Dolan and the Seamless Garment

On December 6, Archbishop Dolan gave the inaugural lecture at Notre Dame for the Project on Human Dignity.  This new project is described this way:

The Notre Dame Project on Human Dignity wishes to take up the challenge of persuasively defining and defending human dignity through an ongoing series of speakers, symposia, classes, retreats, and special learning events for students.

I have not been able to find the full text of the speech the Archbishop gave, but a good summary was provided by CNS.   He discusses the idea of “human dignity” and refers to it as “one of the primary doctrines of the Church.” He argues that human dignity is intrinsic and not based on who we are or what we do:

“My identity, my personhood … does not depend on whether or not I have a green card, a stock portfolio, a job, a home or even a college diploma,” Archbishop Dolan said. “Nor does my identity depend upon whom I am sexually attracted to, or to race, religion, gender, social status, bank account, passport or health insurance, but on my essence as a child of God.”

He then draws some powerful conclusions from this perspective:

“If the preborn baby in the womb, from the earliest moments of his or her conception, is a human person — an ‘is’ that comes not from the catechism but from the biology textbook used by any sophomore in high school — then that baby’s life ought to be cherished and protected….If an immigrant from Mexico is a child of God, … then we ought to render him or her honor and a welcome, not a roar of hate, clenched fists and gritted teeth in response to the latest campaign slogan….If even a man on death row has a soul, is a human person, an ‘is’ that cannot be erased even by beastly crimes he may have committed, then we ought not to strap him to a gurney and inject him with poison.”

Here we see a solid line drawn connecting abortion, immigration policy and the death penalty through the lens of human dignity.  His conclusions seem remarkably categorical:  he is not looking for loopholes on the death penalty (e.g., that opposing abortion is about protecting “innocent human life” and so different); he fails to draw distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants.

What struck me as I was reading this was that he sounded remarkably like the late Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago, who more than two decades ago advanced the notion of the “seamless garment“.  Indeed, comparing the above remarks with the original speech by Bernadin, it is remarkable that Dolan seems much less cautious and nuanced that Bernadin.  (In fairness, as I said I cannot find the full text of the speech, so Dolan may have developed these ideas with more nuance than the above quotes suggest.)

Given the way in which Bernadin was excoriated in some quarters for this idea, particularly for any suggestion that abortion was in any way equivalent to other “life” issues, I find this speech quite remarkable.  I wonder if it represents a Catholic version of the “Nixon in China”:  just a Nixon, a hawkish anti-communist, was able to use this fact to buttress his opening to communist China, so perhaps Dolan, widely perceived as staunchly conservative and orthodox, is using this reputation to advance a position that would be condemned if were heard coming from someone to his left.

The Catholic blogosphere does not appear to contain any commentary on this speech:  are they ignoring it, unaware of it or unsure how to respond?   For my part, I am very happy, as we enter into another long and painful election cycle, that Archbishop Dolan has clearly articulated the unity of Catholic teaching on the dignity of human life.    Hopefully, his brother bishops and various Catholic pundits will follow his lead.

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  • Kurt

    There is even a more outstanding nuance there, though one he tamps down. There is a moral issue of treating human beings with human dignity, including gays, the undocumented and any other person. Then there is a biological question (one that he feels biology is firmly on the side of the humanity of the unborn, but in which it can’t be denied that a great number of people disagree).

    Reversing the focus group developed “non-negotiable principles” canard, there is a MORAL issue at not respecting the human dignity of those for whom there is no denial of their humanity. Then there is an issue of biology as to when life begins, and an issue where an erroneous conclusion has tragic consequences. But not a matter where anyone is denying the underlying moral principle of the dignity of all human beings.

    And before the usual crowd starts having a cow, I am not suggesting this in any way changes the importance and need to protect unborn human life. It just changes the attitude we should have towards those not yet with us and degree of charity that might be given to those who in ignorance rather than immorality have mistaken views on this issue.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      Kurt, I am sorry but I am not sure what you are trying to say. Are you trying to draw a distinction between the moral and the biological for the point of a more charitable response towards those who disagree with us on when life begins (the biological question) but accept our moral position on the dignity of human life? I guess a reasonable question would then be whether those who are “pro-choice” do indeed accept our moral position. Or am I misunderstanding you?

