Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tom Knott says "adios" to consistent logic, "hola" to Kaine

Tom Knott in the Washington Times writes today: Say 'adios' to consistent logic, 'hola' to Kaine. Speaking of logic, I think that GOP majority in the General Assembly should put Kaine to the test on what he said during the campaign. If Kaine is truly pro-life, but will enforce the current law that keeps abortion legal, let's see if he'll support some commonsense pro-life legislation that doesn't outlaw abortion when it is put before him. If Kaine is truly against the death penalty, but will enforce the current law that supports capital punishment, let's see if he'll veto new capital punishment legislation (such as the elimination of the trigger man rule or extending it to include gang member conspirators.) I'd bet that he'd veto both the pro-life and the capital punishment legislation. I'd be pleasantly surprised if he signed both. If he signed the pro-life and vetoed the capital punishment, then we'd at least know that he was remaining consistent with his personal religious beliefs. (By the way, as a practicing Catholic myself, I can state that the Church itself does NOT rule out capital punishment in every instance and does make allowances that there are rare instances when it should be carried out. Here's the case that made me pro-death penalty.)

25 Comments:

At 11/10/2005 01:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense bitterness.

 
At 11/10/2005 02:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll never understand Kaine's positions because for you, politics is about power and control rather than public service and a measured understanding of what government can and cannot do, as well as when it is appropriate to impose your views on others and when it isn't. No bill is just "pro-life" or "pro-choice": there are any number of complicated policy rights and wrongs involved: sometimes a pro-life measure can cause more abortions (as Republicans seem to accomplish whenever they are in power, despite being against abortion) or agreement on what is really "common sense." So I suggest that your litmus test for Kaine will, as always, be nothing more than a crude application of your own biases than anything.

 
At 11/10/2005 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

All I'm saying is, let's see where there MAY be some common ground based upon what he said in the campaign.

Would Gov. Kaine sign, say, a bill that requires doctors to inform patients about possible fetal pain as some other states have? Or would he veto it? And if he would veto it, what would his justification be?

He said in both instances that he'd uphold the law, but he never addressed changes in the law, either regarding capital punishment or abortion.

 
At 11/10/2005 03:30:00 PM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

Riley:

Although the Church does not specifically stand against Capital Punishment, Pope John Paul II came out and said that in modern society there were no circumstances remaining in which this punnishment was necessary or justified... also you will notcie that with each edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church the seciton regarding Capital Punishment become increasingly more strict...

BTW... what is happening to our Patriots?

 
At 11/10/2005 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't beleive that I'm about to agree with nova9, but her point is important.

While Riley is technically correct that the Church does not rule out capital punishment in all cases, I have to say that he has tended over the past few months to oversell this fact on this blog. With all due respect to Riley, he seems to be trying to defend or excuse the conflict between his personal beliefs and that of the Church.

At the end of the day, the Church is against capital punishment as it is enforced in Virginia (and in most other states, especially Texas.) A priest once told me that while the Church does leave some wiggle room on the death penalty, there is not a single execution in Virginia in the modern era that has met this standard. So to say that it's OK for Catholics to support the death penalty might be convenient for those that do, but it is not really accurate.

Jim, I'm saying that you're wrong to support it. You have to live with your own conscience and if the death penalty is part of that, then so be it. But to be fair, the man after whom you want a high school named would have disagreed with your characterization of the Church's position.

 
At 11/10/2005 03:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"BTW... what is happening to our Patriots?"

What happened is that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time and your precious Tom Brady is a girlie-man.

 
At 11/10/2005 03:57:00 PM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

Ok I am not about to get into a philosophical debate about this but:

PEYTON MANNING IS THE WORST SPORTSMAN EVERY TO WALK ON A PROFESSIONAL ATHETIC FIELD (and that includes Alex "Money, Money, Money" Rodriguez"

also: what do u mean her?!?!

 
At 11/10/2005 04:18:00 PM, Blogger Steven said...

WashTimes column intro: "It is a time to celebrate for the tax-and-spend and illegal-alien supporters of Virginia after the gubernatorial election of Democrat Timothy M. Kaine."

Oh my, with faith-based -- It's all hail back and forth with the choirboy!

~ the blue dog

 
At 11/10/2005 04:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"also: what do u mean her?!?!"

I'm sorry. Since I wasn't sure, I had to assume that only a female would root for that pretty boy Tom Brady.

As Jeff Saturday would say, "SNAP!!"

(My sincerest apologies for the error.)

 
At 11/10/2005 04:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I had a typo. When I said, "Jim, I'm saying that you're wrong to support it," I meant to say, "Jim, I'm NOT saying that you're wrong to support it."

I just skipped a word. It's not my place to judge other people's opinions. Even if it was, I'm not sure that I would criticize Riley for his views on this issue.

