Saturday, December 09, 2017

By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment

updated through 1/2019

By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, 2017, Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press) . Visit or call 1-800-651-1531. 

Edward Feser's Blog, here:

Reviews and defense 

1) Edward Peters, Professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Canon Law,May 23, 2017,

"Feser and Bessette’s defense of capital punishment is a triumph of truth over platitude, of fact over fiction, of argument over emotion.  In response to recent condemnations of the death penalty issued by various ecclesiastics, Feser and Bessette calmly and methodically set forth the philosophical, Scriptural, doctrinal, and sociological arguments grounding the Catholic Church’s hitherto unquestioned – and ultimately unquestionable – support for the death penalty when it is justly administered."

" . . . all contributions to the capital punishment debate, especially as conducted by and among Catholics, must incorporate the work of Feser and Bessette or risk irrelevance."

"Defenders of capital punishment will find in these pages persuasive arguments upholding the proper exercise of this momentous state power and opponents of the death penalty will see their challenges accurately depicted and soberly answered." "This exactly is what Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette provide in their recent book, By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed, the most comprehensive case ever assembled. Yes, one can avoid becoming persuaded by not looking into that telescope. But if you do, you may see so clearly the unchanging nature of the question that you will quip, Eppur non si muove,“Nevertheless it does not move.” 

2) Reviews: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, Janet Smith, moral theologian, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2017 

" . . . the arguments are so strong, I timidly suggest, that perhaps the authors should have allowed readers to “draw their own conclusions” more often.  But let me say, the book simply flattens its opponents." "(Bessette)  uses this data to refute claims made by the (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) that capital punishment has no deterrent power, that innocent persons are regularly executed, that the application of the death penalty has been unfairly applied to minorities and the poor." 

"Feser systematically refutes the arguments of those who think the Church now teaches that capital punishment is intrinsically unjust.  He helps readers to see how weak our attachment to justice has become and how little we allow tight reasoning about justice to govern our thinking…" 

3) Yes, traditional Church teaching on capital punishment is definitive, Dr. Edward Feser, The Catholic World Report, 11/21/2017, 

"Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the popes for 2000 years have taught that capital punishment can be legitimate in principle . . .  this teaching is irreformable." 

"Given the “hermeneutic of continuity” emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI – and given especially the teaching of the First Vatican Council that popes have no authority to introduce new doctrines  . . . " 

4) Capital Punishment: Eppur non si muove, Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, NOVEMBER 4, 2017, 

“If bloodless means suffice, they must be used instead.” But what if bloodless means do not suffice? Then bloody means must be used. The man already in solitary confinement who finds his chance to murder the visiting physician or pastor. The revolutionary who remains a rallying point. Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Alfred Rosenberg, Hermann Goering, Arthur Seyss-Inquart – you think bloodless means suffice to uphold justice? You are entitled to that minority opinion, but you cannot say that it is against reason, against conscience, to hold otherwise." 

"But in our day, when even the heavens apparently do move, we need a different sort of telescope for seeing the changelessness of the other – one that has the clear lens of reason, and the long extension of history, and which is situated in a calm and still observatory." 

5) Reply to Brugger and Tollefsen 

Part 1

Traditional Catholic Doctrine on Capital Punishment is Irreversible: A Reply to E. Christian Brugger, by  Edward Feser, The Public Discourse, November 19th, 2017, 

"The Catholic Church has always taught that capital punishment can be legitimate under certain circumstances. Scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and every pope who has commented on the topic up to Benedict XVI have all clearly and repeatedly affirmed this teaching." 

Part 2 

St. John Paul II Did Not Change Catholic Teaching on Capital Punishment: A Reply to E.Christian Brugger by  Edward Feser, The Public Discourse,  November 20th, 2017, 

"To change (the Church's 2000 year old teachings) would be to contradict the clear and consistent teaching of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the popes, and no pope has the authority to do that." 

