A Reader Writes On Bishops, Immigration, And Capital Punishment

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Re: A. W. Morgan’s article Catholic Layman Says: Despite The U.S. Bishops, Church Doctrine Is Not Pro-Immigration! 

From: An Anonymous Reader: [Email him]

A. W. Morgan is absolutely right about church teaching on immigration. The same can be said about capital punishment. There is no church prohibition against capital punishment contrary to what left wing Catholics think.

James Fulford writes: I discussed the equivalency of the two questions in Catholic Bishops And Immigration in 2001. I quoted C. S. Lewis, who said that  if you want Christian public policy, you shouldn’t expect to come from Bishops but from Christian politicians, “just as Christian literature comes from Christian novelists and dramatists–not from the bench of bishops getting together and trying to write plays and novels in their spare time.”

My conclusion was that

“Bishops are supposed to tell us that murder is wrong, and justifiable homicide is right, but not to fiddle with gun control, because they don`t know good policy from bad policy, the way they know right from wrong.

The same applies to capital punishment. Bishops are supposed to be in favor of mercy and prudence; the official doctrine of the church is one of “Capital punishment if necessary, but not necessarily capital punishment.” But bishops should not be saying that “advances in modern penal systems enable us to protect society from violent offenders without the need to resort to capital punishment”, because “advances in modern penal systems” are not Catholic doctrine, they`re a figment some idiot criminologist`s imagination.

So by C. S. Lewis` rule, a good, specifically Catholic immigration policy would come from good Catholics like Pat Buchanan who have actually given it some study.”

The point is that the Bishops don`t know any more about public policy issues than laymen, and frequently they know less.