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In June 17th, Cardinal Dolan posted the following on Twitter:
Tweet - Accurate - Discussion - Media - Catholics
This tweet (as accurate as it is) prompted a wild discussion in social media, since there are many Catholics who are unwilling to assent to the recent Catechetical revision on the Death Penalty, from which this tweet flows.
In this context, Dr. Edward Peters has chimed in with this article, where he claims the Cardinal’s tweet to be ill-advised, because it might contradict perennial Church teaching on the death penalty.
First - Dr - Peters - Interpretation - Cardinal
First of all, I submit that Dr. Peters’ interpretation of the good Cardinal’s tweet misses the mark. At first, Dr. Peters correctly asserts that Pope Francis used the term “inadmissible” to sidestep the “intrinsically evil” terminology that could be problematic on account of previous magisterial formulations.
Also, Dr. Peters assumes that Cardinal Dolan is tweeting with the intent of discussing tradition. By doing so, he ignores the wider context of the discussion, in which Dolan’s tweet rests. On one hand, as Dr. Peters notes, this tweet comes in the wake of a Catechetical revision from the Pope, where the Holy Father has clarified that the death penalty was not immoral at the time the Church advocated for its liceity (see the CDF’s clarification and this video). So, if Dolan is referring to this revision, he could not be propose something that is clearly not what the revision intended.
Hand - Cardinal - Dolan - Problem - Catechetical
On the other hand, Cardinal Dolan is clearly referring to the problem of “loopholes.” In the previous Catechetical formulation, Pope St. John Paul II (who was a champion of death penalty abolition) wrote — in order to avoid the magisterial firestorm Dr. Peters so fears — that the situations where death penalty was licit were “rare, practically non-existent.” But many Catholics of a certain ideological bent, primarily in the United States, kept fighting for the death...
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