Part 3 

Capital Punishment, Catholicism, and Natural Law: A Reply to Christopher Tollefsen, by Edward Feser, 11/21/2017,  

" . . . the reason a person can be deprived even of the highest good, God, is that a person can do something to deserve such a loss. The same thing is true of life. A person has a right not to be killed unless—by virtue of having committed a sufficiently heinous crime—he has, as Pope Pius XII put it, “deprived himself of the right to live.” Tollefsen’s argument against capital punishment simply ignores the fact that the right to the enjoyment of a good any good—depends on whether or not one is guilty or innocent." 

6) Review: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, Daniel Lendman, Reading Religion, a publication of the American Academy of Religion, June 29, 2017, 

"Feser and Bessette… insist that the legitimacy of capital punishment is the ancient and long standing teaching of the Catholic Church.  [They] go even farther, laying out a compelling case that denying that capital punishment can be legitimate in principle is proximate to heresy…" 

"While the context of this argument is decidedly and purposefully Catholic, readers of different religions and belief systems can still find forceful natural law arguments supporting capital punishment in this book.  The authors also offer arguments claiming the prudence of using capital punishment in the United States, . . . "

7) "Can the Church ever bless the death penalty?", by Dan Hitchens, deputy editor of the Catholic Herald, 25 May 2017, 

"As Feser remarks  . . .  some theologians “have turned the notion of development into a euphemism or lawyer’s trick whereby outright reversals of past teaching are magically made orthodox by slapping the label ‘development’ on them.  You might as well say that denying Christ’s divinity or the doctrine of original sin can be reconciled with past teaching as long as we call them ‘developments’ and get enough people to go along with this sleight of hand.” 

“Punishment,” Feser and Bessette write, “is a matter of restoring the natural connection between pain and acting contrary to nature’s ends.” "They quote Aquinas as saying that since an offender “has been too indulgent to his will”, he should suffer “either willingly or unwillingly, something contrary to what he would wish”,for the sake of the “restoration of the equality of justice”. The same idea is affirmed by the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Punishment has the primary aimof redressing the disorder introduced by the offence.' " 

8) Capital Punishment Revisited, By CHRISTOPHER MANION, The Wanderer, 12/9/2017, 

From the book: “ . . . no Catholic may condemn capital punishment as intrinsically unjust, though a Catholic may still oppose the use of the death penalty on prudential grounds. But we will also show that there are no good prudential grounds for opposing it and that there are powerful prudential grounds not only for maintaining it but for applying it with some regularity." " . .  a highly recommended book that sheds the patient, clear light of reason on the issue of capital punishment  . . .  beautifully researched and clearly written work will now become the standard Catholic work on capital punishment." 

"Every U.S. bishop should read it." " . . . will it convince even one bishop? That prospect is a false hope and a distraction. In this and all efforts, the writer must have the goal not of persuading the hierarchy but of telling the truth, and letting the truth tell its own story. And the story told by this brilliant work is indeed worth telling." 

" . . . leaders and bureaucrats at the USCCB routinely violate that magisterial teaching, and pretend that theirs is the only permissible “Catholic” position when they choose a particular agenda item to champion." " . . . this bad habit has put the faithful in a position of delicacy, patiently and charitably reminding the bishops that they are trespassing in the realm that is the property of the laity." 

" . . . today it falls to the laity to explain the principles underlying the issues of crime and punishment, laying out the arguments to explain the principles in the light of the rich tradition of Catholic thought." " . . . the laity has a fundamental right to the truth, including when it comes to capital punishment . . . And the truth is exactly what Feser and Bessette offer in their impressive study.  . . . . they take great care in presenting a clear and rational discussion to shed the patient, clear light of reason on the issue . . .  from the point of view of the Natural Law, Church teaching, and theological and philosophical anthropology."

“Unfortunately, churchmen have in recent years not been equally respectful of the authority and duty of public officials to exercise their prudential judgment in applying Catholic social teaching when it comes to the death penalty.” 