      • Kurt

        Sorry to be unclear, yes I am asking for more charity towards those who are pro-choice.

        There are pro-choice Americans who accept our moral principle that all human beings deserve human dignity. They simply disagree with us on the biological issue of when human beings come into existance.

        That would be distinct from the Catholic moral principle that all human beings deserve human dignity, which some in society seem to deny to the undocumented, gay people, and others for whom there is little denial that they are human beings.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          Thank you for clarifying Kurt. I agree completely.

      • Mark Gordon

        Except that it’s really not that simple. Pro-choice Catholic politicians don’t disagree with the Church “on the biological issue of when human beings come into existence.” They claim to be personally opposed to abortion precisely because they agree with the Church on the question. The horror of their position is that while they agree that the unborn are genetically distinct and therefore morally independent human beings, they still think that killing them should be a choice available to women and doctors.

        By the way, there really are no “biological issues.” Science is science, is it not? The moral question of personhood is quite different from the scientific question of whether a fetus is a genetically distinct human being. There may be a debate about whether it is a human person, but not whether it is a human being.

      • Kurt

        Except that it’s really not that simple.

        I didn’t say that it is simple. My whole point is that it is complex.

        Pro-choice … politicians don’t disagree with the Church “on the biological issue of when human beings come into existence.”…

        I think they have the right to speak for themselves.

        By the way, there really are no “biological issues.” Science is science, is it not? The moral question of personhood is quite different from the scientific question of whether a fetus is a genetically distinct human being. There may be a debate about whether it is a human person, but not whether it is a human being.

        Yet there is a debate.

  • Kurt

    There is even a more outstanding nuance there, though one he tamps down. There is a moral issue of treating human beings with human dignity, including gays, the undocumented and any other person. Then there is a biological question (one that he feels biology is firmly on the side of the humanity of the unborn, but in which it can’t be denied that a great number of people disagree).

    Reversing the focus group developed “non-negotiable principles” canard, there is a MORAL issue at not respecting the human dignity of those for whom there is no denial of their humanity. Then there is an issue of biology as to when life begins, and an issue where an erroneous conclusion has tragic consequences. But not a matter where anyone is denying the underlying moral principle of the dignity of all human beings.

    And before the usual crowd starts having a cow, I am not suggesting this in any way changes the importance and need to protect unborn human life. It just changes the attitude we should have towards those not yet with us and degree of charity that might be given to those who in ignorance rather than immorality have mistaken views on this issue.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      Kurt, I am sorry but I am not sure what you are trying to say. Are you trying to draw a distinction between the moral and the biological for the point of a more charitable response towards those who disagree with us on when life begins (the biological question) but accept our moral position on the dignity of human life? I guess a reasonable question would then be whether those who are “pro-choice” do indeed accept our moral position. Or am I misunderstanding you?

      • Kurt

        Sorry to be unclear, yes I am asking for more charity towards those who are pro-choice.

        There are pro-choice Americans who accept our moral principle that all human beings deserve human dignity. They simply disagree with us on the biological issue of when human beings come into existance.

        That would be distinct from the Catholic moral principle that all human beings deserve human dignity, which some in society seem to deny to the undocumented, gay people, and others for whom there is little denial that they are human beings.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

          Thank you for clarifying Kurt. I agree completely.

      • Mark Gordon

        Except that it’s really not that simple. Pro-choice Catholic politicians don’t disagree with the Church “on the biological issue of when human beings come into existence.” They claim to be personally opposed to abortion precisely because they agree with the Church on the question. The horror of their position is that while they agree that the unborn are genetically distinct and therefore morally independent human beings, they still think that killing them should be a choice available to women and doctors.

        By the way, there really are no “biological issues.” Science is science, is it not? The moral question of personhood is quite different from the scientific question of whether a fetus is a genetically distinct human being. There may be a debate about whether it is a human person, but not whether it is a human being.

      • Kurt

        Except that it’s really not that simple.

