Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pope intercedes for Tariq Aziz - to be hanged by the neck until dead

It is widely known that His Grace is not in favour of the death penalty.

But, unlike His Holiness, not dogmatically so: that is to say, there may be the occasional exception.

But only occasionally.

The Vatican has issued a statement:

The position of the Catholic church on the death penalty is well known. It’s hoped, therefore, that the sentence against Tariq Aziz will not be executed, precisely in order to favor reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and justice in Iraq after the great sufferings it has experienced.

Regarding a possible humanitarian intervention, the Holy See is not accustomed to operate in a public fashion, but through the diplomatic means at its disposal.
As Margaret Beckett said on the occasion of the execution of Saddam Hussein:

I welcome the fact that Saddam Hussein has been tried by an Iraqi court for at least some of the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. He has now been held to account. We have made our position very clear to the Iraqi authorities, but we respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation.
Unlike the professing Muslim Saddam Hussein, who is probably now in Hell, Tariq Aziz professes to be a Christian of the Chaldean variety.

His Grace opposes the death penalty.


And yet Tariq Aziz murdered how many?

Perhaps His Holiness might make an exception?

Just one?

In extremis?

If Mr Aziz be a Christian, shall we let God be the judge?


Anonymous Stuart said...

When did Saddam have his tea? When Tariq Aziz....

26 October 2010 at 20:07  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Stuart - is that a 'Black Country' joke, or can anyone join in?

26 October 2010 at 20:10  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Which reminds me ... Why have Comet closed all their Afghanistan branches? Coz of the Tellyban!

26 October 2010 at 20:16  
Blogger Span Ows said...

I suspect the Pope is just continuing his appease the Muslim trend has started.

I was looking forward to the religion of peace (hundreds of thousands dead) vs. the religion of peace (millions dead) but hey, can't ahve everything.

26 October 2010 at 21:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It seems that the crime of persecuting religious political parties carried the death penalty especially when that party provides the Prime Minister. It was hardly likely to be a Christian political party, and they have successfully driven Christians out of Iraq.

Something about this sentence is hokey

26 October 2010 at 22:18  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

His Grace either opposes the death penalty, or He doesn't.

"If you want the fruit to fall
You have to give the tree a shake
But if you shake the tree too hard,
The bough is gonna break"

Danny Wilson

26 October 2010 at 22:26  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Well, this chap was in Sadam's government and in quite a senior position, so given what that regime did is it not correct that this chap be given the death sentence.

PS- why all this hanging lark? I personally think that -and I am no fan of the Frogs- the guillotine is the most humane way of execution.

26 October 2010 at 22:29  
Anonymous Catholic said...

'But, unlike His Holiness, not dogmatically so: that is to say, there may be the occasional exception.'

Cranmer is mistaken if he thinks that Benedict XVI is dogmatically opposed to capital punishment.

Cardinal Ratzinger stated the following in 2004:

'While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.'


26 October 2010 at 22:48  
Blogger David Singeisen said...

Your Grace,

I hope you'll allow a long-time lurker the opportunity to put forth his tuppence of thought.

Secularly, Jared Gaites is right. One cannot be opposed to the death penalty except when you think the person involved really deserves it. The position is nonsensical. Either the judicial killing of another human is right or it is wrong. Now you argue that Tariq Aziz has committed heinous crimes and he may have. I'm no expert on the Hussein regime. I understand however that Mr. Aziz may be responsible for the deaths of thousands at the very least.. The questions are though a) does that justify his death? b) will his death prevent similar crimes in the future? My answers to the above would be 'no' and 'impossible to tell'. Firstly, how can a suitable response to governmental killings be another governmental killing? You cannot simply assume moral worth for your actions in this case because of their relative attractiveness. It is meanwhile simply impossible to tell what overall effect such a killing would have. I would point out however that the first inter-governmental judicial executions for crimes against humanity came almost 70 years ago, and still man's inhumanity to man persists. On a more geopolitical note, the demographics of Iraq, the influence of Iran, governmental inefficiency and corruption, the presence of oil and the continued activities of international terrorists all combined to destabilise the country. Would any of these be stopped by Tariq Aziz's execution? I sincerely doubt it.

This invites an interesting second question though – what Biblical justification is there for governmental killings? Sceptics of such justification, myself included, would point out the Covenant injunction against murder (Exodus 20:13), the call not to judge others (Matthew 7:1) and the fact that when Simon Peter struck the high priest's servant Jesus called him to put away his sword (John 18:10-11). An alternative view can be found here: http://www.cfirecm.com/QandA/Judge%20Not%20Lest%20Ye%20Be%20Judged.htm. However Luke 10:27 (love others as you would yourself), Luke 6:37 (Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven) and Matthew 18:22 (Forgive seventy-seven times etc) to me show that we do not have Biblical authority to judicially kill.

I would say then that it is neither secularly justifiable nor Biblically authorised. Your last comment hit the nail on the head – God will decide this case. We can only pray that if this sentence is going to go ahead, Mr. Aziz repents fully of his sins.