F&B  “many Catholics today glibly assert that capital punishment is incompatible with promoting a ‘culture of life’….It is simpleminded sloganeering, not serious thinking.” "With this particular point the authors put their finger on a regrettable tendency that has become a bad habit of hierarchs when defending their opinionated agendas. The pro-life movement — led since its inception by the laity, not the hierarchy — has championed the powerful symbol of “pro-life” as an irrefutable tribute to the reality of the unborn child’s humanity. So it is distressing, but not surprising, that many peddlers of political palaver have tried to hijack the “pro-life” label and apply it to their personal political agenda, on particulars ranging from foreign aid and tax policy to immigration and “global warming.” "That rhetorical dodge  . . . smacks too much of an acquiescence to what Pope Benedict called the “Dictatorship of Relativism.” It serves only to dilute the Church’s adamant defense of life, as well as to delude the public regarding the honest use of words." 

9) Hot Air vs. Capital Punishment: A Reply to Paul Griffiths and David Bentley Hart, Dr.Edward Feser, The Catholic World Report, November 28,2017, 

"Griffiths’ review in First Things . . . is rich in condescension, high in dudgeon, and largely devoid of substantive engagement with the book’s arguments." "Hart’s review in Commonweal is so rhetorically over-the-top and dishonest that the effect is more comical than offensive"

10)   "In Defense of the Death Penalty", Chris Plance and Timothy Gordon, Church Militant, 11/28/17,

" . . . it is here worth simply pointing to a couple more slam-dunk passages on the death penalty in the New Testament underemphasized by Feser and Bessette — assuming that Jesus and St. Paul are sufficiently knowledgeable about moral theology to convince one, that is."

 ". . .  that of the "good thief," comes from the Gospel of Luke:

One of the criminals who was hanged railed at Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!'  But the other rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And Jesus said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.'  (Luke 23 39:43)"

" . . . the very, very basic moral-theological problem with the reconfigured, anti-death penalty position - mischaracterized as the Catholic one - is that its advocates require the moral impossibility and logical antinomy that Jesus sent the "good thief" to Heaven as a reward for articulating and endorsing what (they claim) amounts to grave matter: the objective component of mortal sin." 

"In moral philosophy and moral theology, the concept of dessert — Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas call it corrective justice, reminding us that it must be proportional in order to avoid injustice — stands as the peerless principle of criminal jurisprudence."

"In corrective justice, if we follow the wild-eyed trend away from deserved punishment . . .  one puzzles at the alternative: "I am a magistrate of the state, and I hereby derive your crime's sentence based upon a non-proportionalist view of corrective justice: I promise, you don't and won't deserve your punishment. That model of justice is obsolete."

" . . . Drs. Feser and Bessette do not contradict the Sermon on the Mount when they affirm the death penalty as an article of criminal jurisprudence, because they do not suggest that the death penalty will or should exist in the Kingdom of Heaven! They wrote a very long book about positive law, which is to say, human justice. As Jesus, the Apostles, and 263 out of 266 popes have affirmed or abided, the death penalty is a just, robust aspect of criminal jurisprudence (notwithstanding the inscrutable logic of the eschaton, whatever it may be)."

"Perhaps most starkly of all — scholars on all sides seemed to have missed this — Jesus vindicates the employment by the state of the death penalty at his own trial with Pontius Pilate, in John 19:11. What He says should verily end all debate: "Pilate said: 'Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?' Jesus answered: 'You would have no power over me [to kill me] if it were not given to you from above.' "

"Sounds strangely identical to St. Augustine's definition of the state's prerogative to execute criminals: 'The agent who executes the killing does not commit homicide; he is an instrument as is the sword with which he cuts. Therefore, it is in no way contrary to the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' to wage war at God's bidding, or for the representatives of public authority to put criminals to death, according to the law, that is, the will of the most just reason.' "

"There is another man who famously tried to defend himself from death without denying the moral uprightness of the death penalty: St. Paul. He makes a famous remark in Romans 13 to the effect that the government "does not bear the sword in vain." Drs. Feser and Bessette are quick (and sensible) to receive this as further evidence for capital punishment. It is a rather obvious proposition, they remind us."