        I didn’t say that it is simple. My whole point is that it is complex.

        Pro-choice … politicians don’t disagree with the Church “on the biological issue of when human beings come into existence.”…

        I think they have the right to speak for themselves.

        By the way, there really are no “biological issues.” Science is science, is it not? The moral question of personhood is quite different from the scientific question of whether a fetus is a genetically distinct human being. There may be a debate about whether it is a human person, but not whether it is a human being.

        Yet there is a debate.

  • The Pachyderminator

    There’s certainly a place for subtlety and nuance, but there’s also a place for calling a spade a spade. The Human Dignity Project looks like a worthy cause, and I wish it the best of luck.

  • The Pachyderminator

    There’s certainly a place for subtlety and nuance, but there’s also a place for calling a spade a spade. The Human Dignity Project looks like a worthy cause, and I wish it the best of luck.

  • Peter Paul Fuchs

    Look, it would be one thing for Dolan to say that the Catholic Church has refined its mission, and now is ready to grant a more encompassing amplitude of rights and responsibilities based on a favorite concept, human dignity. But the background for the almost a priori sense it is given here is just confounded by the fact that in many ways, if not most perhaps. the Catholic Church was massively engaged in the opposite. It takes a special kind of fellow — and not special in a good way– to stand in front of his fellow human beings and announce a shiny abstraction that his own faith was often against in past. No one blames them for changing, and it is a good thing! But from vast generations of serfs and peasants enslaved by church benefices for most of the Church’s history, to the de facto and utterly metaphysical demeaning of poor people’s own souls by way of finance geared purgatory- lessening practices which they could ill afford unlike the rich, the Church has been against human dignity basically as much as it ever was for it. That doe not in any way cancel out or make less dramatic individuals like Las Casas. But please note that Las Casas is not a saint! While many an enriched bishop of the past is! Thus, I am afraid that the “nuance” others claim to find here seems decidedly like the “miracle” of the liquefying blood of St. Januarius. And the Archbishop seems, as usual, alluding to some great sense of things, which only the truly untutored or the dogmatically hide-bound can endorse.

  • Peter Paul Fuchs

    Look, it would be one thing for Dolan to say that the Catholic Church has refined its mission, and now is ready to grant a more encompassing amplitude of rights and responsibilities based on a favorite concept, human dignity. But the background for the almost a priori sense it is given here is just confounded by the fact that in many ways, if not most perhaps. the Catholic Church was massively engaged in the opposite. It takes a special kind of fellow — and not special in a good way– to stand in front of his fellow human beings and announce a shiny abstraction that his own faith was often against in past. No one blames them for changing, and it is a good thing! But from vast generations of serfs and peasants enslaved by church benefices for most of the Church’s history, to the de facto and utterly metaphysical demeaning of poor people’s own souls by way of finance geared purgatory- lessening practices which they could ill afford unlike the rich, the Church has been against human dignity basically as much as it ever was for it. That doe not in any way cancel out or make less dramatic individuals like Las Casas. But please note that Las Casas is not a saint! While many an enriched bishop of the past is! Thus, I am afraid that the “nuance” others claim to find here seems decidedly like the “miracle” of the liquefying blood of St. Januarius. And the Archbishop seems, as usual, alluding to some great sense of things, which only the truly untutored or the dogmatically hide-bound can endorse.

