First, assume that imprisoned criminals are subhuman

October 23, 2017 § 59 Comments

Rhetocrates suggested that I make the point of my post Sodomized by a false premise more explicit.

Exercise of public authority is justified based on the common good of the community and the individual good of members of the community.  Therefore, under the traditional doctrine of the Church, resort to the death penalty by the public authority requires a twofold justification.

First, of course, the condemned must be actually guilty of a capital crime and must justly deserve death for that crime.

Second — and this is where folks tend to miss the fact that the Catechism of Trent and Evangelium Vitae assert mutually consistent theology, albeit with different emphases — it must be necessary to carry out the death penalty to protect the innocent from harm.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.

Evangelium Vitae goes on to suggest that this condition is rarely, if ever, met:

Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

This latter is manifestly a question of fact, not moral principle.  It is also manifestly false, unless we assume that prisoners themselves are not a part of “society” worthy of protection from (e.g.) decades of being sodomized and violated in countless other ways by other prisoners.

In other words to accept this as fact, as a premise leading to the conclusion that the death penalty should be fully abolished, requires us to dehumanize the prisoners in our penal system.  Yet the whole point of the abolitionist position, its whole basis with which I fully agree, is that to act justly ourselves we must avoid dehumanizing prisoners.

 

§ 59 Responses to First, assume that imprisoned criminals are subhuman

  • TomD says:

    Are there punishments worse than death?

    If there are not, then arguments for the abolition of the death penalty can proceed.

    If there are, then shouldn’t those be talked about? Is sentencing someone to a life of sodomic rape worse than death? Since some number of prisoners each year enact the death penalty on themselves (suicide) to avoid it, it seems to be a real problem.

    I guess one could argue that it’s like the deaths from cars; foreseen but not intended or something. Sounds weak to me, though, considering that it would be relatively easy to fix the problems. (Though according to my inside sources, part of the problems are how “consent” based the agreements in prison often are.)

  • ignacy says:

    I’d like to point to another counterexample to the “as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent”

    Women who procure abortion are both likely to procure another one and it is not possible to licitly assure that they will never ever be again in a position to kill her another offspring.

  • Gabe Ruth says:

    There’s also the idea that life imprisonment grants time for repentance and turning to God, whereas execution precludes that possibility. Someone else mentioned in another thread that immanent death clarifies the mind on this subject like few things can. But we also have to account for what you can expect from a prison system run by our godless society, and the most likely trajectory for a lifer. Free people have trouble not becoming mindless hedonistic zombies these days, so you’d have to have some serious spiritual fortitude to not succumb in even less ideal circumstances.

  • Zippy says:

    Gabe Ruth:

    … you’d have to have some serious spiritual fortitude to not succumb in even less ideal circumstances.

    Right — and by the nature of the case, people in prison are unlikely to have that fortitude. Prison should be an ascetic experience, perhaps an even extremely ascetic experience — as just punishment, as inducement to reform, and as deterrent.

    However one might characterize modern prisons, they are not that.

  • Mike T says:

    If Hannibal Lecter, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are on the same prison block together, it does not follow that though their sins be nearly fungible that society has no obligation to protect them from sinning against each other.

  • donnie says:

    If there are, then shouldn’t those be talked about? Is sentencing someone to a life of sodomic rape worse than death? Since some number of prisoners each year enact the death penalty on themselves (suicide) to avoid it, it seems to be a real problem.

    The problem I have with this kind of argument is that it appears to skate awfully close to arguments in favor of assisted suicide: that there are fates worse then death, and that sometimes it is the moral/merciful choice for someone to kick the bucket over themselves and for us to help them do so when they physically cannot.

  • T. Morris says:

    I knew Johnny Dale Black pretty well – we were classmates from about 5th grade on. The two of us had *numerous* physical encounters during that time. Most often related to his bullying weaker kids. He *murdered* in cold blood two people – in one case (the latter) a pillar of the community. He never showed an ounce of remorse for his murders. Not a single ounce. He was on death row in Oklahoma for about 15 years while his appeals all went through. The “case of mistaken identity” is total and absolute bulls*it! His first appeal should have been his last imho.

    http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b1/black-johnny.htm

  • TomD says:

    But there are fates worse than death; sinning is one of them, and we should rather die than sin.

