Closet Catholic wrote:
The passage uses the word 'execute' not as in 'kill' the wrongdoer, but to 'carry out' the God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
Yes, I know. And that can include capital punishment. I’m not saying that I’m for it, I’m saying that it isn’t intrinsically evil, and can sometimes be necessary.
I’m saying that too, not least because that is the position of the Church, but it makes a lot of sense as well. There have been and will again be no doubt, periods in world history where a very severe discipline is necessary to wrest humanity away from evil forces.
In Norway, where I live, we do not have the death penalty. But if we did, it is my opinion that people like Anders Behring Breivik (who killed 69 people, mainly young teenagers on July 22, 2011) should get the death penalty. In fact, I’m embarresed at how lax some of the punishments in Norway are. In Norway you can get 21 years of prison (where a prison year is 9 months!), and you do not get judged individually for every wrongdoing. So a person who kills 10 people only get 21 years of prison, not 210.
In Australia where I live we don’t have a death penalty either. It was done away with before my time as something that wasn’t in keeping with a person’s dignity. It was never about whether individual cases deserved it or whether an innocent person could be killed… it’s always been about the bigger meaning and how the mentality of sanctioned killing promotes and nurtures a culture of death in the dark shadows of “It’s my God given right!!”
You'd have to make a huge leap to use this passage beyond the command to obey authority under pain of disciplinary force.
Why? The text is quite clear: “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” In fact, the literal meaning is quite clear.
The hand that wields the sword is not automatically given the mandate to use it for deadly ends. It can stay sheathed and be a sign of authority and its potential to enforce order, but Jesus also gave a reprimand to an Apostle for using his sword in a way not in keeping with the dignity of a person and there’s nothing to say that God doesn’t feel the same way about others who hold the sword He put in their hands.
And why would the Church deem CP 'cruel and unnecessary' at this time unless it was beholden to public health rather than to the civil authorities appeal to a divine right?
I’m not sure what you mean here.
The Church says it’s ‘cruel and unnecessary’ to use Capital Punishment in this day and age. That clearly indicates that the Church treats Capital punishment as a dispensation to be used sparingly and in relation to the conditions of the time we live in but most importantly, always with utmost sensitivity to Gods will. Not as a super toy that’s subject to the whim of the ‘sword bearer’.