Catechism and the Pope


I am neither theologian nor bible scholar. But just a Catholic layperson and would like to share my opinions.

The most recent hot issue is the changing of the Catechism about death penalty by Pope Francis. Then throughout the Twitter, I can see there are a lot of debates on this issue, including some people criticising the Pope.

Therefore, in this post, I will share some of my understandings.

Regarding the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), according to USCCB Question 17,

Because the Catechism presents Catholic doctrine in a complete yet summary way, it naturally contains the infallible doctrinal definitions of the popes and ecumenical councils in the history of the Church.

However, there were interesting articles about authority of the CCC and non-infallible teachings, which should be read as well.

Next, Pope is not a saint. Throughout the Church history, there were some bad popes.

There are some Twitter users share about Summa Theologiae article whether it is lawful to kill sinners. However, we must bear in mind that Summa Theologiae is a great theological work, but it is not infallible.

Since I am not an expert, I cannot discuss more about the death penalty.

However, I would like to share some of the related chapters and verses from the Bible.

St John Gospel chapter 8 mentioned about an adulterous woman, which according to the Law of Moses, she should be stoned to death. However, Jesus responded to the crowd, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”.

Therefore, I am asking myself, if I support death penalty, what is my actual intention? Because of my hatred and my anger towards someone? Or is it because, if my beloved is murdered, I can revenge in the name of justice? And also, if I oppose death penalty, what is my actual intention? Do I just simply follow whatever Pope says?

In Gal 2:11, it mentions that Apostle Paul “opposed [Peter] to his face because he clearly was wrong”. Therefore, I don’t think it is wrong to oppose the Pope, if the Pope is wrong. However, we must be careful to ourselves, because the way we oppose may lead to more confusion, especially when we are using social network and we have some followers. And one should pray that he or she is not opposing the Pope because of pride.

In 1 Cor 1:12-13, it says that Corinthians were dividing themselves, some say they belong to Paul, some belong to Apollos, some belong to Cephas, and some belong to Christ. Similarly, this kind of behaviour continues until today. Therefore, as Catholics, we should continually pray for the Pope and the unity of the Church.

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