"Supporting Dr. Feser's interpretation, on the other hand, is the eminent Dr. Scott Hahn and his commentary on Romans 13: 'The sword represents the authority of civil government to inflict capital punishment on a society's most dangerous criminal delinquents ... secular government's right to administer the death penalty has been generally acknowledged in the Catholic Church's bimillennial tradition.' "

"The Pauline corpus in the Bible admits of this interpretation, up and down the page, especially in the slam dunk passage recording Paul's trial." "St. Paul's words vindicate both himself and the death penalty, at once: 'If I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar' (Acts 25:11).  In other words, St. Paul unequivocally supports the position that there is such a crime for which one might deserve to die, just as Jesus does on the Cross."

11) A Denver Journal Book Review, Ben Crenshaw,  Denver Seminary, 1/2019

"Feser and Bessette should be commended for writing the most exhaustive and convincing defense of the death penalty to date. There is nothing of import that is left out. There is no abolitionist argument that is not addressed and refuted. And there is no flimsy cultural cliché that survives the impeccable logic and weight of evidence that the authors marshal. For those contending for capital punishment as a just and humane aspect of our criminal justice system, Feser and Bessette’s book will be of indispensable aid. "

" . . . if one concedes desert as a necessary aspect of punishment, the principle of proportionality, and the right of public authorities to mete out just punishment, then capital punishment logically follows."

" . . .  Feser and Bessette offer rebuttals to common objections to the death penalty, as well as responses to rival ethical theories. For example, a frequent criticism is that capital punishment violates the right to life. This objection is often summed up in the pithy, but intellectually vacuous, platitude, “Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?” Not only does this conflate killing simpliciter with a specific kind of killing—murder—but it commits a basic error in moral epistemology. We all know that murder is wrong, long before the criminal is confronted, arrested, tried, and sentenced. It’s not as if we must wait for the guilty verdict and execution to show us that murder is wrong before we can know that murder is wrong. While the law does contain a didactic purpose to help instruct citizens on morals, the primary purpose of criminal law is justice. Additionally, the objection equivocates between innocence and guilt, and begs the question of whether one can do something so evil as to forfeit the right to life, making it not only permissible, but just, for society to put that person to death."

" . . . Feser and Bessette spend a considerable amount of time on the locus classicus of biblical texts on capital punishment: Genesis 9:5-6.  . . .  God commands the death penalty on the basis of human dignity, in direct contradiction to abolitionists who claim that human dignity requires opposing capital punishment."

"Some biblical scholars attempt to skirt around this passage by claiming that it is proverbial in that it describes what tends to happen when you live violently (cf. Jesus’ words in Mt. 26:52). But this approach strains hermeneutical plausibility: God himself is speaking, and three times he says, “I will exact punishment.” Neither the context, the genre, nor the Genesis narrative fit a proverbial reading."

"In the NT, Feser and Bessette spend most of their time on Matthew 5 and Romans 13. Jesus’ statements in Matthew 5:38-41 have nothing to do with capital punishment, or any kind of criminal justice. In context, Jesus has just affirmed that he did not come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mt. 5:17-20). Additionally, in Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus implicitly affirms judgment for murder, so his comments in vv. 38-41 should not be read as refuting this. Instead, Jesus is teaching the believing community how to respond to lesser wrongs without retaliation (e.g., insults, conscription, etc.). This is not applicable to the government’s responsibility to enact justice against wrongdoers. As Feser and Bessette point out, if Jesus’ statements here do overturn capital sentences, why would it not also overturn all other criminal punishments (prison, fines, probation, etc.)? The authors also take Romans 13:1-4 to clearly teach that governments have been ordained by God to praise the righteous but punish the guilty, up to and including the death penalty (“bear the sword,” v. 4)—probably a reference to the Roman right of ius gladii by which they put criminal citizens to death."

"This section on Old and New Testament passages was sufficient for the purposes of the book, but at times Feser and Bessette come close to proof-texting, and at other times important considerations are left out. What is needed is a further exposition of the texts they highlight within an overarching narrative frameworkthat employs a coherent cross-testamental hermeneutic (i.e., Jesus’ relationship to the Torah, his views of the state, purpose of his ethical injunctions and exhortations, etc.) that can be applied to a modern context that is quite different from the ancient one."

