Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Capital Punishment from Genesis to Pope Francis

October 12th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Genesis 9:6:  God said to Noah: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in His own image.”

Matthew 26:62-66:  Jesus cooperates with the high priest’s demand to incriminate Himself, leading to His death by capital punishment:  “And the high priest stood up and said, ‘Have You no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against You?’ But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure You by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard His blasphemy. What is your judgment?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death.'”

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  2267: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. 

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

LifeSiteNews quotes Pope Francis Oct. 12, 2017

Quotations from Pope Francis, if accurate, once again raise major concerns of apparently contradicting prior Church Teaching, even seeming to imply that what is unchangeable is now changeable:

“Pope Francis indicated in his speech that the teaching of the Catechism would change according to a “new understanding of Christian truth.” ….“Tradition is a living reality and only a partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static,” he said. ….“The Word of God cannot be conserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket to be preserved from parasites. No. The Word of God is a dynamic reality, always alive, that progresses and grows because it tends towards a fulfillment that men cannot stop.”….This “law of progress,” the Pope said, “appertains to the peculiar condition of the truth revealed in its being transmitted by the church, and does not at all signify a change of doctrine. One cannot conserve the doctrine without making it progress, nor can one bind it to a rigid and immutable reading without humiliating the Holy Spirit.”  

Again, I am asking: “Huh?”

The premise seems to rest on a fail-safe prison system, which very recently has been disproven.

Q:  Has prison security really advanced to a point where those convicted of murder can be kept imprisoned with absolutely no chance of escape?

A:  No. Just peruse some of the articles on the 2015 breakout in Northern NY.

What is particularly ironic is that somehow the death penalty for taking human life, even in quite horrific ways, seems to be opposed far more than euthanasia of those guiltlessly suffering from mental impairment, dementia or Alzheimers!

7 Responses to “Capital Punishment from Genesis to Pope Francis”

  1. christian says:

    Thank you again Diane, for an excellent topic which is thought-provoking and well laid out.
    My concern is not limited to the prison-break of violent criminals, but of violent criminals being let back into the community.

    My contention regarding the justice system is that dangerous, violent persons, especially repeat offenders, are let back out into the public to commit horrific crime again. In many, if not most cases, the sentence does not fit the severity of the crime. Then that dangerous, violent criminal is up for parole every few years before serving even two-thirds of their sentence, and sometimes, even one-third of their sentence.

    One case which I know personally, because a close relative was one of his victims:
    In the mid 1980’s, serial rapist Jeffrey A. Baker broke into women’s apartments through a window and screen, held them at knife-point, and after blind-folding them and tying them up, raped them repeatedly (including sodomy) over a period of several hours. He tortured them further at knife point while they were tied up and blind-folded, and played mind games, including the concept of how and when he was going to kill them. He also ate and drank these women’s food and drink over the hours he was in their apartment victimizing them, while he left them hungry and thirsty.

    As a young man, he was on disability for arthritis but obviously was agile and athletic enough to be able to climb up and lift himself through windows after forcing the outside windows and screens open, and flee on foot from the scenes of his crimes. This is in addition to being able to subdue his victims from behind and continually victimize them as I described above, for several hours. It’s bewildering how he was able to get on disability for arthritis, but apparently it gave him more time to seek out his prey and victimize them.

    He chose women who lived alone. His victims ranged from young women to elderly women. Among the elderly women, one of them was blind, and there were some who had physical disabilities. HE HAD MANY,MANY VICTIMS. HE CHANGED THE LIVES OF ALL OF HIS VICTIMS.

    In addition to needing treatment, my close relative went through many hours of interrogation by police. She then was assigned a police detective who continued to follow up with her. When Jeffrey A. Baker was eventually caught, my close relative had to identity him through voice. She then had to go through a long, arduous system of hearing and trial dates. She had to testify against him at trial in a room full of strangers and relay the horrific, humiliating, and very personal details of her victimization. One person on the jury was overtly grinning at her throughout her ordeal of testimony, as if they found the details amusing. She relayed afterwards how disturbing it was and how upset she was at that.

