Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Maguindanao Massacre

Maguindanao massacre

Maguindanao massacre death toll rises to 46—police

Arroyo dared to act vs political allies in Maguindanao

Putting Maguindanao in Context


Incredibly gruesome.

If the government will not act decisively on this one, it will be denying justice to the entire Filipino people, to humanity.

May consciences prevail.

God help us.


bilbannon said...

Very awful and heartbreaking for those left without spouse or without father or mother.
We as a Church refuse to cross examine Popes when they come up with a new idea like the last two Popes on the death penalty. Popes from Augustine's time til Pius XII would have thought these last two Popes were "imaging peacefulness" to the media....and not thinking at all nor checking the Bible very closely (see Romans 13:3-4) as to what God thinks about the death penalty (spare me the woman in adultery and Christ...He was voiding the death penalty for personal sins like adultery in the Jewish law not crimes like murder).

Check wiki's top murder rate list...Catholic countries are among the worst and most have not had the death penalty for some time...the Phillipines has only recently done away with it but this list might indicate where they will one day be in ranking:

WillyJ said...


Very awful and heartbreaking indeed.

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude the death penalty, "when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor" (CCC 2267), although the cases in which it is absolutely necessary to execute the offender "are very rare, if not practically non-existent" (Pope JP2-Evangelium Vitae) in these modern times.

The top murder rate list are dominated by countries where feudalism and weak democracies are very notable, and I guess that would be the common denominators, rather than religion or the aversion to capital punishment.

sunnyday said...

There must be so much hate in the people who did the killing -- severed heads? Hack wounds? :-(

And now we run the risk of more hate being felt by families of the victims, the people living in the area, and Filipinos who have less-than-love-and-affection for administration. I can't help but think of "where there is no love, sow love and you will reap love" or something like that. Was it St. John of the Cross who said that? Maybe in Maguindanao and wherever else warlords thrive, that is what is needed -- plus commitment from the national gov't to put into place just structures. I wonder if that's possible in our lifetime.

As for reinstating the death penalty, I think that would be effective in putting more people on death row -- but not necessarily the ones guilty of crimes. Poor people who cannot afford good lawyers will surely find themselves put to death. This is NOT justice. And do we really want to regress to allowing principles like "an eye for an eye..." guide us?

bilbannon said...

Willy J
You forgot to tell readers that John Paul called the death penalty "cruel and unnecessary" in 1999 in St. Louis (the US Bishops quote him in their document) and that Benedict congradulated the president of the Phillipines when she did away with the death penalty entirely at the Vatican. Which means both men went beyond the passage from the catechism that you recited into an anti death penalty position pure and simple.

Look at the other end of the list of murder rate countries. Weak democracies are some of the safest countries on the list. Spain imperilized Catholicism in the Phillipines by way of conquisdator (that is why it is named after Phillip II) and it did so throughout Latin America with the express permission of Pope Alexander VI in 1494 "Inter Caetera". The latin American countries now all have problems deriving from the Pope who allowed Spain to effectively rob South America in the name of God so that they are now dysfunctional with three of them being foremost in the world for cocaine production and others having problems with disappearing policial opposition and others with purity and street crime...Brazil...which was partly destoyed by Pope Nicholas V in Romanus Pontifex where in the 4th paragraph..middle...online, he gave Portugal the right to rob them and enslave them if they resisted the gospel.
The Catholic continent is a mess largely thanks to two Popes but with three others confirming them who you apparently have not read but a third Pope...Paul III tried to undo what they did but failed in his Sublimis Dei 1537 and only a generation later.
He failed because he did not use interdict against Iberia but simply wrote a document.

Christ rejected "and eye for an eye" as to the individual person. The Holy Spirit (after Christ said that very thing) inspired Romans 13:3-4 which says that the state ...not the individual....the state with the "sword" not "whip"...."sword" (a synecdoche for all punishment up to and including the sword) is "God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who does evil". You will see the precursor to that passage in Genesis 9:5-6...
"whoever sheds the blood of man by man will his blood be shed"...not a Jewish law wherein Christ voided the death penalties for personal sin not for crimes in the incident with the woman taken in adultery. Read how the kingship was removed from Saul because he failed to kill Agag. And then the prophet killed Agag as God had demanded:
" And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal."
I Samuel 15:33.