  • bill bannon

    Will Archbishop Dolan or Pope Benedict debate the death penalty on TV against Dr. Petit all of whose family females were raped and or/ and burned by two men who as of yesterday now both have been sentenced to death in Connecticut partially by jurors who were originally against the death penalty? No….our leaders will not debate Dr. Petit because they sense that he has been intimate with something that is real not remote and he has publically distinguished personal vengance from commensurate punishment and he has demanded the death penalty and gotten it from several jurors who opposed it until they saw the Petit case. The only pity is that lawyers will get government money to drag out the appeals as long as they can. I believe in the seamed garment of life. For years now I thru hustling for money in the stock market, rescue monthly, Beijing babies whose mothers have abandoned them so they can have the healthy one child allowed in China. And I totally favor executing murderers at the discretion of juries. Many murders if not most are spouses in the heat of attachment strangely. But the Petit case was about perfect darkness of choice and not even the troubled childhood of the criminals worked on jurors who opposed execution…until the Petit case.
    David….you’d be proud of me. I as a civilian caught a thief in the act on Thursday again…again… in the NY harbor area…and I thought of the Vox Nova seamless crowd as I went for a folding razel in my pocket in case he drew something similar on me….and I stilled my hand, moved toward him and he surrendered the item quickly and he started lying like a 100knot Bokhara rug (yes I’m 6’3″ with a tombstone mustache and ex gymnast muscles). I preached to him instead of choking him…. about how hell is the default setting and you have to conquer evil in yourself to reach purgatory. He appreciated my surprising turn whatever he thought of the religious part. So you’re having an effect on me David….but epikeia dictates I carry the razel….I know these streets too well. NJ law does not allow adequate defense outside the home….God does though.

    • Liam

      Lotta ego in there…..

  • bill bannon

    Will Archbishop Dolan or Pope Benedict debate the death penalty on TV against Dr. Petit all of whose family females were raped and or/ and burned by two men who as of yesterday now both have been sentenced to death in Connecticut partially by jurors who were originally against the death penalty? No….our leaders will not debate Dr. Petit because they sense that he has been intimate with something that is real not remote and he has publically distinguished personal vengance from commensurate punishment and he has demanded the death penalty and gotten it from several jurors who opposed it until they saw the Petit case. The only pity is that lawyers will get government money to drag out the appeals as long as they can. I believe in the seamed garment of life. For years now I thru hustling for money in the stock market, rescue monthly, Beijing babies whose mothers have abandoned them so they can have the healthy one child allowed in China. And I totally favor executing murderers at the discretion of juries. Many murders if not most are spouses in the heat of attachment strangely. But the Petit case was about perfect darkness of choice and not even the troubled childhood of the criminals worked on jurors who opposed execution…until the Petit case.
    David….you’d be proud of me. I as a civilian caught a thief in the act on Thursday again…again… in the NY harbor area…and I thought of the Vox Nova seamless crowd as I went for a folding razel in my pocket in case he drew something similar on me….and I stilled my hand, moved toward him and he surrendered the item quickly and he started lying like a 100knot Bokhara rug (yes I’m 6’3″ with a tombstone mustache and ex gymnast muscles). I preached to him instead of choking him…. about how hell is the default setting and you have to conquer evil in yourself to reach purgatory. He appreciated my surprising turn whatever he thought of the religious part. So you’re having an effect on me David….but epikeia dictates I carry the razel….I know these streets too well. NJ law does not allow adequate defense outside the home….God does though.

    • Liam

      Lotta ego in there…..

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Bill,

    Archbishop Dolan and Pope Benedict have debated with Dr. Petit in that they have entered the public debate with strong moral arguments against the death penalty. Dr. Petit himself has joined the debate in this fashion: consult his 2009 op-ed piece on the death penalty (republished in today’s Hartford Courant). It is a string of mis-statements of the law and exaggerations that boil down to special pleading: his standing as a family member of victims of horrific crimes gives him special standing on this matter.

    And you seem to accept this standing uncritically. I do not. I feel great sorrow for him: he has undergone a loss so terrible that I cannot understand it fully. But this does not mean that I believe we should shape public policy according to his wishes. There are many family members of murder victims, parents and husbands of women raped and murdered, who are quite vehemently opposed to the death penalty. If it were not for the work of death penalty activists, their voices would be effectively silenced by the police, prosecutors and the media. I find their arguments, drawn from the same well-spring of grief and loss, much more compelling.

    You continue to reject the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter: that is your privilege, but your arguments for doing so continue to ignore the central question of the dignity of the human person, as well as the manifest failure of the death penalty as public policy in America: it is racist, capricious in application, error prone and a great drain on public resources that could be better spent elsewhere. It does not keep us safer.

    Finally, as for being proud of you: I am going to take that for the sarcasm it seems to be. When you give your coat to someone who demands your wallet at gunpoint, then I will be proud of you. When you forgive three assailants who have beaten you to a pulp in your home and then have the gall to ask for your prayers, then I will be proud of you. (Google both of these stories: they are examples of Christian forgiveness.)

