Bishops to pressure Catholic politicians
...America's 275 active bishops are gearing up a new task force that could bring Catholic politicians in line in a way not seen before in American politics.
Announced at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting last month, it is headed by Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. The task force will produce guidelines on how to deal with recalcitrant politicians....
...the bishops have felt pressured to come up with sanctions with a bite to them ever since January, when the Vatican came out with a 17-page "doctrinal note," a document on how Catholics in politics should behave.
"Those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life," it said. "For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them."
Besides abortion, the document listed euthanasia, slavery, religious freedom and the sanctity of marriage as black-and-white issues for Catholic politicians....
Abortion, euthanasia, slavery, religious freedom and "the sanctity of marriage" -- gee, isn't there something missing on that list?
Y'know, capital punishment?
OK, I've checked -- Catholic doctrine isn't 100% in opposition to the death penalty. But note what was said in modifications to the catechism that were issued by the Vatican in 1997:
Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm--without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself--the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are rare, if not practically non-existent." (NT: John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56)
In a homily at a Jan. 27, 1999 Papal Mass in St. Louis, Mo., [the pope] termed the death penalty "both cruel and unnecessary," and went on to say:
"The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will acclaim, 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 a declaration to the first World Congress on the Death Penalty held June 21-23, 2001 in Strasbourg, France, the Vatican termed the death penalty "a sign of desperation," and said it pursued the abolition of capital punishment as "an integral part of the defense of human life at every stage of its development.... The universal abolition of the death penalty would be a courageous reaffirmation of the belief that humankind can be successful in dealing with criminality and of our refusal to succumb to despair before such forces, and as such it would regenerate new hope in our very humanity."
But opposition to the death penalty just doesn't jibe with American political realities, so it's expendable.