But in your world if the Phillipines captures these murderers, they are to have life sentences of ??? tv and playing cards while the victims' spouses suffer more forever. And that is Love to you? No...love is taking them to Church for several months in order to warn them to repent as in Dicken's day...and then killing them as Samuel killed Agag in obedience to God.

WillyJ said...


The case for or against capital punishment would fall under case to case contingencies, and as I have inferred, the traditional teaching on CP is not absolute. My opinion is that the advances in criminal law, police and penal system in modern times have led recent Popes to strongly advocate against capital punishment, while still avoiding an absolutist position of an infallible nature.

The other point I wished to emphasize was that a truly democratic country characterized by the rule of law being meted impartially, would be a serious deterrent to blatant mayhem such as what occurred here. The death penalty would not necessarily be a deterrent, whenever a culture of impunity does not apply the force of law in equal terms. In order to impose the death penalty, you must first arrest and convict the people guilty of those crimes. The problem we have in the Philippines (and probably other countries on your list as well) is one rooted in a culture of impunity which favors the political and feudal warlords, and not by a lack of legally mandated penalties that are supposed to be meted, more so not by a lack of moral guidance by the Church.

I am not conversant with the historical background behind Nicholas V's Romanus Pontifex. However, we must understand that papal bull within the context of those times. There are circumstances in which a person can justly be compelled to servitude against his will. Prisoners of war or criminals, for example, can justly lose their circumstantial freedom, within certain limits. Moreover, we must understand that matters of war and imprisonment are prudential teachings, not infallible teachings. It is hard to understand Pope Nicholas' full intention (which was not intended for the whole of Christianity by the way, but to the king of Portugal), but we can concede that the document may have been used to justify barbaric acts. At the same time, we cannot ignore the Church's efforts towards the abolition of slavery.
A worthwhile read is Pope Leo XIII' encyclical IN PLURIMIS, which traces the developments in the Church's history in abolishing slavery. See also the historical critique on 'The Catholic Church and Slavery' by Mark Brumley.

sunnyday said...

Hi Bilbannon,

I don't know where you're from but I take it you're not in the Philippines or haven't had the chance to live here. One thing you must know is that the judicial system in my country is not what we may consider reliable or trustworthy. Institutions for a truly democratic society are, sadly, not yet in place; I would say that enforcement of laws is ineffective in many cases. Court cases are decided not without impartiality -- again in many cases.

Another thing you may not know about my country is that the prison facilities here are nothing out of Architectural Digest or Better Homes & Gardens. In fact, I hear that inmates are usually cramped; I imagine the toilet & bath setups are not attractive either. In other words, your idea of the living conditions of prison facilities in the Philippines is likely to be a stark contrast from how they really are. So it's not a case of "the living is easy" for inmates here.

Finally, there is no evidence that capital punishment in a society works as a deterrent to crime. Moreover, violence breeds more violence. I think that's not what you'd like to happen. Very very difficult as it is to accept -- and in no way do I belittle the nightmare that victims and their loved ones go through due to the crimes committed -- even a convicted criminal deserves a chance at rehabilitation and restitution. That's an option that gives hope not only to him, but to society as well.

bilbannon said...

Point taken on conditions of your prisons but your attitude toward the death penalty is completely unscriptural which is a Catholic habit as of late which John Paul II shared with you since he repeatedly quoted Genesis 9:5-6 in Evangelium Vitae and each time removed the death penalty part very much like he ignored 5 alternate passages when he wrote of husband headship based on Ephesians only after which writing, it is absent in the catechism because again he turned tradition on its head by avoiding certain passages.
As to studies on the death penalty, it is a canard that they argue for non deterrence (Romans 13:3-4 says not that it is deterrence but that it is an execution of God's wrath); one must first have a study country where it is executed within reasonable time which occurs nowhere in the US due to appeals that in California go on for an average of 20 years.

Here are some of the brightest people in the universities in the US some...and Noble laureate level... of whom were against the death penalty until they did the studies:


bilbannon said...