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Bill,

    Archbishop Dolan and Pope Benedict have debated with Dr. Petit in that they have entered the public debate with strong moral arguments against the death penalty. Dr. Petit himself has joined the debate in this fashion: consult his 2009 op-ed piece on the death penalty (republished in today’s Hartford Courant). It is a string of mis-statements of the law and exaggerations that boil down to special pleading: his standing as a family member of victims of horrific crimes gives him special standing on this matter.

    And you seem to accept this standing uncritically. I do not. I feel great sorrow for him: he has undergone a loss so terrible that I cannot understand it fully. But this does not mean that I believe we should shape public policy according to his wishes. There are many family members of murder victims, parents and husbands of women raped and murdered, who are quite vehemently opposed to the death penalty. If it were not for the work of death penalty activists, their voices would be effectively silenced by the police, prosecutors and the media. I find their arguments, drawn from the same well-spring of grief and loss, much more compelling.

    You continue to reject the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter: that is your privilege, but your arguments for doing so continue to ignore the central question of the dignity of the human person, as well as the manifest failure of the death penalty as public policy in America: it is racist, capricious in application, error prone and a great drain on public resources that could be better spent elsewhere. It does not keep us safer.

    Finally, as for being proud of you: I am going to take that for the sarcasm it seems to be. When you give your coat to someone who demands your wallet at gunpoint, then I will be proud of you. When you forgive three assailants who have beaten you to a pulp in your home and then have the gall to ask for your prayers, then I will be proud of you. (Google both of these stories: they are examples of Christian forgiveness.)

  • bill bannon

    David,
    2009 and Dr. Petit was immoderate….how understanding you are of time and the human heart.

    Let’s look first at this claim of yours:

    ” You continue to reject the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter.”

    Response:
    There are two sectors of Catholic teaching: the definitive and the non definitive.

    The latter has been wrong historically at times and costs thousands of lives in the case of burning heretics (Inquisitor Llorente:31 thousand/ Durant 6 thousand/ recent scholars?) which burning was papally mandated of secular authorities in 1253 A.D. (“Inquisition”/ Catholic Encyclopedia/newadvent) but doctrinally supported in Exsurge Domine by LeoX 1520 AD (art.33 condemned) and yet….any Catholic Theology or Philosophy profs here at Vox Nova and Bishops like Dolan make a Profession of Faith to support that non definitive sector of Catholic teaching which means they would have had to support burning heretics in 1520 so as to keep their teaching jobs were this oath projected back to then.
    What you are calling Church teaching…non definitive level…. burned people to death (papally) from 1253 til the last one probably in the 18th century with decreasing frequency excepting local outbursts. That means that the non definitive level of Church teaching should not be protected as it is now by the Profession of Faith because it could cost lives once again. In this case of the death penalty, we know that Fr. Geoghan was murdered in jail by a permanent lifer who could not be executed for the prison murder in a non death penalty state, Massachusetts. Mr. Druce, serving life without parole for killing a gay who made a pass at him was sentenced to a second life without parole sentence for strangling and stomping Fr. Geoghan to death. But John Paul implied that life sentences protect? Let’s imagine that Massachusetts then puts Mr. Druce in solitary…..what does that mean in terms of Catholic non definitive teaching? It means the current Catholic campaign to eradicate the death penalty gives each no parole lifer murderer …one additional free murder within real prisons (not imaginary prisons with limitless budgets) before they might be sent to solitary. Gangs of course can use this Catholic loop hole multiple times in prison. A death penalty for any such prison murders would prevent the majority of them because capture is almost assured.

    Catholic non definitive teaching as now developed into “eradicate death penalties” by Benedict, which some of you are or will be sworn to, in order to get a pay check, has killed inmates like Fr. Geoghan in those states where it is operative prior to Catholic influence asking for it. Dolan cannot become Cardinal if he is silent in this area. He must be proactively papal as Cardinal Law was on sexual issues ironically. Some of you cannot reach tenure if you criticize Rome on this.

