Pope Francis declares death penalty inadmissible

You’re right. I’m a long time BB reader, new to commenting though. I got worked up. Doesn’t make them immune to said criticism, though.

OT: Is there a place to practice commenting? BB’s comment system is unique to me and I’m trying to work it out. Some places have test forums & such like.

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Yes, but Christians generally don’t follow that advice either, which is perhaps understandable because that would turn one into an easily-exploited sucker, and nobody wants that for themselves. (It’s OK if other people are the easily-exploited suckers, which should help explain why Christianity is so big on proselytising.)
It’s funny how in Christianity obeying the holy book seems to be entirely optional, and everyone gets to skip the parts that they personally don’t like. Whole denominations have been founded on ignoring selected bits. Strange religion :wink:

Jesus was advocating nonviolent resistance against the Roman occupiers, not being an easily exploited sucker. The point was to force Roman soldiers to use excessive force against them causing them to be at risk of being disciplined by their superiors (who didn’t want an uprising against them).

Christian socialists and anarchists believe that the Jesus bits take priority over the other bits, especially the Sermon on the Mount/Plain. It does make some sense if Jesus brought about the new covenant and the bits of the Bible after the gospels are understood to be written by fallible humans.

However, I still can’t work out how the right wing prosperity gospel fits with what is written in the Bible.


The general consensus in bible research these days is that the “bits of the Bible after the gospels” (Paul’s letters, for the most part) were actually written before the gospels. The gospels were probably written towards the end of the 1st century AD, by unknown people who were not eyewitnesses to the events around Jesus and whose names weren’t actually Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. From comparative analysis it is fairly safe to say that the gospel of Mark was written first and those of Matthew and Luke later, with wholesale copying from Mark and possibly other sources that we don’t have. John came up still later and is less connected to the other three (but has a lot less to say about Jesus’s life, too). One explanation is that, since Jesus had claimed that he’d return and the world would end Really Soon, nobody felt a pressing need to write down the details of his life, but 50 years later or so people were starting to get second thoughts and began collecting the stories that were being told. And of course there was a propaganda angle involved, so by that time the guy raised the dead and walked on water.

Paul’s letters – as far as we know, not all actually written by Paul – are where Christianity gets much of its doctrine from, and Paul (who’d never actually met Jesus while Jesus was still around) had no time at all for gospel-type stories, nor was he very interested in talking to people who did know Jesus. In point of fact, Christianity works pretty well without an actual “historical” Jesus; perhaps the Jesus of the gospels is really an amalgamation of various travelling rabbis of the early 1st century, filtered through Paul and bolstered by a bunch of additional story books written later to give the myth some human-interest believability and tie it in to earlier Jewish prophesies to make it more interesting to Jews (even if things needed to be stretched and bent to fit the prophesies). After all, the gospels are pretty bad historical writing even by the standards of the time; we have stuff from actual Greek and Roman historians that runs rings around the gospels and none of it mentions Jesus even in passing – miracles, dramatic death and resurrection etc. notwithstanding. (The Jesus references only turn up in later works and then they have sometimes been inserted still later by copyists.)


Mental image here of Pope Francis instantaneously popping into a courtroom, whacking down a big gavel, yelling “Death penalty inadmissible!!”, then leaving just as quickly.


After years of trying, they can’t anymore here.

Prior actions say otherwise

Again, I’ll note that if Francis is serious about changing the church, he’s going up against a seriously entrenched and privileged bureaucracy that would be fighting against him every step of the way. Despite the erroneous notion that he’s basically a dictator, in reality it’s not true. Local structures shape the experiences of the average catholic far more than what the pope does on a daily basis. Imagine trying to change a bureaucracy of that size (1 billion people are part of the church, all around the world).

In this case, time will tell. If you’re pissed about the cover ups (as we all should be), then be pissed at all the prior popes, especially Pope Benedict, who we KNOW help cover up crimes during his time as a cardinal. Same for John Paul.

My point here is not that the church is only good, rather that it’s a complicated organization, with a history of both good and bad actions in the world. If Francis is attempting to make sweeping changes (including cooperating with secular authorities when people in the organization commit crimes), we should probably welcome that, instead of just assuming that he’s going to continue with what happened in the past. Also, that it’s not like the catholic church is unique in covering up crimes of their members, and that other organizations also regularly engage in cover ups and worked to legitimize those crimes. By all means, let’s not forget their past actions, but let’s not completely cut off the possibility that there are attempts here to try and right some of those wrongs, and to make sure they don’t happen in the future. As I said, time is going to tell here.


So… Francis is a wizard in addition to Pope?


The Pope could officially proclaim that all Catholics directly involved with death sentencing and its execution will be automatically excommunicated from the Church, including supporting voters, legislators, prosecutors, judges, jurors, and so called “peace officers”.

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About damned time.

Mmmm… no. I’d think a wizard would make a bigger deal out of it. Flames and sparks flying about. Pope Francis doesn’t appear to be the showy type.


The other interesting observation is that Pope Francis is the leader of an organisation whose entire doctrine and message is built on the idea of a guy getting executed. They’re even showing graphic and disturbing 2D and 3D depictions of the guy being executed in churches, schools, and homes. The notional day of the execution is celebrated as a sacred holiday in many places.
Without the death penalty, Christianity would probably look a lot different. “Jesus spent five years in jail for your sins” doesn’t sound all that impressive by comparison.

But that’s part of the point, that he was executed, so that the practices of sacrifice could end. the last sacrifice, if you will.


Yes, and guess who got the “practice of sacrifice” started in the first place? It seems to me that a god who needs to commit gruesome suicide in order to convince himself to overlook his own rules for the benefit of some beings that he himself, being their omnipotent and omniscient creator, got into the mess they’re in to begin with doesn’t come across as the most clever, consistent, or believable of deities.

Okay. And? It was a slow historical shift over the ancient period from various forms of sacrifice (human, to animal, to abstracted out to symbolic, which is what transubstantiation represents). These were faiths developed 1000s of years ago, in a very different historical context, let’s not forget. Things change, and this one means of that change happening.


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