    At trial, Jeffrey Baker said he planned to kill my close relative after he got out of prison. He also stated he made the mistake of leaving his victims alive so they could testify against him, and he wouldn’t make that mistake again.

    Jeffrey Baker struck a plea deal (rather than being sentenced for all the counts against him), and was then sentenced 15-30 years for the heinous victimization of all those women! It seemed that Jeffrey Baker wasn’t in prison that long before they were trying to parole him. His victims were contacted to write a victim impact letter detailing how their life had changed due to the hours of rape, torture, and mind games that they were put through for many hours at knife point, while blind-folded and tied up, in an effort to stop him from being paroled early. His victims were then asked to have family members write a letter from their perspective as an additional measure to stop him from getting early parole.
    (At that point, I don’t think he had even served one-third of his sentence). I know I wrote a letter on two separate occasions before he was even up for release in 15 years! (I believe the letters were asked for at 5 year intervals). I had some strong words for the “justice system.”

    My close relative then had to go in person before the parole board when he was up for release in 15 years. After personal testimony, Jeffrey Baker was kept in prison for another 5 years. Jeffrey Baker was then up for parole after serving 20 years, but this time, no victim impact letters or personal testimony from victims before the parole board was sought out.
    Jeffrey A. Baker was released from jail at age 44 years, after serving 20 years. He violated his parole within two weeks after his release when he was caught with pornography, a violation of his parole, by his sister, who he was living with. His sister reported it and he was sent back to prison.(It was in the Democrat and Chronicle). The next time Jeffrey A. Baker was released, his victims were never notified. Apparently, he is seen by the “justice system” as paying his full debt to society.

    Jeffrey A. Baker is out there somewhere in the community, not being monitored.
    My close relative has to worry if he will make good on his promise of killing her after he got out of prison. She has to worry about him finding out her current address. Additionally, he stated at trial that he wouldn’t make the mistake of leaving his victims alive the next time.

    Another instance which I am aware from a previous workplace: Someone who worked on building maintenance at a healthcare institution I worked at many years ago, was found by another building maintenance worker who stopped him while he was in the process of sexual, predatory behavior toward a female employee when no one around. It was found that this building maintenance man had a rap sheet several miles long. He had been convicted and served time for the sexual abuse and rapes of women and children. He had been convicted and sentenced multiple, multiple times, and those were only cases where there had been a successful conviction. Those on the review board wanted to know why he was out of prison and out in the streets. They learned that even though there was a mandatory background check to be able to work at that healthcare institution, it hadn’t been done on him. (And of course, he also didn’t put down that he had served time in prison). Even more alarming was to find out that this building maintenance man was working as a security guard at a nearby apartment complex. The review board immediately notified that apartment complex of his criminal history.

    There are instances of serial killers let out and they continue to murder again. I think it was Dateline which covered a story years ago, about a man who continued to marry a woman, take an insurance policy out on her, and then kill her. He was released out into the community after each subsequent prison sentence and continued to do the same thing. He had multiple victims. The family of his last victim wondered how he could have gotten out of prison repeatedly to continue his marriage, insurance policy, and murder scheme.

    There are many, many, many accounts of serial rapists and killers let out of prison to only commit the same crimes or worse. There is no thought of protecting the community from these dangerous people. There only seems to be talk of overcrowding in prisons. While I do not condone robbery or embezzlement, usually persons convicted of felony grand larceny and embezzlement serve more time than those convicted of sexual abuse and rape, and even murder. The value system seems to be backwards in the criminal justice system.

    I can understand why the Death Penalty is being entertained as a remedy, when so many dangerous people are being let back into the community, especially prematurely, because of prison overcrowding, without any thought to the safety of the community.

    I agree with you Diane, that there are those who are vehemently opposed to capital punishment for those who are known with certainty to have committed horrendous crimes, often repeatedly. But they are in favor of killing the innocent unborn, and those with developmental disabilities, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, progressive disease, and those advanced in age, because they are seen as an inconvenience and a drain on the government’s financial resources. So in a sense, the innocent are deemed worthy of capital punishment out of no fault of their own, while the guilty are free to live, and live out in the community.