"Feser and Bessette convincingly show that all of the following church fathers endorsed capital punishment in principle, if not in practice: Athenagoras of Athens, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome (among others). The rest of this chapter focuses on church councils and the teachings of various Popes (e.g., Innocent III, Leo X, Pius XII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis)."

"They address in detail the 43 murderers who were put to death in 2012, showing beyond a reasonable doubt that they were guilty and worthy of death. They cover the issue of repentance and the death penalty, and argue that it is highly unlikely that an innocent person will find themselves facing execution. They delve deeply into the debate over deterrence (spoiler: the death penalty does deter murderers and saves lives), and they show conclusively that, as currently practiced in the United State, the death penalty is not administered in a racist manner, nor does it discriminate against the poor."

(12)  "The Church Cannot Teach That Capital Punishment is Inherently Wrong: A Reply to John Finnis", by Edward Fesser, The Public Discourse, 9/13/19,

"The Catholic Church insists that even popes have no authority to introduce novel doctrines. To teach that capital punishment is inherently immoral would manifestly be a novel doctrine—not simply going beyond but explicitly contradicting what the Church, scripture, and tradition have taught for two millennia."

"So, (CCC) no. 2263 can’t mean what Finnis says it means, because if it did, the authors of the Catechism would not have gone on to say what they do in (CCC) no. 2266."

" . . . the only way to salvage Finnis’s interpretation would, accordingly, be to attribute a contradiction to the 1992 Catechism. It is a general principle of exegesis that, all things being equal, if you can interpret a text either in a way that entails a contradiction or in a way that does not, the latter is to be preferred. The burden of proof is on the reader who insists on attributing a contradiction."

" . . . even if we do attribute a contradiction to the 1992 Catechism, the effect would be precisely to undermine its credibility, which would weaken rather than strengthen Finnis’s case. An authority that is self-contradictory is ipso facto an unreliable one, in which case Finnis’s appeal to (what he says he sees in) the Catechism cuts little ice. If the novel doctrine Finnis attributes to the 1992 Catechism really does introduce a contradiction into it, that is a reason to reject the novelty, not to follow out its consequences further."

with follow up responses by Feser, to Finnis' critique of Feser, here:

(13) "Unnatural Lawyering: John Finnis’s brief against traditional Catholic teaching on capital punishment", Edward Feser, The Catholic World Report, 1/4/19, 

"the basic idea is very simple. The Church holds that scripture cannot teach moral or doctrinal error, and that it must not be reinterpreted in a way that is contrary to how the Fathers of the Church understood it and how the Church herself has traditionally understood it. But scripture teaches that capital punishment can be morally legitimate at least in principle, and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and the popes have always understood scripture as teaching this. I trust the reader can do the math."

"This leaves the Catholic who claims that the death penalty is always and intrinsically evil with two options. He can give up this extreme claim. (He might still hold that capital punishment is a bad idea in practice – I’m not addressing that question here.) Or he can give up the Church’s claims about the authority of scripture and tradition – which is really to give up Catholicism itself, since this would undermine the Church’s foundation in the deposit of faith. There is no third option, and it is sophistry to pretend otherwise."

 "At one place, echoing Grisez, (Finnis) casually asserts that even “God… cannot kill, because killing is destructive while his intention in acting always is loving and creative.


This would come as a great surprise to Onan (Genesis 38:10), the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 12:29), Pharaoh’s army (Exodus 14:28), Aaron’s sons (Leviticus 10:2), Korah (Numbers 16:32), David and Bathsheba’s baby (2 Samuel 12:14-15), Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:16-17), Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:20), Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:14-15), Ezekiel’s wife (Ezekiel 24:16), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10), Herod (Acts 12:23), and the many, many others scripture tells us were killed by God."