26 October 2010 at 22:58  
Blogger David Singeisen said...

Sorry, that last comment was a bit badly typed in places. The last few sentences summarise my point

26 October 2010 at 22:59  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Hang him, all it will be is another death. Insignificant, meaningless death that furthers the substance of man not one jot forwards in the grand scheme of things. It will satisfy an urge, an appetite - sate a thirst, justify a primitive longing, an evil instinct of Cain the ancestor of murder.

26 October 2010 at 23:08  
Blogger PaulineG said...

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.[67]

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'"

I'll go with that.

26 October 2010 at 23:13  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Murder is wrong, immoral, and usually counter-productive, whether sanctioned by judge, state, or Pope, or not.


When it comes to lecturing other countries on moral issues especially those concerning mass or otherwise murder:

Surely our History books conclusively prove beyond doubt that the two greatest and therefore most murderously callus institutions to have ever cursed this planet are The Roman Empires Church (The RCC), and The British Empire (The Firm.)

For sometimes better or for often very much worse these entities have directly contributed to the premature and torturous deaths of countless millions of entirely innocent human beings over many hundreds of years.

The death toll is truly amassing, enough to make anything Saddam could conjure up in his wildest and most horrific fantasies look like a small kiddies lunch time punch-up.

Of course this does not excuse anything Saddam or his chums did in the name of their own personal Empires, but it should put any comments from the Pope or any representatives of The British Establishment in some kind of proper perspective.

27 October 2010 at 00:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reply to david Singeisen,

Your reference to scripture and subsequent interpretation of it is rather confusing.

The passage in Exodus which you and many others quote only tells half the story, read the verses which follow and it clearly states that the sanction against murder which the thou shalt not bit is refering to, is in fact the death penalty. Therefore far from supporting your position the passage in its totality undermines it.

Further are you suggesting that we should abolish all human courts all together since we are not to "judge others", ? These verses teach us to be wary of hypocricy they are not designed to teach that the state has no right to judge and punish individuals who break the law.

Having said that your confusion is symptomatic of the nonsense spoken by many churches and christians these days who have confused the teachings of scripture with pacifism and marxism.

27 October 2010 at 00:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to your link: "Aziz had denied any role in the summary trials of the men accused in 1992 of profiteering during economic sanctions."
So, it seems a Muslim government found a Christian guilty of executing profiteers of the worst sort.
It's a bit disappointing that you would consider the execution of such criminals murder.

To Atlas Shrugged: Give it a rest! All your pseudo-historical assertions demonstrate is that you need to read more than one book - and try to make it one that includes footnotes and a bibliography.

Luther Fragentod

27 October 2010 at 01:14  
Anonymous not a machine said...

It is perhaps significant he was brought up a christian , however despite his low position in saddams regiem , they call him Mr clean gloves , meaning that he never got his hands dirty even though many associates did .He still denies the kurds were gassed .

He perhaps could be better figure for Iraq if god were more instructive to him , many will see his crime association as unforgiveable , but what then of Nelson Mandella (to whom the bible is also important)

I am still sometimes unsure about the death penalty ,Enoch Powell once commented after the repeal of the death penalty (which i think he voted for) that he would have no problem in rienstating it if crime figures increased and it was clear it acted as detterent.

But we have in Tariq Aziz an old man , who has seen defeat , his empire fall , his countries rule exposed .He is faced with having to see/consider/ponder if there was somthing dark in the middle east . If anything the middle east needs repentant intelligent men , at the very least from giving a living message where , gold plated kalashnikovs and arms deals lead to when Iraqs people could have had a very different life and culture.

27 October 2010 at 01:27  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

To Atlas Shrugged: Give it a rest! All your pseudo-historical assertions demonstrate is that you need to read more than one book - and try to make it one that includes footnotes and a bibliography.

Why would I need to do such a thing?

Please be so kind as to inform myself of any book historical or otherwise anywhere on this planet which would even slightly contradict my above statement.

Or maybe things such as The Spanish/European Inquisition as well as the African slave trade, The 100 year, Roses, English Civil, Spanish, Dutch, American, Canadian, Napoleonic, Sudanese, Indian, Opium, Zulu, Boar, First, and Second World, Korean Wars, to name only a minority, did not actually take place?

Which indeed they may not have done, I was not actually around at the time. I was simply stating what I believed to be well established historical FACTS. Perhaps you know differently?

BTW estimates vary, however it is said by many historians that the so called Spanish Inquisition claimed the innocent lives of between 50-300 million souls over a 350 year period. I think you may agree that this is many more then Saddam Hussain is capable of being responsible for, even in his most passionate dreams.

As for reading more books.

You may find this hard to believe, but I not only read many of them, I have contributed to many, as well as being one. Perhaps you should try reading me?

27 October 2010 at 02:31  
Blogger Roger Thornhill said...

Unless Tariq Aziz is presenting a clear, immediate danger to life, this will be murder.