    Catholic non definitive teaching will once again kill people indirectly in prison as Catholic non definitive teaching once burned people directly outside prisons.
    Catholic professionals who question will suffer financially as to jobs or tenure or clergy stalling mid career. The burning heretics Catholic teaching (non definitive) lasted 600 years and this anti death penalty Catholic teaching one could kill inmates just as long.

  • bill bannon

    David,
    2009 and Dr. Petit was immoderate….how understanding you are of time and the human heart.

    Let’s look first at this claim of yours:

    ” You continue to reject the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter.”

    Response:
    There are two sectors of Catholic teaching: the definitive and the non definitive.

    The latter has been wrong historically at times and costs thousands of lives in the case of burning heretics (Inquisitor Llorente:31 thousand/ Durant 6 thousand/ recent scholars?) which burning was papally mandated of secular authorities in 1253 A.D. (“Inquisition”/ Catholic Encyclopedia/newadvent) but doctrinally supported in Exsurge Domine by LeoX 1520 AD (art.33 condemned) and yet….any Catholic Theology or Philosophy profs here at Vox Nova and Bishops like Dolan make a Profession of Faith to support that non definitive sector of Catholic teaching which means they would have had to support burning heretics in 1520 so as to keep their teaching jobs were this oath projected back to then.
    What you are calling Church teaching…non definitive level…. burned people to death (papally) from 1253 til the last one probably in the 18th century with decreasing frequency excepting local outbursts. That means that the non definitive level of Church teaching should not be protected as it is now by the Profession of Faith because it could cost lives once again. In this case of the death penalty, we know that Fr. Geoghan was murdered in jail by a permanent lifer who could not be executed for the prison murder in a non death penalty state, Massachusetts. Mr. Druce, serving life without parole for killing a gay who made a pass at him was sentenced to a second life without parole sentence for strangling and stomping Fr. Geoghan to death. But John Paul implied that life sentences protect? Let’s imagine that Massachusetts then puts Mr. Druce in solitary…..what does that mean in terms of Catholic non definitive teaching? It means the current Catholic campaign to eradicate the death penalty gives each no parole lifer murderer …one additional free murder within real prisons (not imaginary prisons with limitless budgets) before they might be sent to solitary. Gangs of course can use this Catholic loop hole multiple times in prison. A death penalty for any such prison murders would prevent the majority of them because capture is almost assured.

    Catholic non definitive teaching as now developed into “eradicate death penalties” by Benedict, which some of you are or will be sworn to, in order to get a pay check, has killed inmates like Fr. Geoghan in those states where it is operative prior to Catholic influence asking for it. Dolan cannot become Cardinal if he is silent in this area. He must be proactively papal as Cardinal Law was on sexual issues ironically. Some of you cannot reach tenure if you criticize Rome on this.

    Catholic non definitive teaching will once again kill people indirectly in prison as Catholic non definitive teaching once burned people directly outside prisons.
    Catholic professionals who question will suffer financially as to jobs or tenure or clergy stalling mid career. The burning heretics Catholic teaching (non definitive) lasted 600 years and this anti death penalty Catholic teaching one could kill inmates just as long.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Bill,

    you were the one calling for a debate between Petit and others on the death penalty. It is going on. I can have pity on a man who has suffered grievously, but if he is going to enter into a public debate and use his situation to influence public policy (as he did last year to derail the abolition bill), then I regard myself as free to criticize his very public arguments.

    As for your ad hominem attacks on me and my fellow bloggers: I let them through, this once, to clarify your misapprehension of my situation. I am a tenured full professor of mathematics at a non-Catholic institution. I don’t need to “toe the party line” on the death penalty or anything else to preserve my job or my funding. I cannot speak definitively for the others, but I strongly doubt the others feel constrained in this way either.

    You also wrote:

    “It means the current Catholic campaign to eradicate the death penalty gives each no parole lifer murderer …one additional free murder within real prisons (not imaginary prisons with limitless budgets) before they might be sent to solitary. Gangs of course can use this Catholic loop hole multiple times in prison.”