  2. Diane Harris says:


    Thank you for joining the discussion with such a detailed and painful testimony. There is nothing in what you said that I would disagree with … it is reality … and well expressed.

    I would only add that women need to make a careful and well-thought out decision on what they are willing and able to do to protect themselves, especially in these violent days. To make no conscious decision is, in effect, to make the decision to do nothing. The catechism and the law and Scripture all seem to agree that people (including women!) have the right to self defense. (And sometimes the obligation to defend those vulnerable ones who depend on us.)

    Yet many of my “sisters” don’t even think through the merits of self-protection. Years ago I read the book “Armed and Female” by Paxton Quigley and I still recommend it to other women to help with their discernment. Especially in a time when the courts obviously side with the perpetrator rather than the victim.

  3. christian says:

    I agree that women should take self-defense. Actually, I think everyone should take self-defense.

    Another concern and action that should be taken: Windows in an apartment or home.
    Jeffrey A. Baker was able to force a window open, from the outside, and get through the inside screen. He would hide and lay in wait for his victim in their own apartment, and then catch them off guard from behind. (He is probably not the only criminal to use such a tactic).
    People are not on their guard once they are within their own home-setting to begin with, after they open up their door with a key to enter, and then lock it again once inside.

    Everyone should check their windows and make sure they can’t be forced open from the outside. Those living in their own home should take the following advice on making their windows less likely to be forced open from outside from the article below. Those living in an apartment complex should share their concerns regarding safety with the management, especially if they live on the first floor.

    From Kuma -“Common ways burglers break-in” by John Korkidis, April 20, 2016
    -“Problem Area: Windows

    Windows are the most fragile entry point to your home. The sound of breaking glass is usually not heard by neighbors who are likely to be away from home when you are. Windows are also not equipped with locks, only latches, making them much easier to force without breaking the glass. During warmer months the percentage of break-ins via windows skyrockets for a simple reason, people leave their windows open, even when they leave home. An open window is an invitation to anyone who walks past. Even when closed, windows are left unlatched much more often then doors.

    All windows should have secondary locking mechanisms installed on them. Wooden windows are easily secured by drilling a hole through the bottom panel’s stile half-way into the upper panel’s stile. Use a bolt, nail or dowel pushed through the hole to secure the window. Make sure you leave part sticking out so you can remove it. Jiggle the window to make sure the bolt is tight enough that it won’t work itself free. Newer windows made from aluminum or vinyl have track locks that can be installed to stop the window from freely moving up and down. Some track locks can be positioned that the window can be left open 4-6 inches to allow for ventilation. Always close your windows when you leave home. Even for a quick trip to the store.
    Home inspections help you find problems so you can assess what repairs or improvements need to be done.”

    My close relative’s rear window was closed and secured in her apartment when Jeffrey A. Baker managed to force it open. It was learned that the windows in that apartment complex, like other apartment complexes that were involved at the time, could be forced open from the outside. (There was no breaking of glass). An immediate measure taken for my close relative afterwards, was to wedge a long metal pole between both sides of her window, on all her windows, to prevent them from being forced open from the outside.

  4. Diane Harris says:

    Thank you for a great set of safety tips. It used to be too expensive to install a hard-wired security system in a rental unit (and maybe prohibited in lease as well). Now there are less expensive wireless systems the tenant can take when moving. The tenant is called (or the police) by the monitoring company if there is a breach.

  5. christian says:

    Regarding Paxton Quigley’s book, “Armed and Female: Taking Control” – I think any competent, non-felon, has the right to defend themselves with a gun. I think if one chooses to do so, they should make sure they know how to use it. They should also go out to a firing range periodically for target practice to hone their skills. If there are any young children around, great care has to be taken to keep out of their reach/possession.

  6. christian says:

    Thank you Diane for mentioning wireless security monitoring systems for both apartment and home use -which you can take with you if you move. I was not aware a wireless security monitoring system (which would really help those who live in an apartment) was available. Besides being portable, the cost of a wireless security monitoring system is quite a bit less expensive than a traditional security system. I am sharing a link below to a wireless security monitoring system with favorable recommendations:

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