Paradigm Shift – Death Penalty – Brief History

August 22, 2018: Pope Francis declares death penalty “inadmissible.” The deep reason behind this emerging state of mind in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, throughout the Church and the world is the paradigm shift I posted a few days ago concerning the experience and consciousness of the meaning of the human person. The word consciousness has been progressively developing from object to subject, from “thing” to “I.” It certainly began with the Revelation of the name of God as Yahweh “I AM,” to Jesus Christ – “Before Abraham came  to be “I Am,” to the early Fathers of the Church (Augustine’s “Confessions”) to the confused enlightenment of Descartes’ “I think, therefore, I am,” to what we call “German Idealism” of the 19th c., to the existentialist subjectivism of the 20th, and finally, to the Second Vatican Council which applies the identity of Jesus Christ as “I Am” to Christian anthropology: “Man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself”[1] – i.e. of his “I.” Vatican II has has given epistemological legitimacy to the “I” as “self-gift” – and this as ontological and objective (not conscious subjectivism). The transition keeps advancing in ecclesial and secular consciousness not without its struggles. We shout equality to the roofs, and we know that we don’t mean that we are “the same” (although the gender chaos is in its troughs of confusion), but the Spirit of the Lord keeps moving us through experiences and consciousness raisings to the omega point of an identity with Christ. Is this not where Teilhard de Chardin was pointing, before, during and after the Council? And wasn’t de Lubac (principal figure in the Council) firmly in his corner. And hasn’t this reach for “I” – the subject/object –permitted us to enter as just mentioned in Gaudium et Spes #24 into the Christological anthropology that guides us to a lived identification with Christ and proposed so vigorously and orthoxically by Opus Dei? The “inadmissibility” of the death penalty is all part of this. As Francis wrote in “Amoris Laetitia:” The goal of the Church (read Christ) is to salvage, not throw away [not “casting off” but “reinstating” #296]. Bless Francis!

[1] Vatican II, Gaudium et spes #24.

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