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Christianity Kept Simple http://christianitykeptsimple.com Posting Since March 2014 Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:18:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Bible Scholars http://christianitykeptsimple.com/bible-scholars/ Wed, 12 Sep 2018 21:03:18 +0000 http://christianitykeptsimple.com/?p=1108 The idea of a “Bible scholar”,…

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The idea of a “Bible scholar”, I find quite ambiguous. I know personally, people who have gone to school to be taught about the Bible. I have heard so called “Bible Scholars” speak on the radio and television. Many can quote chapter and verse verbatim. When it comes to discussion about right and wrong, by way of the Bible, they can interpret and give advice on any question they are asked. This is for the most part, good.

On the other side of the coin, I know others who have been taught extensively, Christianity with the Bible. Many of these people have gone to Christian Schools have studied the Bible extensively but are not degreed in the subject. I am one of those. Until recently I believed that all Catholic priests were Bible Scholars, including the Pope, who by the way, is also a priest. Someone informed me that Pope Francis does not have a PHD in theology. He does have a master’s Degree in Catholic theology as do all priests. What the Pope does have that almost all degreed Bible scholars do not have, is advanced study and knowledge in Catholic Tradition. Catholic tradition is knowledge handed down from Jesus Christ himself to the apostles, who then passed this knowledge, in apostolic succession, from one to another all the way to the present day. To say that Pope Francis is not a Bible scholar, is like accusing Apple of knowing nothing about mobile phones. Consider that Apple, regardless of all the competition and copy cats, is still the untouchable in cell phone technology. The Catholic Church and its members still have the traditional knowledge that many Theologians do not have. And, by the way, Catholic church is responsible for the existence of the Bible.

An example of the difference between a Catholic Theologian and a non-Catholic Bible Scholar was clarified to me September 3 of this year. On a non-Catholic talk show, a caller asked if there was any truth to the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima. The show host, a Bible scholar, said that he did not believe that it had anything to do with the Blessed Mother. His comment followed with, “She’s dead. Dead people do not come back to earth.” He went on to say that something unusual did happen in Fatima, but it could have been the work of the devil. His religious knowledge comes from the Bible. He believes the devil has the power because he has learned about the evils of the devil in the Bible. He does not believe in the blessed mother because he has missed it in the Bible. Other Catholic Bible Scholars do believe in the Blessed Mother and call out her immaculate conception in the Bible. A recent book, “Behold Your Mother” by Tim Staples, clearly describes the passages in the Bible about the Mary, the Mother of God and her role today.

Pope Francis is a Bible Scholar through education, many years of practice as well as his knowledge of Catholic tradition. His many years of profession and practice of the priesthood exceeds that of a degreed “Bible Scholar”. That knowledge and many years of teaching the Catholic faith, is the principle reason why he is the chosen Vicar of Christ.

To see some of the noteworthy quotes attributed to Pope Francis go to the Franciscan Media website: https://blog.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit/holy-quotes-from-pope-francis

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The Dignity of a Person and the Death Penalty http://christianitykeptsimple.com/the-dignity-of-a-person-and-the-death-penalty/ Mon, 06 Aug 2018 20:24:13 +0000 http://christianitykeptsimple.com/?p=1089 In the Cambridge dictionary, dignity is…

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In the Cambridge dictionary, dignity is described as “the quality of a person that makes him or her deserving of respect, sometimes shown in behavior or appearance.” Interesting to note, dignity refers to human quality. Plants and animals are not included in the definition of dignity. Plants are referred to as beautiful and animals are considered to have good behavior due to their instincts and in some cases conditioning.

Human behavior is unique to all live creatures because only human beings have free will. Free will necessitates the need for laws and regulations to be enacted to control human actions when interacting with one another. Thus, there are laws in government and commandments in religion to promote dignity in the societies of humans,

Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty is one of the most serious laws enacted by governments. It is a legal penalty in the United States, it is currently used by 32 states, the federal government, and the military. There are two crimes that the courts allow to be tried for the death penalty. One is Aggravated First Degree Murder. The other is Treason.In Christian religion, there is a commandment that states, killing of humans is a grave sin. Until now the Catholic Catechism only inferred the correctness of Capital Punishment in the Catechism of the Catholic church. It states that the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty.

Recently, this position has been under scrutiny by the Catholic Church. There has been much discussion opposing any need for the death penalty by Theologians and Clergy. There are mixed philosophies about the correctness of the Catechism’s position. Most lay people have opinions that vary. Some have said, biblical writings support it. Other opinions hold that the Bible portends mercy as the unmitigated solution. Beliefs cover the full spectrum. The debate is continuous about whether to allow Capital Punishment or to completely abolish it from our laws. No argument, up to now, has been made, one way or the other, to resolve the issue.

But now, Pope Francis is in the process to revise the Catechism of the church regarding the death penalty. This will decisively make the official position of the church about the death penalty inadmissible. The Pope’s announcement settles, once and for all, it’s teaching in this regard. Prior Popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI had expressed the belief that the death penalty should be abolished. They both professed this belief but did not act to change the official position of the Catechism. Similarly, it has been the belief of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that there are no acceptable reasons to impose the death penalty. They write, “For the Church, there is no distinction between defending human life and promoting the dignity of the human person.”

Pope Francis is putting to rest, the difference between the long-standing rule of the Catechism (paragraph 2267) and the popular belief of the Church and numerous Catholics. He is not alone on this decision as you read here. He is not making a change to Catholic dogma. He has employed a full commission to bring about the details of the change. It will hopefully have a positive impact on his congregation and the world. Most importantly, it will bring together opposing positions about the death penalty into one reasoning.

There are reasons that help to resolve the pro’s and con’s when looking at the death penalty:
Some have postulated that it is a deterrent to a potential perpetrator of murder. However, statistics do not support this argument. Data provided by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) supports this conclusion.Another assertion is that if a convicted criminal is imprisoned for life, it will cost the taxpayers more money than if the criminal were executed. This appears to be a false belief. There is the long legal process of conviction for a heinous murder trial. Then comes the sentencing followed by years of appeals and stays of execution. It has been shown that the cost to the taxpayers is far greater than life in prison without parole. For example, the entire process from conviction to execution in California, takes about 25 years and costs over $300 million.

The decision by Pope France and Catholic Church to revise the Catechism to declare Capital Punishment (The Death Penalty) as inadmissible has created a lot of attention. The Church believes the death penalty is wrong because it violates the dignity of the human person. It affirms that it is the will of God that all humans, regardless of the crimes they commit, are afforded the human dignity of life.

Life can only be terminated by the will of God. This leaves the Catholic Church in opposition to the death penalty laws within 32 U.S. States. Indications are that even though state lawmakers favor the death penalty, the people who voted for them do not favor it. The bottom line is that there is a lot of evidence that the death penalty is morally wrong, Ineffective as a deterrent, a large cost burden to taxpayers and a violation of a human’s dignity regardless of how they are perceived.

Finally, it is the belief of this writer that life imprisonment, without parole, in solitary confinement would be the worst possible punishment in one’s life. But that’s a subject for another discussion.

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