    Of course, killing oneself is itself a sin, and we should die rather than kill ourselves. Gets a bit confusing, but it works out.

  • Is the argument that people who committed the most heinous crimes outside of prison would also be most likely to commit violence in prison, so it would be for their future victims’ sake that they’re being killed?

    If that’s so, then better prisons — not more cushy or whatever “better” means to most of society, but more restrictive ones that permit less prisoner interaction — would be better than more capital punishment, wouldn’t it?

  • I agree with Donnie that we need to be careful not to “kill people for their own sake”, and some of the arguments sound a bit too much like that for my liking. If we’re talking about killing people so they don’t have to suffer rape in prison as a “fate worse than death”, I’m not buying; if we’re talking about killing people so they don’t rape others in prison, I can accept that argument at least as a starting point.

  • tz says:

    Because there is an addressable problem with prison rape (and I think the point would be stronger if the capital criminal was the rapist), but that we have not yet addressed, we should proceed with the death penalty as killing is less an evil than sexual assault?
    It is also an open question if solitary confinement (much less the touchless torture – e.g. sleep deprivation Stalin used to great effect) is not worse than death.
    see http://solitarywatch.com
    But the first thing we won’t bother discussing is whether we should go back to a criminal justice system that is worried about desert
    http://www.angelfire.com/pro/lewiscs/humanitarian.html
    as well as the anti-net that only catches the little fish today.
    The Death Penalty is an interesting philosophical discussion that affects a few hundred at most that seems to be used more to avoid talking about the widespread and grave evils of the entire court-prosecution-police-prison system.
    E.g. the war on drugs fills up the coffers via civil forfeiture and fills up the private for profit prisons. But is it worth is, especially now with the opioid crisis. Or the prison rape problem where the victim is put in solitary “for protection” instead of the rapist. It is easier to virtue signal about the Death Penalty as there are examples of states with it and without it.

  • donnie says:

    If that’s so, then better prisons — not more cushy or whatever “better” means to most of society, but more restrictive ones that permit less prisoner interaction — would be better than more capital punishment, wouldn’t it?

    I think this is correct, and crucially under-emphasized. If the penal system is presently incapable of protecting society from the most heinous criminals without recourse to the death penalty, then reforming the penal system needs to be among the highest societal priorities. We can’t just resign ourselves to accepting the penal system’s manifest deficiencies and let capital punishment make up the difference.

  • Mike T says:

    If the penal system is presently incapable of protecting society from the most heinous criminals without recourse to the death penalty

    Well, how do you protect society AND the perp when the perp is guilty of raping an infant? You can’t release them to the public, you can’t release them into general lock up and a life in solitary confinement is such an insidious mental torture to any human being that it’s an assault on human dignity.

  • Mike T says:

    We can’t just resign ourselves to accepting the penal system’s manifest deficiencies and let capital punishment make up the difference.

    Right. We can’t just execute people because we’re lazy. However, there’s a reason why the DP is always a final option the state has on the table, and that’s because there will always be situations where even in the most civilized society a people that want to balance all moral obligations will find the answer is the DP in some cases.

  • buckyinky says:

    The article from The Nation that Zippy linked a few posts back presents a good demonstration of the blindspot Zippy alludes to in the title of this post.

    Throughout the article the author establishes prison rape as an ubiquitous problem throughout the incarceration system; however, near the beginning of the article, at the end of the introduction, the author presents her thesis: “Our collective meh at the bracing reality of prison rape may be partially premised on the fact that the problem seems contained; but like most severe sicknesses, it only appears that way, and not for long.

    The rest of the article presents several arguments supporting a continued tacit/taboo treatment of prison rape, and her counterargument against these arguments. All of her explicit counterarguments are that the problem will affect the free (i.e., non-incarcerated) outside in unwanted ways if it is not dealt with, never explicitly is the humanity of the prison brought up. Therefore, while the prospect of being sexually assaulted in prison is held up by society as a deterrent from committing crimes to land one there, she shows how it is not; therefore, a prisoner’s having experienced sexual assault in prison is held up by society as a means of reducing recidivism, she shows how it is not; therefore, our society’s lack of care about addressing prison rape is contributing to rape culture (though she doesn’t use that word) in society at large; etc. etc.

    At the conclusion of the article one is left with the impression that the author might be ok* with such atrocities in prison if, in fact, they could be contained within the prison walls, like a disease successfully quarantined. But they unfortunately can’t, therefore something must be done about prison rape.

    *it is very possible, likely in fact, that the author holds the humanity of the prisoner as a reason also to stop prison rape. It may be that knowing how our society views the matter, she had little hope of gaining an audience using this argument; who knows? Even if this is the case with the author, however, it remains that the humanity of the prisoner is not presented as a principle reason for putting an end to the crime of prison rape, though in a health society it ought to be so obvious that it couldn’t escape mention at the least.

  • Zippy says:

    Jake Freivald:

    Is the argument that people who committed the most heinous crimes outside of prison would also be most likely to commit violence in prison, so it would be for their future victims’ sake that they’re being killed?

    No. I am merely providing decisive evidence refuting the factual contention that modern prison systems effectively protect society from grave harm perpetrated by heinous criminals, and that the plausibility of the claim in the first place depends on dehumanizing (ignoring the existence and circumstances of) the prison population.

    I don’t claim that this is the only evidence against the factual claim, nor am I making a broad argument about what the penal system ought to be like.

  • Ian says:

    Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

    It seems that in addition to assuming that prisoners are not part of the society worth protecting, this statement is also looking at things only from the point of view of protecting society from a particular criminal who is imprisoned.

    In other words, it doesn’t seem to take into account the possible effect of deterrence the death penalty might have on would-be criminals.

    Regarding prison rape, not only that, but it’s not as though prison murders are exactly unheard of either.

  • buckyinky says:

    One more reaction to that The Nation article. The following paragraph appears in it:

    Just Detention International, a human rights organization aimed at ending sexual abuse of incarcerated people, collects testimonials from inmates. The accounts are stomach-churning. Micah from California reports residual nerve damage from a torture session involving tasers and stun guns applied to his genitals. He was also anally raped. The prison guard who raped Kimberly in Kentucky to the point of hemorrhaging told her he would hurt her children if she reported the attack, and informed her that he knew their whereabouts. In Louisiana, Rodney was sexually enslaved and prostituted by other inmates, who targeted him because he was gay. Every sickness and pathology in American life—misogyny, homophobia, a legacy of racism and slavery—is amplified in patterns of prison sexual violence.

    Is this a random cross-section of the victims of sexual assault in prison? The way it is presented in the article gives it that appearance – 1/3 of victims are women, 1/3 are “gay” and have broadcast to their fellow prisoners that they are; and 1/3 are represented by “Micah,” an otherwise boring, unidentifiable person (oh, probably he’s male, but whatever). The important thing is that sexual assault in prisons suggests the same problems of “sexism,” “misogyny,” “homophobia” that we experience in non-incarcerated society. Prisons are a microcosm of what we all face outside of prison, so let’s do something about it!

  • Mike T says:

    T. Morris’s example is a good one about why I just cannot get too bothered from a mercy PoV about the death penalty. Men like that just don’t usually wake up and smell the coffee without a date with the gallows. They’re 10x more likely to get really thoughtful about the future with eternity staring at them tomorrow than 50 years from now because as a general rule, if they planned beyond today they wouldn’t have done what they did in the first place.

  • Zippy says:

    buckyinky:

    Yes, that article is a good example of “right for all the wrong reasons”. I selected a leftist source for factual support deliberately though, for editorial reasons.

  • buckyinky says:

    Zippy:

    Yes, I understood that, and I hope my comments aren’t detracting from the editorial effect you were hoping for.

  • TomD says:

    Arguably, since prisoners are directly under the authority of the State, the State has much more responsibility to protect them, especially since the tools they have to protect themselves have been (perhaps justly) removed.

  • Hrodgar says:

    That’s actually a really good point. We do know that authority is conserved, after all.

  • Mike T says:

    A lot of the prisoners in maximum security prisons are probably in the realm of prisoners who cannot be trusted to not hurt each other or the less dangerous inmates which makes executing them the most humane and just option. There are also prisoners like many child sex offenders who also cannot ever be released into general lock up due to the probability that someone will murder them.

  • T. Morris says:

    Mike T:

    They’re 10x more likely to get really thoughtful about the future with eternity staring at them tomorrow than 50 years from now because as a general rule, if they planned beyond today they wouldn’t have done what they did in the first place.

    Obviously I cannot say with any real certainty what was going through Johnny Black’s mind during the 15 years he was a death row inmate, but I do know his family and know from contact with them during that time that a lot of excuses were made for his murderous actions during that time. Indeed, in their view his mere incarceration for simply ‘protecting his brothers’ was a huge miscarriage of justice. Had he been handed a lighter sentence and gotten out of prison again he would *very likely* have murdered again, once again finding a multitude of ways to justify his actions. This is just who Johnny Dale Black was. It is who his family is. Avid churchgoers that some of them are.

    With that little background given, I tend to agree with Mike T. in that had Johnny Black faced the proverbial ‘firing squad’ shortly following his murder conviction, he himself, as well as a few of his family members, would have been a whole lot more likely to have had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment. As it was, his/their sense of injustice, anger, resentment and so on just continued to fester, and all the while they really believed his sentence would be commuted and his life spared. …

  • Hrodgar says:

    I wonder how much of the problem with in-prison crimes couldn’t be solved by bringing back nonlethal corporal punishment, like flogging and the stocks and so on. Suppose that for some crimes, instead of N years you got X lashes in the public square (or televised equivalent)?

  • TomD says:

    I have some knowledge of at least one maximum security prison; the worst inmates were the ones there for only a short time (either transferred from lesser prisons for disruption or other reasons) and who would be out in time.

    The lifers usually just wanted to get on with their day-to-day life (and would often help the guards/other prisoners).

  • Chad says:

    I find it interesting that no one in these discussions brings up sentences other than time in prison. Until recently in human history, physical punishment such as whipping and hard labor have always had a place in the penal systen as something a corporeal punishment that can either be immediate and over or long-term. Each displays to both the society and the perpetrator what the gravity of the offense is as well as seeking justice.

  • Patrick says:

    “Right — and by the nature of the case, people in prison are unlikely to have that fortitude. Prison should be an ascetic experience, perhaps an even extremely ascetic experience — as just punishment, as inducement to reform, and as deterrent.”

    That could make a good novel, a country where the prisons are run by the Church like monasteries, with schedules run according to the liturgical calender and liturgy of the hours.

  • TomD says:

    Penal monasteries existed at a time (and may still exist today) – St Peter Damian refers to them in his work.

  • T. Morris says:

    Hrodgar:

    That’s kind of a funny story, but I don’t understand why the police so quickly and happily obliged the escapee, granting his desire to go back to prison. Seems like an opportunity was missed to teach him a good hard lesson about why crime doesn’t pay. Send him back to the Monastery and add time to his sentence anytime he escapes or tries to escape in the future. Seems reasonable enough to me.

  • Mike T says:

    For a lot of grievous felonies, offering them a choice between serving a fraction of their time with the monks or life in prison would probably cut the rate of recidivism to unheard of levels.

  • Mike T says:

    T Morris,

    I also like the idea of a “Peace Corps for felons” kind of deal. If Johnny Dale had the prospect of serving 3 years clearing minefields in Afghanistan with a metal detector and a trowel for his first questionable homicide, I’d bet good money he’d have learned his lesson.

