Somebody has to say it, even though it’s highly controversial; somebody has to go there, because justice is at stake.
The Pope is walking in error and has violated Micah 6:8.
‘He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?’ (NASB)
In full disclosure, I am not a Catholic. I am a Reformed Protestant Christian. I have a deep respect for the Catholic Church and have many Catholic friends that take their faith seriously.
So please believe me when I say that I take no pleasure in my statement and indeed am saddened and frustrated on behalf of Catholics and the Christian faith.
Many (if not most) in the Church today, focus on the part of Micah 6:8 that commands us to love kindness (some translations say mercy). While loving kindness is certainly critical to walking in obedience to God, it must be kept in context of the rest of the verse.
Justice is central to the character of God.
Yes, mercy (not getting what we do deserve) and grace (getting what we don’t deserve) are also central to His character, but there would be no need for mercy and grace if it were not for a God of judgment and wrath.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to continuously sacrifice animals on the alter to atone for their sins; these sacrifices staved off the judgement they (and all of us) so richly deserved. And indeed, it was God’s demand for justice that caused Him to have His Son crucified on a tree as the ultimate atonement for our sins so we might have a chance of not being condemned for eternity.
God’s justice is righteous and absolute; His demand for atonement must be met. It is only in this context can His command for us to love kindness (or mercy) be understood as addition to justice, not instead of justice.
The Pope’s edict that the death penalty inadmissible under all circumstances and that the Catholic Church should campaign to abolish it stands in direct contradiction with the Bible itself. And he did not just express this as an opinion, no he put this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making it the official Church doctrine going forward.
He did this in the name of God (as an official act of his office and considered infallible when he said it), which means he has used God’s name in vain. Again, I take no pleasure, and indeed am deeply saddened by what I’m saying here.
Consider that the death penalty is the first moral commandment given in the Bible and the ONLY commandment repeated in ALL of the first five books of the Bible! And in some cases it wasn’t even for murder. Let that sink in a moment while you look at the scriptures below, and keep in mind this is just one sample from each book; some of these books have more than one passage demanding the death penalty:
“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.”
“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.”
Multiple times for various acts of immorality other than murder.
Numbers 35:30 – 33
‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.
Deuteronomy 19:11 – 13
“But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.
At this point, some of you may be saying that there are stipulations I didn’t cite, or immoralities it no longer applies to, but you’re missing my point. The Pope said the death penalty was NEVER admissible under ANY circumstances.
And before you try to dismiss these passages as only applying to Israel, go back to the very first moral commandment in Genesis 9:6. This commandment was given to Noah, not Moses; the Jews didn’t even exist yet (see Genesis chapters 11 and 12). Therefore this commandment was give to ALL of mankind.
Do you know the difference between vengeance and justice? Vengeance is what we take for ourselves when wronged, justice is what we take for another. The Pope is robbing man and God of justice when murder is committed. And in doing so he is also not showing kindness towards those who deserve justice. And in saying that he knows better than God, he is not walking humbly with God. He is in direct violation of Micah 6:8.
Folks, the Pope IS fallible, the Pope IS WRONG on this one. I do not say this as a Reformed Protestant Christian, I say this as a God fearing man who places God’s word above man’s. Any man. Every man.
We should set the bar high for the death penalty and we should have mercy in our justice system, but to say we are against the death penalty in all circumstances because we are pro-life is to place ourselves above God.
Rick Crump is CEO of KineticXperience, a management consulting firm near Philadelphia Pennsylvania, a proud Whiskey Patriot, and founding task force member of Operation Innocence.
He served in the United States Air Force during the first Gulf War, and together with his wife Tammie, of 28 years, have 4 sons who are unapologetically masculine men. One’s a Marine and another trains K-9s; his family lives to uphold American values and keep our country safe.
Rick strives and advocates others to live by the Edmund Burke quote: “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”