    One person was murdered in prison seems a very thin reed on which to base this argument. Do you have any empirical evidence that this is the case? What about the 17 states that do not have the death penalty? Their prisons are filled with men who committed quite heinous crimes, but this has not led to a rash of murders in their prisons. I have not seen any reports (besides comments from pro-death penalty supporters) that gangs are exploiting this “loophole.” To the contrary, I have heard the testimony of prison wardens, who actually dealt with these problems, arguing that they do not need the death penalty to preserve good order in their prisons.

    As for the murder of Fr. Geoghan: men who abuse children are almost always the target of retributive violence and the prison should have protected him from it. Instead, while he was placed in protective custody, he was placed in the same cell as a white supremacist with sexual issues (he murdered a man who purportedly made a pass at him) and kept there despite warnings from other prisoners that Druce was planning something.

    So yes, here in the real world with real prisons with real budgets we do not need the death penalty.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Bill,

    you were the one calling for a debate between Petit and others on the death penalty. It is going on. I can have pity on a man who has suffered grievously, but if he is going to enter into a public debate and use his situation to influence public policy (as he did last year to derail the abolition bill), then I regard myself as free to criticize his very public arguments.

    As for your ad hominem attacks on me and my fellow bloggers: I let them through, this once, to clarify your misapprehension of my situation. I am a tenured full professor of mathematics at a non-Catholic institution. I don’t need to “toe the party line” on the death penalty or anything else to preserve my job or my funding. I cannot speak definitively for the others, but I strongly doubt the others feel constrained in this way either.

    You also wrote:

    “It means the current Catholic campaign to eradicate the death penalty gives each no parole lifer murderer …one additional free murder within real prisons (not imaginary prisons with limitless budgets) before they might be sent to solitary. Gangs of course can use this Catholic loop hole multiple times in prison.”

    One person was murdered in prison seems a very thin reed on which to base this argument. Do you have any empirical evidence that this is the case? What about the 17 states that do not have the death penalty? Their prisons are filled with men who committed quite heinous crimes, but this has not led to a rash of murders in their prisons. I have not seen any reports (besides comments from pro-death penalty supporters) that gangs are exploiting this “loophole.” To the contrary, I have heard the testimony of prison wardens, who actually dealt with these problems, arguing that they do not need the death penalty to preserve good order in their prisons.

    As for the murder of Fr. Geoghan: men who abuse children are almost always the target of retributive violence and the prison should have protected him from it. Instead, while he was placed in protective custody, he was placed in the same cell as a white supremacist with sexual issues (he murdered a man who purportedly made a pass at him) and kept there despite warnings from other prisoners that Druce was planning something.

    So yes, here in the real world with real prisons with real budgets we do not need the death penalty.

  • bill bannon

    David
    Benedict will not expose himself to tough reporters on such issues let alone debate in the real sense against another person in public. You and I are using the term “debate” very differently. You’ve removed the exposure of ego element by letting him debate remotely wherein he does not face cross examination. I suspect no university debating club would call announcing from a safe distance…. debating.

    Reread and find for yourself an ad hominem attack on you specifically in my notes on Catholic theology profs. There is none….nor on the others here for a different reason. There is by me a statement on the temptation endemic to Church leaders and theology/ philosophy profs. Think…are you saying that Vox Nova can show the temptations endemic to Wall Street and to Dr. Petit and to Obama and planned prenthood and to military generals etc…..but no one can similarly point out the temptation that goes endemically with taking the profession of faith in the context of making a living? That is special pleading. Because He was God, Christ went way further than I and actually denounced the pharisees as a group even though He knew there were good ones like Nicodemus. In Dolan’s case my remarks awake people to Dolan being a human rather than an angel. As a human, he could well be motivated partly from hope of advancement because Cardinal Law when a young priest boasted to a friend that he himself would be the first US Pope. Humans unlike angels can have one eye on truth in se and one eye on ambition. Fr. Corapi said exactly the Church obedient things that he may have believed but which were also perfect fits as to the type of people who bought his tapes and increased his wealth.