 
At 11/10/2005 04:34:00 PM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

hahahahaha.... as a die hard pats fan i must admit sadly tom is a pretty boy.... but you must admit he is a smarter quarterback and a better team player... considering Peyton always blames the rest of the team for his own failings...

sounds like the President... i guess i can see why you like him after all :)

 
At 11/10/2005 04:57:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Personally, I agree that it should rarely be used. The case that I point to in this piece is where a person was already serving 2 life sentences and he went on to brutally assault and murder a female prison guard. The Church states that capital punishment is acceptible in circumstances when there is no viable alternative to saving other lives. Lemuel Smith was in prison for life, yet still murdered again. That's the sort of case where I support it.

 
At 11/10/2005 05:16:00 PM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

riley what you are ignoring is that the Pope clarified that statement in the 1990s stating that it was not possible in modern society to apply capital punihsment

 
At 11/10/2005 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, It's OK that your position on killing people is different than that of the Catholic Church, of which you claim to be a member. If you think that John Paul the Great was wrong, that's OK too. You have the right to say that John Paul wasn't so "Great" on his belief that all human life is sacred. Plenty of Catholics disagree with the Church on some things... I think that you are called "Cafeteria Catholics."

Please, you don't need to justify or excuse your belief that only "most" human life is sacre, to us. The fact that you are mostly pro-life with exceptions puts you in the mainstream.

 
At 11/11/2005 09:12:00 AM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Actually, this is what John Paul the Great wrote in "Evangelium vitae" back in 1995:

"It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

See "rare" and "practically non-existent" both leave room for those extreme exceptions where it must unfortunately be applied in situations in defense of society. That is a little different from what NOVA-9 wrote that the Pope said that it was "not possible in modern society to apply capital punihsment". I'll go with the direct quote from the Pope over a paraphrase.

John Paul the Great then went on to write:

"If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the commandment "You shall not kill" has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment."

See, here he uses the term "absolute" when dealing with innocent lives. Why would he have made such a distinction then if there weren't exceptions where the death penalty must unfortunately be applied?

So, Anon. 11:47, my position is square with JPII's definitive writing on this.

If anyone wants to read the actual text of what the Pope wrote, it can be found on the Vatican's website here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

 
At 11/11/2005 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

And Anon. 3:48 claimed that "While Riley is technically correct that the Church does not rule out capital punishment in all cases, I have to say that he has tended over the past few months to oversell this fact on this blog."

I'm actually trying to remember when I ever really addressed the death penalty on this blog previously. I may have, but I'm not sure if I ever did. Could you please point to where I've oversold the Church's position on the death penalty on this blog (aside from any comments in this thread)?

 
At 11/11/2005 11:54:00 AM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

Riley:

I understand your stance on C.Punishment... I just think that you are missing the "spirit" of Evangelicum Vitae... but it is your persoanl faith so I going to have to accept that...

But I just want you to say that as much as you dislike TIm Kaine (im not even sure that you "dislike" hinm.. but I know you supported his opponnent) it is refreshing to finally see a DEmocrat talk openly about his faith without seeming fake and uncomfortable...

 
At 11/11/2005 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

No, I don't dislike Kaine. I disagree with him. I may make some partisan jokes about him and Warner and others in the loyal opposition. But I do have to give him credit that it takes guts to take the stand that he did and then actually back it up with a faith-based reason. That is refreshing to see on the D side of the aisle.

As far as the "spirit" of EV, I'm much more of a textualist the same I am with the Constitution. I guess I was molded in the same way that Scalia, Thomas and Roberts were (not really a coincidence I suppose since the three of them all have ties to my alma mater.) So, I guess we'll agree to disagree on this and other matters politic even as we agree on professional sports....

 
At 11/11/2005 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - Check the U.S. Conference of Bishops position on capital punishment:

Catholic Teaching and the Death Penalty

Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to comfort and
support victims and their families. It also acknowledges
the God-given dignity of every human life, even those
who do great harm.

Catholic teaching on human life is rooted in the belief that
life is a gift from God that we must respect and protect. As
it is applied to the death penalty, this teaching is both complicated and clear. The Church has long acknowledged the right of the state to use the death penalty in order to protect society. However, in recent years, Pope John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican’s
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and statements
from bishops have more clearly insisted that the state should forgo this right if it has other means to protect society. Our fundamental respect for every human life and for God, who created each person in his image, requires that we choose not to end a human life in response to violent
crimes if non-lethal options are available. Moreover, at a time when respect for the sanctity of human life is undermined in many ways, the Church’s opposition to the use of the death penalty is an important witness in support of a
culture of life.

In his encyclical The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II called us
to choose “to be unconditionally pro-life”(no. 28). During his
last visit to the United States, he referenced the encyclical in
a speech in St. Louis: “The new evangelization calls for followers
of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation.

