PopeWatch: Papal Priorities




In 2012 there were 1.05 million abortions in the United States.  In that same year there were 42 executions of convicted murderers in the United Sates.  From the speech of Pope Francis to Congress yesterday:


“This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”


Translation from Papalese:  Convicted murderers, the Pope has your back!  Unborn children, you are on your own!


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  1. His words and actions are intentional. I used to hope president and pope were naive and would ultimately get a handle on things. But No. The pope is not unaware or unintelligent. His message is carefully crafted- from the photos to the words he says and those he doesn’t say.

  2. If he wanted to decry evil in capitalism: Planned Parenthood! Abortion is a risk free profitable specialty for a doctor to go into. There is a financial incentive to encourage abortion and even infanticide. The harvesting of organs of old organ donors is not nearly so easy least.

  3. All this Pope is doing is following in the footsteps of JP II and Benedict. They were down on the death penalty too.

  4. How do you give a speech in front of the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in world history, and then a speech in front of the legislative body with the authority to approve the use of force by that military force, and not call for action to protect the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East? What about the young girls being forced into sexual slavery? What about the Christians in Africa being menaced by Islamic terrorists?

  5. Stephen E Dalton,

    Given the discussion of the Planned Parenthood videos and a possible vote to reduce or eliminate funding, it would have been a very appropriate time to state Catholic teaching on abortion.

    Speaking only on capital punishment when talking about defending human life is only a partial truth.


  6. “All this Pope is doing is following in the footsteps of JP II and Benedict. They were down on the death penalty too.”

    Yep, but they always regarded the fight against abortion as much more important:

    “Note: The following memorandum was sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick and was made public in the first week of July 2004.”

    “1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).

    2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it'” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

  7. Donald,
    Yes but…they in public verbally began the campaign to abolish the death penalty which contradicted their own faulty ccc #2267 and the passage you cite. When the president of the Phillipines met Pope Benedict in the Vatican, she said to him that she had abolished the death penalty at which he responded…” good job”. Phillipines has a 8.? per 100,000 murder rate with a recent year having 8000 murders. Chinas has a 1 per 100,000 murder rate. The Phillipines would save 7000 lives a year if they could reach China’s rate. China should emulate other countries as to abortion…no doubt. Right now, she is similar to NYC on abortion.

  8. Popes can have their own personal feelings about the death penalty. Both John Paul II and Pope Benedict were careful not to directly contradict prior Church teaching on the death penalty but rather made the erroneous conclusion that it is no longer needed today. I cannot imagine either Pope doing what their successor did yesterday in ignoring abortion and focusing on the death penalty. Pope Francis clearly views the Democrats as allies on issues that are central to him, and he would not antagonize them by raising clearly either abortion or gay marriage during his address to Congress.

  9. Seems like he has adopted the left wing of the Democrat party. He had the opportunity to TEACH about abortion, but he blew it, hiding the issue in a vague sentence about all life. This has been the primary issue that has united the church since Roe, and he sluffed it off!

  10. i’ve made a point of not watching the coverage of the Pontiff’s visit but have found myself channel surfing at the wrong times – i just happened to tune into video when the Pope was giving a special blessing to Andrew Cuomo’s live in girl friend, when he was walking and laughing talking with Kerry ; when he was framed by a Boehner and a Biden – I also caught a shot at the east harlem school when he gave a special blessing to Kiki Gilibrand – the D Senator from NY who led the charge in favor of continuing to fund PPF with my tax dollars.

    The I mus tell you, I feel into a deep introspection recalling Matt 9: 10- And it came to pass, as he lay at table in the house, that behold, many tax-gatherers and sinners came and lay at table with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And the Pharisees seeing [it], said to his disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax-gatherers and sinners? 12 But [Jesus] hearing it, said, They that are strong have not need of a physician, but those that are ill.

    but in the encounters I saw, there seemed no private correction , no call to repent as was so familiar when the Master dealt with sinners like me. – I am juding their actions , not them; Cuomo wants to turn NY into the abortion capital of the World, specializing in late term abortion!! He is divorced and living in the NY mansion wih his divorced girlfriend – If i understand what Mother Church teaches, these folks’ immortal souls are at risk – Even Chuck Schumer gets a special greeting. I recall JPII giving a finger wagging tongue lashing to an old priest who had joined the rebels and the liberation theology front when he visited Central America some time ago. This trip there seemed to be nothing from the Vicar of Christ to encourage pro lifers to continue their efforts; no repent and change your ways as our congress wrstles with giving the baby killers another 530 Mil. of our tax dollars. – ……. and the unwashed could assume that since Francis rubs elbows with the Pelosi’s [who B 6 took aside to admonish ] Kerry;’s Bidens, Cumo’s , adulterous girlfriend Lee, etc,etc, ….. they and their positions must be acceptable.

    Scandal. Scandal!! – or am i no different than one of those Pharisee’s that criticized the Christ? …. is my thinking now and previously wrong? Is all our pro life effort against Democrats and the culture of death, including the upcoming 10/10 PPF protest, in vain?

    Woe is me. the ”interfaith ” service and/or seeing my pontiff practice indifferentism is another tsunami …….. I just don’t know what to make of all this. it gives sedevacantism a need for a 2nd look. can’t wait for the output from the synod on family –

  11. No one participating in any way with capital punishment in the U.S. has ever committed a sin by doing so and will never be committing one, whether they were the policeman who apprehended the capital offender, the prosecuting attorney, the sentencing judge, the jailers who escort him to the death chamber, or the doctor, or whoever, who administers the drugs or pulls the lever.

    Why in the world was CP ever made an issue in the pro-life movement?

    And where is the evidence that John Paul II saw and used that enabled him to say “As a result of steady improvements in the penal system, such cases [where the death penalty is morally allowed] are rare, if not practically nonexistent.” (Encyclical on the Gospel of Life.)? That “opinion” of JPII’s is being used by the U.S. bishops to work to outlaw CP in ever state.

    The Conference of bishops in CA supported and promoted a ballot measure in CA to end CP couple years ago. I sent a copy of a news story of a 3 year, $5,000,000 federal, state a local investigation of the newest and most secure high tech prison in CA. The investigation was to find out if any of these life-time, solitary confined inmates were responsible for crimes being committed outside the prison walls. “25 indictments were issued for 12 men and 1 woman for murder, robbery, conspiracy and drug-related crimes.” “Federal prosecutors say gang leaders have orchestrated hundreds of murders from inside maximum-security prisons. The Corrections Department says there’s little it can do to stop the killings, ordered by inmates who have nothing to lose and nothing but time” on their hands.

    The CA bishops conference didn’t care about the truth and public safety. They continued to support the ballot measure even knowing that what Pope John Paul II claimed is not true.

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