    On numbers murdered in prison in the US: 4 per 100,000 in state prisons which translates to 41 murdered per year which if the Church is wrong on this for the 600 years of the burning heretic error, that would be 24,600 murdered in prison for an identical time span…more than average Inquisition burnings estimates by far now.

    Biblically we know that fast execution (not US execution) deters because God ordered such among the Jews in Deut.17 without trial and when God kills Saphirra through Peter’s verbal participation as first Pope in Acts 5, the section ends saying, “the whole community took fear”….meaning fast execution not ten year wait execution deters.
    The US has nullified this quickness of execution via the Supreme Court. If they could make an exception of in prison, video taped or massively witnessed murders by prisoners, they could have fast biblical executions which would protect prisoners from lifer murderers.
    The catechism #2267 actually allows for the theoretic rare execution but Benedict’s and Dolan’s abolition campaign is a dissent from #2267 and yet….silence throughout the blogs when Popes dissent against the non definitive.

  • bill bannon

    David
    Benedict will not expose himself to tough reporters on such issues let alone debate in the real sense against another person in public. You and I are using the term “debate” very differently. You’ve removed the exposure of ego element by letting him debate remotely wherein he does not face cross examination. I suspect no university debating club would call announcing from a safe distance…. debating.

    Reread and find for yourself an ad hominem attack on you specifically in my notes on Catholic theology profs. There is none….nor on the others here for a different reason. There is by me a statement on the temptation endemic to Church leaders and theology/ philosophy profs. Think…are you saying that Vox Nova can show the temptations endemic to Wall Street and to Dr. Petit and to Obama and planned prenthood and to military generals etc…..but no one can similarly point out the temptation that goes endemically with taking the profession of faith in the context of making a living? That is special pleading. Because He was God, Christ went way further than I and actually denounced the pharisees as a group even though He knew there were good ones like Nicodemus. In Dolan’s case my remarks awake people to Dolan being a human rather than an angel. As a human, he could well be motivated partly from hope of advancement because Cardinal Law when a young priest boasted to a friend that he himself would be the first US Pope. Humans unlike angels can have one eye on truth in se and one eye on ambition. Fr. Corapi said exactly the Church obedient things that he may have believed but which were also perfect fits as to the type of people who bought his tapes and increased his wealth.

    On numbers murdered in prison in the US: 4 per 100,000 in state prisons which translates to 41 murdered per year which if the Church is wrong on this for the 600 years of the burning heretic error, that would be 24,600 murdered in prison for an identical time span…more than average Inquisition burnings estimates by far now.

    Biblically we know that fast execution (not US execution) deters because God ordered such among the Jews in Deut.17 without trial and when God kills Saphirra through Peter’s verbal participation as first Pope in Acts 5, the section ends saying, “the whole community took fear”….meaning fast execution not ten year wait execution deters.
    The US has nullified this quickness of execution via the Supreme Court. If they could make an exception of in prison, video taped or massively witnessed murders by prisoners, they could have fast biblical executions which would protect prisoners from lifer murderers.
    The catechism #2267 actually allows for the theoretic rare execution but Benedict’s and Dolan’s abolition campaign is a dissent from #2267 and yet….silence throughout the blogs when Popes dissent against the non definitive.

  • bill bannon

    ps
    In other words we are executing c. 46 people per year and inmates murdered c. 41 prisoners per year yet the Church doesn’t mention the latter at all nor campaigns against it because perhaps it would overturn John Paul’s “modern penology protects” thesis.

  • bill bannon

    ps
    In other words we are executing c. 46 people per year and inmates murdered c. 41 prisoners per year yet the Church doesn’t mention the latter at all nor campaigns against it because perhaps it would overturn John Paul’s “modern penology protects” thesis.

  • Thales

    David,

    The video of the talk is now up:
    http://lifeinitiatives.nd.edu/ndhumandignity/

    It’s great stuff! I’d be interested in hearing what you think about the talk (and questions/answers) in their entirety.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      Thanks for finding this!

  • Thales

    David,

    The video of the talk is now up:
    http://lifeinitiatives.nd.edu/ndhumandignity/

    It’s great stuff! I’d be interested in hearing what you think about the talk (and questions/answers) in their entirety.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

      Thanks for finding this!