Why does the pope hate America?


Pope Francis has come out with a statement condemning many practices.

“All Christians and people of good will are called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty,” the pope told delegates from the International Association of Penal Law.

“And this I connect with life imprisonment,” he continued. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

In the wide-ranging address, Francis denounced practices that are widespread in many regions of the world, such as extrajudicial executions and detentions without trial, which he said account for more than half of all detentions in some countries.

Francis also denounced corruption in penal systems, calling it “an evil greater than sin.”

The corrupt, he said, are like people with bad breath: They don’t realize they have it and must be told by others. Yet corruption has seeped into every corner of society, from business to public works contracts to national security operations. But the penal system operates like a net that “catches only the little fish while leaving the big fish free to swim the ocean.”

Those corrupt “big fish,” he said, are the ones who should be punished most severely because they damage all of society.

Francis also took aim at practices that have been hotly debated in the U.S, such as the so-called “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects to other countries, which the pope described as the practice of “illegal transportation to detention centers in which torture is practiced.”

The pope called out both the nations that use such practices and those who allow it to happen on their territory or allow the use of their air space for other countries to transport detainees.

In addition, Francis said isolation in so-called “supermax” prisons, which are sometimes used for convicted terrorists or the most dangerous criminals, can be “a form of torture.” That’s because such treatment can lead to “psychic and physical sufferings such as paranoia, anxiety, depression and weight loss and a significantly increased chance of suicide.”

Countries that have the death penalty? Life imprisonment without the chance of parole? Detention without trial? Corruption in the national security apparatus? Justice systems systems that let the big fish get away and catch only the little ones? Extraordinary renditions? Torture? Supermax prisons?

While every country is guilty of having some of these things, surely no single country, especially one that calls itself civilized, could have all those horrible features, could it?

I wonder whether the pope had any country in mind when he made these comments.

Comments

  1. moarscienceplz says

    I am against the death penalty, mostly because there is no way to correct for an improper conviction, but also because it is too easy a punishment. Everybody dies, and many people don’t get to die easily in their sleep like a death by lethal injection is intended to provide. But life without possibility of parole is totally appropriate in some cases. Assuming Osama Bin Laden could have been captured alive, and given a fair trial, I would have no problem welding him into a small underground cell without any human contact for 20 or 30 years until he died naturally. He totally deserved it.
    Even for those people whose crimes were obviously due to mental illness, like Jeffrey Dahlmer, how could he ever have been released back into free society? We should have done a better job of protecting him while in prison, and tried to treat his mental issues, but I don’t think a million psychiatrists could ever convince me that he was mentally healthy enough to release into the free population.

  2. says

    also because it is too easy a punishment

    The moral conundrums resulting from punishment are pretty complicated; are you sure you want to take such a simplistic view of the world?

    Death by lethal injection, for example, is far from painless. In fact, it appears to have been designed toward a goal of increasing suffering. A great deal depends on the drug cocktail used and how it’s administered and in some cases it has resulted in appalling pain and fear for the victim. If the idea is that punishment is society’s response to a criminal’s actions, then society must collectively take the blame if that punishment is cruel and unusual – as you appear to favor. I do not want anyone’s suffering on my hands, glib fool. I further question whether you’d have the courage to inflict such suffering yourself, and whether you’re simply hiding behind the mass of society to do your dirty work for you.

    I would have no problem welding him into a small underground cell without any human contact for 20 or 30 years until he died naturally. He totally deserved it.

    Did he? At worst he was guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, which is a capital felony in a few states but not all. There is no capital punishment in New York. So.. yeah, he was assassinated because there probably wasn’t enough to hang on him to put him away for very long. Probably he deserved to be locked up forever, yes, but so much for the rule of law. And in your “welding him into a small underground cell without any human contact for 20 or 30 years” scenario – that’s called “cruel and unusual punishment” and it’s unconstitutional. So you’ve got a bit of a dilemma if your idea is that punishment upholds society’s rules, you can hardly break those same rules to punish someone cruelly.

  3. Holms says

    also because it is too easy a punishment

    The moral conundrums resulting from punishment are pretty complicated; are you sure you want to take such a simplistic view of the world?

    The impression I got from that passage was that death is easy to inflict.

    I would have no problem welding him into a small underground cell without any human contact for 20 or 30 years until he died naturally. He totally deserved it.

    Did he? At worst he was guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, which is a capital felony in a few states but not all.

    Sure, only ‘conspiracy to commit murder’… times three thousand. Also known as ‘terrorism’. I believe that is easily enough to earn life without parole. Also, the ‘welded into a small chamber’ bit was quite obviously not meant to be taken literally.

  4. says

    death is easy to inflict.

    Death is easy to talk about inflicting, when safe behind the keyboard of a computer connected to the internet. Yes.

    The problem is that if you’re saying “we, as a society, are killing this person for the crime of killing people” then how does society forgive itself, having accepted that killing people is wrong?

  5. says

    ‘conspiracy to commit murder’… times three thousand. Also known as ‘terrorism’

    He was just doing what governments do all the time. In that sense, he was “competition” worth eradicating — but “terrorism” should hardly be a crime in the US.

    More to the point, other than being part of the planning and direction of the attack, he was a coward who didn’t do any of the dirty work. Just like one of our politicians today. If you’re going to say he deserved to be punished for giving orders that caused thousands of deaths, then he could run for office in this country or Russia or Israel or Australia or the UK or France because that’s called “leadership” in the first world. His only crime was to not have a good enough army to laugh off retaliation, apparently.

  6. says

    My point is that if we’re going to assert that there was some moral high ground from which the US killed Bin Laden, we ought to – you know – actually act like there’s moral high ground, and not be doing the same shit that he did. Talking about welding people in underground rooms and shit is exactly the kind of thing he appears to have been in favor of, too. If you’re operating at the same moral level, then you’re just a thug critiquing another thug for his methods and target.

  7. Mobius says

    A few years back, I got into a forum flame war with a very conservative Catholic from Australia. He was on and on about “morality is absolute”.

    So I pointed out to him…two centuries ago the Pope, if he had been asked, would have said that the death penalty was moral. Today, the Pope says that the death penalty is not moral. Where is the “absolute” in this morality.

    IMHO, it is a sad thing that the Catholic Church is taking a more moral stance than the US. (Not that it is sad that the Catholic Church is actually doing something moral, but that the US is lagging behind on this issue.)

  8. jcsscj says

    “All Christians and people of good will are called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty,” the pope told delegates from the International Association of Penal Law.

    “And this I connect with life imprisonment,” he continued. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

    This is said by somebody who’s dog person send people to hell to burn for eternity.

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