"Finnis and other NNLT writers have, to their credit, expressed alarm over the various ways that churchmen are today saying things that seem to undermine traditional Catholic teaching on basic moral theologymarriage and divorcecontraceptionhell, and other matters. What they do not see, or do not want to see, is that their decades-long effort to subvert traditional Catholic teaching on capital punishment has paved the way for these unhappy developments. Farfetched reinterpretations of scripture and of previous magisterial statements, the pitting of a current pope against the tradition, appeal to a purportedly deeper understanding of the Gospel – tactics that were first deployed by Grisez, Finnis, and company against one part of Catholic tradition are now being deployed by others against the rest of it."

Friday, December 01, 2017

Sonny Jacobs & Peter Pringle

The Scam of Sonny Jacobs & Peter Pringle
Dudley Sharp

"(Pringle) , along with two other men, was convicted of the murder of two gardaí in 1980. Detective John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne had five young children between them when they were shot dead during a robbery in Co Roscommon. The killers were acting under a republican flag of convenience.

Two of them, Colm O’Shea and Pat McCann, were captured in the vicinity. The third man managed to flee the scene, but gardaí believed him to be Pringle. He was arrested in Galway 12 days later after a manhunt. He had shaved off his beard and dyed his hair. He denied any involvement and later claimed he had been on a drunken bender since the day before the robbery." (3)

"The evidence against him was largely circumstantial, including sightings of him in the Roscommon area in the immediate aftermath of the robbery and evidence that he’d been in the company of the other men in the days prior to the robbery, despite claiming he hadn’t seen them in months. There was forensic evidence involving hair and paint samples and gun residue. This was in the days before the development of DNA evidence. The clinching aspect to his conviction was a partial admission while in custody." (3)

"In 1995, Pringle succeeded in an appeal against his conviction. He had discovered evidence about a blood sample of his that had not been examined in his trial. The appeal judges decided that a dispute over the sample between two gardaí may have given rise to a credibility issue of Garda evidence. As such, the conviction was deemed unsafe and it was up to the State to try Pringle again.

Pringle attempted to portray this development as a miscarriage of justice. In a memoir entitled Surviving Ireland’s Death Row, he claimed evidence was “concocted” by retired detective superintendent Tom Connolly. In fact, the appeal judges made a point of noting they were not suggesting any officers had acted anyway dishonestly." (3)

"(The book, published three years ago, prompted Connolly to write his own memoir which included a more detailed account of the case, backed up by records.) The retrial never went ahead because the senior officer who had sanctioned an extension to Pringle’s time in custody 15 years earlier had since died. That was a lucky break for the recently-released Pringle.

"A week after his release, his solicitor wrote to the State demanding £50,000 as an interim payment for wrongful imprisonment. The demand was given short shrift. Since then, Pringle has not initiated any action that could result in obtaining a certificate of miscarriage and a huge compensation payout. Over the last 20 years he has frequently stated that he is still “trying” to get his case into the High Court, but it’s unclear who on earth might be stopping him." (3)

below sent   11/19/2017

To: The Cast of The Exonerated & Galway Actors Workshop
cc: Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Galway Town Hall Theatre, Galway Advertiser, An Garda Siochana , The Marshall Project
Re: The play, The Exonerated, at Galway Town Hall Theatre, 11/19/2017
Subject: The Exoneration Frauds
From: Dudley Sharp

Fact checking is a requirement.

As these two, just below, are actors in the production:

Sonny Jacobs was on death row for less than 4 years, not 17.  She has not been exonerated. She pled guilty to second degree murder and those confessions and legal status remain, as they should. Case detailed below, at 1 & 2.

Peter Pringle states: "I came within 11 days of execution. I spent 20 years on death row and saw 53 of the people around me I knew executed. But I was never afraid to die," Pringle smiled. (From:

Such is, complete, utter nonsense.

Pringle was sentenced to death in 1980, spent 6 months on death row and the last execution in Ireland was Michael Manning, in 1954, Pringle was probably laughing at the reporter. See, also 3 Fact checking matters.

