More Pious Lies from Pope Francis
Pope Francis declared that the death penalty is “contrary to the gospel” (here). He was sufficiently honest to admit that the Church had indeed used and supported the death penalty:
In his speech, Francis said that in past centuries, where defense measures were poor and the maturity of society “still had not met a positive development,” the death penalty seemed like a “logical consequence of the application of justice they had to follow.”
He noted that “unfortunately” even the papal state at times adopted this “extreme and inhumane means” of punishment, “neglecting the primacy of mercy and justice.”
He packed a lot of lies and deception in a short space. While he admits that before society reached “maturity,” the Church supported the death penalty, he failed to mention that this covers almost the entire history of the Church.
While Pope Francis also admits that the “papal state” used capital punishment, this too is gross deception. First, it is false to present it as “the papal state.” The pope, as head of the Catholic Church, repeatedly and almost continually ordered its use. For centuries, burning people alive, perhaps the most heinous form of capital punishment, was a cornerstone of Church policy. Indeed, this punishment, the auto de fé, literally means “act of faith.” The Church loved such demonstrations of faith.
Much as the Romans held lethal gladiatorial contests and threw Christians to the lions to entertain the masses, the Church routinely used the auto de fé as a form of entertainment. People flocked from miles around to watch them. They were spectacles, accompanied by pomp and splendor, with Church representatives prominently in charge. The Church made sure to entertain its flock regularly. It was cheap compensation for continually fleecing them.
Pope Francis’ claim that such punishment was due to “defensive measures” is a brazen lie. For centuries, the Church conducted a reign of terror with its series of Inquisitions. Not only were people killed for the flimsiest of charges, but they were forced to inform on each other. Not only were neighbors forced to inform on each other, but couples were forced to inform on their spouses, children to inform on their parents, and parents to inform on their children. Stalin’s gulags were far more “defensive” than the Church’s Inquisitions.
Similarly, the Church burnt tens of thousands of innocent women at the stake as witches. There was nothing “defensive” about these executions. These women were not a serious threat to anyone.
Pope Francis, like many of his predecessors, feels free to rewrite history. The media once again gives him a free pass.