I prefer telling people I support the abolition of abortion than that I’m “pro-life”, given that there’s plenty of people who support abolition but aren’t remotely “pro-life” when it comes to the death penalty, drone attacks or unjust warNow, my problem is this: what does Marc, and others, mean by the the death penalty negates a pro-life Catholic? When? How? Has the Church officially said the Death Penalty is an evil? Is it now banned? For most of its history, the Church allowed for the use of Capital punishment. Only in recent decades has that turned around. Perhaps its inevitable that it will eventually reject such practices. Many Orthodox Churches have already come out and all but officially banished the use of executions for any reason. Certainly modern liberalism rejects capital punishment of any sort, but that's for different reasons.
Still, no matter what, I'm a little itchy about saying that anyone regarding the death penalty may not be sincerely pro-life. Same with war actually, but that's for another post. Right now, I'm curious. What does it mean to say they aren't? Does he mean those who love the smell of napalm in the morning? That group of people who apparently have fantasies about torturing innocent babies? Who?
There's something strange in the Catholic blogosphere that I've not noticed in Protestant counterparts, and I'm having a hard time getting my head around it. There's a sort of vague judgmentalism that you can't pin down. A 'they be the villains' without the need to define just who the 'they' is. In fact, when I've seen people protest such swipes, those who have made such statements will back off and say 'I'm not saying anyone who supports the death penalty' yadda, yadda, yadda. And yet, it's said. Even when the Church has not, as far as I know, changed its 2000 year long approach to the subject. Will it? Probably. Based on the trends I'm noticing. But even if it does, is there really something wrong with people who believe what the Church always taught until a couple years ago? And if not, shouldn't we define our statements a little better, rather than throw them out there without any qualifiers? And if so, what's it say about the Church itself?
Not that Mr. Barnes is the only one who does it. It simply caught my eye as I read over his piece today.