleep in, or lay on the grass with a good book, or dandle a baby, or watch a parade, or travel to Rome, or rearrange furniture, or retire to someplace quiet. The loss of simple human options like these is the loss of much of the richness of life; to most of us, it would feel like deserved but heavy justice, indeed.”

    What! Hasn’t that heretic the Anchoress got the news? Pope Francis has come out against life sentences which he calls “hidden death sentences”. Under the “logic” of many anti-death penalty Catholics, since the Pope has spoken all Catholics must now be against life sentences! For shame Anchoress!

  4. Ed Peters:

    “Now, comparing Davis with the revised Catechism, two things, I suggest, stand out: (1) the Catechism restates in modern style what has always been the principled teaching of the Church (that the death penalty is morally licit under certain circumstances) and (2) the Catechism offers some prudential (and thus, by definition, debatable!) reasons not to use the death penalty (basically, modern states can afford to house murders till their natural death). In short, what’s principled in the Catechism isn’t new and what’s new in the Catechism isn’t principled.”


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