Willy J
Why did Pope Leo XIII leave out the late 15th century period and the series of Popes who turbocharged slavery for centuries and whose bulls stated that they could not be contradicted in the future? Answer: Catholicism which is the true Church also has the nasty habit of covering up for a long time prior to the sex abuse period....be it covering up the severity of the Inquisition or covering up its approval of slavery within the Catholic Universities while the anti slavery bulls were being written. Why doesn't Leo XIII ask why the anti slavery Popes seemed to have followed up not at all with interdicts nor with removing from University theology the four justified reasons for slavery? Answer: it would have weakened his case.
Covering up was not new in the priest sex abuse crisis. It is low grade Catholic defense...concede nothing.

It is the lower and most dominant form of Catholic apologetics. Jerome's "Against Helvidius" on the perpetual virginity of Mary is the high level of Catholic apologetics. Most Catholic apologetics however is not of that level and depends on omitting certain sections of history and omits certain Church documents. Jerome was the higher apologetics; Leo XIII was the lower and the edited type of Catholic apologetics.

WillyJ said...


Yes, apologetics which conceals either the bad or the good is faulty apologetics. Along with the charisma of infallibility, the Church never claims it is filled only with indefectible people. The Church is protected from error in that the Pope speaks ex-cathedra or the Pope speaks in union with the dispersed bishops on matters of faith and morals. An objective assessment of the Inquisition or even the Galileo affair (favorite bashing tools largely misunderstood) never undermines the divine foundation of the Church.
As far as the sex abuse scandals are concerned, these should be faced squarely in like manner. At any rate, there is no evidence to prove that sex scandals are not any more prevalent in the other professions and even denominations, and in fact a closer look at the data says otherwise.
All these and more has to be faced squarely. The Church has nothing to fear from the truth.

bilbannon said...

Willy J
Other professions and other denominations do not say the Mass everyday and then molest boys. "From him to whom much is given, much will be required."
Oddly we compare ourselves with public school teachers and yet we are supposed to behave way better than they due to our having the sacraments and in this case...administering the sacraments. Face it. We have been disgraced period. No comparisons are appropriate since God will require more of those who have the fullness of the means of salvation....he will not expect that we are equal to public school teachers. He will expect that we behaved better than they and other denominations....because our men performed and received the sacraments and then did these things.

sunnyday said...


Why do you want so much to have people killed?

And don't you believe that we are all intertwined as a family of God? If you do, then you must know that each of us -- especially those who have been given much -- can and ought to start with ourselves and live our life according to how God has planned it, and this shall help make up for the transgressions and omissions of others in our family.

At the same time, do you mean to say that you lack faith in God's wisdom that he has not laid down any guidelines at all when it comes to dealing properly with those involved in the sex scandals that you are referring to?

Looking heavenward more, and less at the people around us whom we expect to live their vocations perfectly, will surely give us more serenity -- no matter what tragedies take place and no matter how horrific some crimes by other Christians may be committed that they show how lost a person can be when friendship and divine filiation with God is not nourished and lived.

bilbannon said...

You write: Why do you want so much to have people killed?

No...I want calculated murderers (non passion cases surely) killed so that they do not kill within prison. Our Jeffrey Dahmer, a murderer himself was killed by a lifer who had nothing to lose in killing him in prison because that state, Wisconsin, could only give him life sentence which he already had. Fr. Geoghan, a priest perv, was killed by a lifer in Massachusetts where again the lifer did not have anything to lose because he was already serving life. This system of murders within prison by lifers is enabled by the last two Popes who never mention these holes in their theory and since they never go before the press and allow cross examination, they can remain wrong on such a topic forever. CEO's of most corporations now allow cross examination. Our Popes will grow up when they also expose themselves to intelligent questions. Goodbye...your country will become Mexico (another Catholic debacle which has not had a death penalty for a century) if you do not bring back the death penalty for cold calculated murders at the minimum. All Popes from Augustine til Pius XII agreed with me.

sunnyday said...

Consider solitary confinement then. Maybe it's the penal/justice system that's committing the errors.

And why the labels "lifer"? Is "lifer" an accurate description for a person who takes the life of another in a situation that doesn't involve self-defense? I believe not.

You didn't comment on the other points I wrote, bil.

WillyJ said...

I share your sentiments on coverups, even as I stated above, where "scandals are concerned, these should be faced squarely in like manner". When there are comparisons with other denominations, I didn't mean that as an excuse, rather to emphasize that the Church never claims that all its members/clergy are "indefectible", like the rest. I go with your point there.