Also see the absurd:

Two Wrongful Convictions. One Happy Marriage.“It felt like the universe put us together.”By MAURICE CHAMMAH, The Marshall Project,

1) Detailed Review of Sonny Jacobs Crime and Guilt, at pages 511-516 within: The Myth of Innocence, Josh Marquis, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 95, Issue 2 Winter, Article 4, Winter 2005,

2) Play, The Exonerated: Are Any Actually Innocent?

3) Peter Pringle is no death-row poster boy, Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner, September 03, 2016,

4) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

Pope Francis' Many Problems

Pope Francis' Many Problems
compiled by Dudley Sharp

"Your Holiness (Pope Francis), a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate." "The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching." " . . .  your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous . . . "." " To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth." (1)

"The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it." (1)

" . . .  (Pope Francis) seems to regard every aspect of the Church’s tradition as a plastic instrument to be stiffened here or relaxed there in accord with ever-changing pastoral judgments." (2).

" . . .  it’s reasonable to think the pontificate (of Pope Francis) will seek to muddy the Church’s teaching . . .". (2) "This papacy’s goal of aligning the Catholic Church with the bourgeois consensus has other dimensions that show how unprincipled this process will be." (2)

" . . . Francis also will denounce where denunciations are wanted. Recently, he declared capital punishment always and everywhere forbidden. " While . . . "this pronouncement is inconsistent with the Church’s two-thousand-year tradition of moral teaching on the matter, . . .  that’s beside the point. The notion of Pope Francis defining any act as intrinsically evil is laughable on its face, given how often he attacks the “doctors of the law” who speak about objective moral norms. And didn’t Fr. Antonio Spadaro very clearly tell us that the time has passed when we can speak of “a norm that stands above all”? (2)

"Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.  Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of "Amoris Laetitia" in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism." (1)

" . . . (Pope Francis) has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church." "(Pope Francis) has not declared these heretical positions to be definitive teachings of the Church, or stated that Catholics must believe them with the assent of faith. The Church teaches no pope can claim that God has revealed some new truth to him, which it would be obligatory for Catholics to believe." "The signatories  . . . respectfully insist that he condemn these heresies, which he has directly or indirectly upheld." (3).

"This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.  Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions.  Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by "ad hominem" arguments." (2)

"The details don’t matter. Pope Francis and his closest associates have no interest in the sacramental coherence of their positions on matters such as divorce and remarriage, nor do they care one whit about defending the logic of the arguments they put forward." (2).

" . . . too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.  Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.  Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.  But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel." (1)

"Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth.  What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death." (1)

"Christianity orients us upward and toward the divine. Bourgeois religion is horizontal. It takes its cues from the consensus of the moment, the opinions of the good and responsible people. This reduces Christianity to a political religion organized to buttress the status quo. The Francis papacy largely follows this pattern, making it quite predictable." (2)

" . . . faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your (Pope Francis') choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.  What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.  This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.  As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the "sensus fidelium," are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd." (1)

" . . . you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen (Church) unity.  . .  . your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite" .  Encouraging a form of "synodality" that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion.  Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops." (1)

" . . . many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.  Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises.  Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse." (1)

" . . . your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness.  In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness." (1)

"May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church." (1)

More here:

The Pope’s Pedophile?, Andrew Sullivan,  New York Magazine,  June 30, 2017,


1) Letter found here:

A Theologian Writes To the Pope: There Is Chaos in the Church, and You Are a Cause, L'Espresso, 01 nov, 2017

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap. July 31, 2017, Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Weinandy is among the most eminent theologians, lives in Washington at the College of the Capuchins, the Franciscan order to which he belongs, is a member of the international theological commission, the commission that Paul VI set up alongside the congregation for the doctrine of the faith so that it could avail itself of the cream of the crop among the world’s theologians. He has been a member of this commission since 2014, having been appointed to it by Pope Francis.

(2)  LIBERAL TRADITION, YES; LIBERAL IDEOLOGY, NO, by R. R. Reno, Editor, First Things, December 2017

(3)  Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis (‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’), July 16th, 2017, Feast of our Lady of Mt Carmel

full summary, here:

Full correction, here: