Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Pope St. Pius V On the Death Penalty

February 2, 2016 | 15 Comments

It’s with great sadness that I have read that a seminary student from Ohio has been arrested and charged with attempting to arrange for sex with infants.

This is an utmost travesty and is completely gut-wrenching. Honestly, this man should be given the death penalty if he indeed committed these crimes.

Yes, the death penalty is a Catholic doctrine, as given to us by Pope St. Pius V:

“That horrible crime, on account of which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.

Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: “Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature, given that the wrath of God falls over the sons of perfidy, be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery” (chap. 4, X, V, 31).

So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.

Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss.”
(Constitution Horrendum illud scelus, August 30, 1568, in Bullarium Romanum, Rome: Typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae, Mainardi, 1738, chap. 3, p. 33)

“Oh, but that’s just one of those old Popes from the 1500’s. We don’t have to listen to him!”

Well, Jesus talked about the death penalty, not once, not twice, but thrice in the Gospels:

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

“It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:2

Acceptance of the death penalty is 100% valid within the Catholic faith. And child molesters deserve it. Perhaps many men would stop this heinous act if the death penalty was enforced and they feared of their life being taken away.

15 people are talking about “Pope St. Pius V On the Death Penalty

  1. Wow; so Pope St. Pius V thought all sodomitical priests should be put to death. We’d lose half of our already paltry number of clerics (according to some accounts), and for the most part, good riddance.

    Hadn’t heard this story; what a scumbag. Death penalty, indeed.

    • Except he actually applied to adopt a child so he could have sex with her. There is quite the difference between evil thoughts and actively trying to engage in those thoughts.

    • Agree, Jeff. There would maybe be a case if he actually went through with it, but right now his only crime was intent.

      • Pablo:

        That is not, at all, how the law works.

        All states and the feds have laws against attempted crimes, thank goodness.

        A very high percentage of these pedophiles are imprisoned after being caught within government stings, with government agents pretending to be undergae chldren.

        All, fully vetted by constitutional challenges, which these laws and practices have all withstood.

  2. If only those statements had been followed up on in the 1960s and 70s, we’d probably have more priests now.

  3. Before attempting to interpret the bible yourself (common Protestant practice by the way) you should check with what the fathers of the church have said. It’s a big statement to say that the death penalty is 100% valid within the catholic faith. I would urge you to consider and reflect on what it truly means to be pro-life. God doesn’t mention in the Ten Commandments “thou shall not kill.. Unless that person did something really awful then he totally deserves it”. However grave a persons sin is- when you decide to end their life based on that sin -you’re taking away their chance of repentance.

    • Nic, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote greatly about the need for the death penalty, even going as far as to say that manifest heretics who refused to repent of their heresies should be put unto death, as the poison they spew kills the souls of many. And please don’t go throwing the Protestant word around when you hear somebody interpreting the Bible within the proper context of Catholicism, not that most Catholics have been doing that since before and after the Second Vatican Council.

      I wrote about the 5th Commandment already here. The word used by God translates not to “kill” as we are far too familiar with in the English-speaking world, but “murder”. The death penalty is used not as “murder” but as “self-defense”.

      You have not taken away their chance of repentance. You have given them an opportunity for it. You have told them that their life will end at a particular time in the future. If the individual will not repent when they are on death row, then they likely will not repent when they are given a life sentence.

    • Nic:

      Yours is a common error, primarily based upon the clear errors taught by priests and Bishops, throughout the US.

      For example:

      Bishops, finally, tell truth, then retract it: Death Penalty

      sent 11/5

      To: Governor Pete Ricketts, his cabinet & staff
      Nebraska Catholic Bishops, staff and parishes

      Nebraska Legislators & staff
      Nebraska Supreme Court
      Nebraska County Sheriffs
      The Police Officers’ Association of Nebraska
      Attorney General Doug Peterson & staff
      Nebraska County Attorneys Association
      Nebraska Crime Commission
      U of Nebraska Law School
      Colleges & Universities Throughout Nebraska

      Media throughout Nebraska

      Re: Lincoln Bishop James Conley asks for his comments on death penalty to be removed from post (1)

      From: Dudley Sharp

      It took years for the Nebraska Catholic Bishops to tell the truth on the death penalty:

      Bishop Conley, finally, stated:

      “(Death penalty opposition) is not one of those teachings a Catholic has to accept, like, for example, abortion. Abortion has clearly been defined by the church as a moral evil, which is never accepted under any circumstances or any justification.” (1).

      “If (the Catholic faithful) have thought it through and prayed about it, they can still be a Catholic in good standing and not go along with the bishops on this (death penalty) issue.” (1).

      That is the “other half” of the full and true teaching of the Church (2), that the Bishops have been avoiding, telling only half truths to their flock. previously (2).

      Teaching half truths is not an honorable position.

      Then . . . the deceptions, quickly, came back:

      “The Lincoln Diocese on Thursday (11/3) called on Nebraskans for the Death Penalty to remove “social media advertisements” drawn from the interview.”

      The Catholic Bishop’s position is “Woops, we let the whole truth out!”.

      “Conley emphasized the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty and the reasons why, and said “through our penal system and through our prisons we can protect the common good, protect people, without resorting to the death penalty.”

      What Bishop Conley left out, with his half truth follow up:

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2265: “the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.”

      Only execution can do that, as the Bishops well know.

      Now, within the amended CCC 2267, the Bishops and the CCC redefine “common good” requiring us to do everything we can “not to render the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.”, or, to put it another way “the unjust aggressor must always be able to harm, again” – the opposite of 2258-2266.

      Any good Catholic may support the death penalty, finding that:

      The death penalty protects innocent lives, in three ways better than does a life sentence (2,3), understanding that protecting more innocent lives is preferable over the Bishops position, which sacrifices more innocent lives (2,3).

      Sadly, in the end, the diocese , attempts to mask the truth, again, by stating:

      “(Catholics) also have to form our consciences according to the Church’s teaching. Nebraska’s bishops, Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis all conclude that we don’t need to execute people in order to be safe. Catholics who disagree with those judgments need to make sure they have a very strong reason to do so.”

      The truth is the opposite.

      No Catholic “(has) to form their conscience according to the Church’s teaching.”, in the specific case of the prudential judgement of the recent Church teachings on the death penalty, as detailed (2) and as Bishop Conley, finally, admitted (1).

      All good Catholics may support the death penalty, support more executions, based within:

      1) 2000 years of very well known pro death penalty Church teachings, most often not disclosed by the Bishops (2), and

      2) justice and the death penalty sparing more innocent lives, in three ways, than with a life sentence (2.3).

      Yes, Catholics, as many others, have very strong and supportable reasons, based within conscience and study, to disagree with the Bishops on the death penalty, with the Bishops having no credible rebuttal, as they have demonstrated, here and (2,3).

      Has anyone in Nebraska ever seen the Bishops put up this strong and sustained effort against abortion?

      The Bishops effort looks a lot more political than faithful.

      1) Lincoln Bishop James Conley asks for his comments on death penalty to be removed from post
      By Michael O’Connor / World-Herald staff writer Nov 4, 2016,


      Catholic Bishops So Wrong on the Death Penalty

      3) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

  4. Let’s examine the case of Cameron Todd Willingham (, who was wrongfully convicted and executed for murder by arson. He’s far from the only case, and even if his was the only to ever have occurred, one person wrongfully executed is one person too many.

    If there is any possibility whatsoever where an innocent person can be wrongfully executed, that process should be abolished. It’s morally reprehensible. You need to recant this, because to act otherwise is to advocate a process that’s been known to be flawed.

    • I don’t have to recant anything. This is my blog and my space, not yours. If we are going to start throwing around arguments around an activity needing to be 100% accurate before we can endorse it, then we might as well stop living as no activity can be 100% fool-proof. So, no, the death penalty should not be abolished because mistakes happen. If anything should be abolished because an innocent person is wrongfully executed, it should be abortion.

      • That there are risks to living is not a satisfactory rebuttal. That goes without saying. What you’re saying is that you’re unwilling to abolish a system that’s been known to kill innocent people. Considering your support for pro-life policies, it seems like a lack of follow-through on your part to save the life of the unborn, only to say later on “Eh, mistakes happen” if they should be executed wrongfully by the state.

        • There are risks to the living for everything. Should we abolish cars? Planes? Medicine? Where should the line be drawn?

          And I’m not pro-life, I’m anti-abortion because the taking of a life is justifiable.

          What is your alternative to the death penalty for those who have been rightly judged and have indeed been caught murdering others?

    • No surprise, Wikipedia left a lot out.

      There is now more evidence for Willinham’s guilt, not less.

      See 11) Willingham within

      The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

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