A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity
of human life must never be taken away, even in the case
of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the
means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”

In response to Pope John Paul II’s call to end the death penalty
during his January 1999 visit, the bishops issued A Good Friday
Appeal to End the Death Penalty. They reiterated his challenge to
“end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.”

They concluded that their opposition to the death penalty is
important not only for “what it does to those guilty of horrible
crimes but for what it does to all of us as a society.”

Pope John Paul II and bishops from across the country have continued to appeal for an end to the use of the death penalty and have asked Catholics to join in a witness for life.

 
At 11/11/2005 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

I'll take the Pope's written word over the U.S. Conference of Bishops any way. Wasn't it the U.S. Bishops who misstated Cardinal Ratzinger's position on Catholic politicians who support abortion and their ability to receive communion?

 
At 11/11/2005 05:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So desperate to believe that he's actually a good Catholic.

Kinda sad, actually.

 
At 11/11/2005 05:50:00 PM, Blogger NoVA9 said...

no... it was the US media that misinterpreted that letter from Ratzi...

and to 5:26... it is not up to anyone person on Earth to judge any person's faith and their commitment to it... that is between the person and the big man...

 
At 11/11/2005 09:50:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Yes, the media did distort Cardinal Ratzinger's letter, but that was only because our very own Cardinal McCarrick did not release the text of it and paraphrased what it supposedly said. Unfortunately, he soft-pedaled it and when the text came out, it was there for anyone to see. So again, I'll take the Pope's written word over a statement issued by the U.S. Conference of Bishops. (Somehow, we've moved from JPII's written word to Benedict's.) Either way, that's the definitive authority for me here on Earth.

What I initially wrote that caused this stir was the Church "does make allowances that there are rare instances when it should be carried out". I don't see how that statement is inconsistent with JPII's writing that I quoted above that read, "Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

Okay, so I only used the term "rare" instead of JPII's description of "very rare." I'll amend my initial statement to include the word "very." Is my position square with the encyclical now?

 
At 11/12/2005 09:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our lord, Jesus Christ, was given capital punishment. Are you telling me that you believe that your religion, which is based on the life of a man who was executed, supports capital punishment?

 
At 11/12/2005 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riley, this is simple. With our without the word "very", I think we can agree that the word "rare" is operative here. In many of these United States, especially Texas and Virginia, capital punishment is not, in fact, "rare". Indeed, by any modern comparative standard, it is "common" to execute murderers in Virginia, and Jerry Kilgore would have made it more common if he had had his way. No one on this blog has said that you do not have the right to agree with Jerry Kilgore. No one on this blog is saying that you don't have the right to support the stauts quo.

Where you lose credibility is in the fact that it is SO important to you that you continue to have these opinions without anyone questioning your Catholicism. So in order to prove that you are not a bad Catholic, you keep hiding behind this idea that the Church allows it in "rare" cases. Fine: the Church condones capital punishment in "rare" cases. The fact that, at least hypothetically, there are exceptions allowed only works if the person who stated that the exceptions are allowed defines the exceptions. For someone to essentially say, "Oh, exceptions are allowed in rare cases obviously means that exceptions are allowed when Jerry Kilgore and Jim Riley say they are allowed" doesn't cut it. Regardless of how YOU define "rare" or "very rare", JPII said that capital punishment was used too frequently in the United States and that there is no reason to use it in the modern era.

If you think that the Church is wrong or that the Pope was wrong, then say so. You're allowed to disagree with the Pope. This is America, a country founded by a bunch of disgruntled Protestants. The Bill of Rights guarantees your right to disagree with the Pope. On the other hand, if you feel at some level that the Pope was right, and are troubled by the fact that that your personal views are in conflict with those of the Church, you have four choices the way I see it: 1) Changes churches; 2) Change your views; 3) Learn to live with the fact that you disagree with Church teaching; 4) Talk to your Pastor, Pray for Guidance and SINCERELY ask God to reconcile your heart on this matter.

If we were discussing an interpretation of the eighth amendment here, your methods of argument would be perfect. You are good lawyer and you are good at reading things carefully and using your logic and your cleverness to present a viable interpretation of those words to fit your argument. You would make an excellent judge. But we're not in court. We're talking about faith. Spin it however you'd like, the official hierarchy of the Catholic Church opposes the death penalty as it is handed out in Virginia. Catholics are called to abide by that belief. If you don't believe me, ask your priest. But don't do so as a lawyer trying to make a case. Look in your heart and forget the semantics. Would Jesus Christ, whose WHOLE message was based on forgiveness, be happy with the way Virginia enforces the death penalty? If you think that the Lord would support capital punishment, then that's your faith. Embrace it, don't become an apologist for it. If you think that the Lord would NOT support capital punishment, then YOU, and no one else on this blog, needs to reconcile that for you.

At the risk of sounding like a bumber sticker, I challenge you to REALLY ask yourself: What would Jesus do?

 

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