Francis doesn’t work in positive space. He doesn’t paint the bowl of fruit, he paints the room the bowl sits in. It is your mind that that supplies the image that fills the gap — and this appears to be exactly what he wants. To be too direct would make it possible for him to be pinned down.
We see this again and again. His repeated interviews with Eugenio Scalfari wherein he denies the existence of hell (among other outrageous things) but never denies Scalfari’s reportage that this is what he said. Negative space. His footnotes in Amoris Laetitia, and his letter to the Bishops of Buenos Aires (later made official in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis) leaving the clear impression that the divorced and remarried can receive Holy Communion without repentance, without so much as ever putting the permission in a sentence himself. Negative space. Signing the Abu Dhabi statement saying that God wills all religions, and then telling Bishop Schneider when asked for correction that he can tell people he meant something different, all while continuing to promote the original statement. Negative space.
And the most damning of all of these, the subject of our discussion today, is the negative space around his belief that the death penalty is intrinsically evil.
Pope Francis uses the term “inadmissible” to describe the death penalty, although it has no theological substance, and by avoiding words such as “immoral” or “wrong”, inflicts on discourse an ambiguity similar to parts of Amoris Laetitia. The obvious meaning is that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, but to say so outright would be too blatant.
Skojec himself directs us to a magisterial proclamation on this topic, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (8-1-18), but — being a magisterium of one himself –, blows it off with the dismissal: “No matter how hard” [the CDF tried] this assertion — made twice in the course of two paragraphs, as though they thought repetition would help sell it — is clearly false. Anyone trying to sell this line should arouse deep suspicion.”
That’s right! You tell ’em, Steve! This is, of course, why we have the CDF to help us clarify and better understand nuances and complexities of Catholic teaching, so self-appointed, self-important talking heads like Skojec can dismiss it with a thumbed nose and disdainful rolling eyes, as immediately suspect and “false.” Alas, how close Skojec is to the fiercely stubborn and independent / unable to be corrected by the Church spirit of Martin Luther.
90% of the time when I get a Google Alert with my name in it, it’s Dave Armstrong being a dumbass, hoping for clicks by going after me yet again. It’s OK to find a hobby, Dave. I’m alright if you quit me.