He isn't. It is.

We can kill in self-defence, but this is not.

So, basically, what David Singeisen says.

27 October 2010 at 07:57  
Blogger Jess The Dog said...

When do we stop hanging people? Aziz is, to a greater or lesser degree, complicit in the crimes of the Saddam regime. Those ended in 2003. What about the hundreds of thousands of deaths since then? Are they to be avenged in such a manner as well? When to stop? When all the killers have been killed? It's an absurdity and should be opposed by any civilised government.

27 October 2010 at 08:05  
Blogger David Singeisen said...

@ Anonymous

I'm somewhat confused by your reference to Exodus. My Bible is a New Living Translation and in it Exodus 20:13 simply states 'Thou shalt not murder'. Are you referring to the passages around Exodus 21:12 and onwards?

On the question of judging others my position is if I'm honest self-contradictory. I would not call for the abolition of state courts, but my personal belief is that judicial killing moves beyond the realms where human courts should be allowed to function. I can assure you I'm no Marxist, but your accusation of pacifism may have some grounds.

27 October 2010 at 08:32  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Anon at 00.46


Let us pray that Mr Aziz will come to repentance in the execution shed.

27 October 2010 at 08:42  
Anonymous CD13 said...

Your last sentence reminds me of something.....oh,yes...."Kill them all, let God decide."

27 October 2010 at 08:44  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘My Bible is a New Living Translation and in it Exodus 20:13 simply states 'Thou shalt not murder'.’

Clearly then, the judicial execution of Mr Aziz will not be classified as murder and thus doe not breach Exodus 20:13.

27 October 2010 at 09:33  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

@ Atlas Shrugged 27 October 2010 02:31

The Fluff Bunny Wiccans Big Book of History doesn't count. For example, if the Spanish Inquisition had claimed the lives of between fifty million and three hundred million, then Europe would have been depopulated.

Like Anonymous 01:14 said: All your pseudo-historical assertions demonstrate is that you need to read more than one book - and try to make it one that includes footnotes and a bibliography.

27 October 2010 at 10:44  
Anonymous judith said...

Should no-one be punished for heinous crimes? Is incarcerating a prisoner for decades kinder than execution? Why are a country's Armed Forces blessed despite one of their objects being to kill opposing forces yet commentators get into a lather over one man who has been through a judicial process being condemned?

27 October 2010 at 10:58  
Blogger Stephen Walton said...

Didn't your grace already settle this one when you wrote the Thirty Nine Articles?

"The Laws of the realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences"
-Article 37

Stephen Walton

27 October 2010 at 11:47  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Unlike the professing Muslim Saddam Hussein, who is probably now in Hell


27 October 2010 at 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

‘My Bible is a New Living Translation and in it Exodus 20:13 simply states 'Thou shalt not murder'.’

My point is not whether the scriptures you quote have any authority or not, some believe this to be the case others do not, rather it is that if you do quote them in an effort to provide some moral justification then you have to quote them within a proper context. Reading the book of exodus there are numerous verses legislating the death penalty for a number of sins including murder. Therefore Exodus supports the death penalty.
You can of course disregard scripture as having no authority therefore in that case do not quote it.

27 October 2010 at 13:03  
Anonymous Simon Too said...

"Shall we let God be the judge?"

Indeed Your Grace, but should that not to be in His own good time?

27 October 2010 at 13:43  
Anonymous Stabledoor said...

Your Grace, you can't have it both ways - either you support the death penalty or you don't. I am opposed to the death penalty because however overwhelming the evidence might appear to be there is always a risk of killing an innocent person. However small that risk might be it should not exist. I do support life in prison without parole as an alternative. And I am a "card carrying" atheist

27 October 2010 at 13:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

How much longer must I put up with these silly atheists?

‘I am opposed to the death penalty because however overwhelming the evidence might appear to be there is always a risk of killing an innocent person.’

Can ye give an innocent man back the years of wrongful imprisonment?

‘I do support life in prison without parole as an alternative.

27 October 2010 at 14:15  
Blogger Bryan D said...

Your Grace, let the king carry the sword as he was appointed to do by God.

27 October 2010 at 17:32  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Surely there are many more 'on the list' before the likes of Aziz be considered?

27 October 2010 at 19:12  
Anonymous len said...

I myself consider hanging to good for Tariq Aziz!
Hanging would only be a short stop on the way to the Lake of Fire anyway.

27 October 2010 at 20:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it will be a huge mistake if barac obama permits the assasination of aziz by an illegal court and a trial parade like that of hussein
or chemical ali

we must not forget that tariq aziz was being considered by sadam hussein as an enemy of the state and
traitor and it was sure that sadam would have killed him if the american troops didnt invade illegally and violating the international law

barac obama as a nobelist of peace will not allow this horrible and brutal act to take place

it contains the sensual erotonomicon which socked
the western societies with its violence and sexuality and the poem new york olympia

1 November 2010 at 12:08  

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