  • Urban II says:

    How does this square with this part of CCC:

    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…

    If the main purpose is redress and the punishment should be proportional to the crime it would appear that “defending society” is not the main function of punishment – justice is. Thus how could it be the case that capital punishment is only necessary to “defend society” when redress requires it?

  • Zippy says:

    Urban II:

    … it would appear that “defending society” is not the main function of punishment – justice is.

    You may be collapsing the proximate justification of a particular punishment and the source of the sovereign’s authority to execute into a single thing, much like moderns tend to collapse all kinds of causality into efficient causes. According to the Catechism of Trent, the justification of sovereign authority to execute arises ultimately from the imperative to preserve and secure human life, to wit:

    Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. … The end of the [fifth] Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence.

    So I don’t think we can reductionistically turn execution by the public authority into a simple matter of just desert on the part of the condemned. If that sort of reductionism were legitimate then anyone could licitly execute someone who deserved it simply on the basis that he deserves it, and executing him redresses the wrong he did.

  • Urban II says:

    Zippy:

    I’m attempting to formulate this in my own words and for my own understanding. After rereading the OP, I think it may be more clear to me. Justice is a necessary, but not sufficient reason for capital punishment. As you stated “resort to the death penalty by the public authority requires a twofold justification”. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that one deserves death only if he commited the crime and it is necessary to protect the innocent? In other words it would be unjust to execute a criminal who poses zero threat to the innocent?

    Also I’m not sure what I’m missing with this point: If that sort of reductionism were legitimate then anyone could licitly execute someone who deserved it simply on the basis that he deserves it…

    How does adding defense of the innocent bypass this objection? Couldn’t anyone licitly execute someone simply on the basis that it protects the innocent? I’m thinking the fact someone deserves death does not mean that any individual has authority to carry out the punishment. Wouldn’t that be in the hands of proper public authority?

    Thanks for the response. I’m trying to wrap my head around this whole issue.

  • Mike T says:

    So I don’t think we can reductionistically turn execution by the public authority into a simple matter of just desert on the part of the condemned. If that sort of reductionism were legitimate then anyone could licitly execute someone who deserved it simply on the basis that he deserves it, and executing him redresses the wrong he did.

    Stipulating that point for the sake of argument (I just don’t know where I stand on the matter), it seems pretty obvious that most murderers are in a class of men who are a sufficient potential future threat if given the opportunity and reason to hurt someone that they’ll do it again. Really, the only class of unrepentant murderer who would probably be unlikely to kill again would be someone like a father who murdered the man who raped his child or wife. That would be one of those cases that while the action is clearly wrong, it is also pretty likely the person chose to act out of character. Most murderers are acting at least somewhat in character when they commit their crimes, and that makes them a threat to others (including other murderers) if left in prison.

    As I said above, even if we put several serial killers in the same cell block we have a duty to protect them from each other, protect them from the general population and vice versa. In most cases, the neon signs are pointing to the death penalty as the only safe way of carrying out these goals.

    One could also add that given what has been observed about child sex offenders, particularly ones that prey on the youngest victims, and how often they are repeat offenders, the death penalty is warranted there as a general solution.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Most murderers are acting at least somewhat in character when they commit their crimes, and that makes them a threat to others (including other murderers) if left in prison.

    It doesn’t even have to be “most” for the factual premise on which the abolitionist case rests to be false. Any at all will do.

    As a practical matter I think the DP should be extremely rare, for a number of reasons. But this particular argument for abolition rests on a false premise.

  • T. Morris says:

    Zippy:

    It doesn’t even have to be “most” for the factual premise on which the abolitionist case rests to be false. Any at all will do.

    Precisely!

    One of my personal pet peeves concerning the abolitionist movement regarding the DP (seems like most all abolitionist movements tend to go completely off the rails, no?) is the notion that special pleading (to save the life of the condemned) from the victim’s family members ought to have some great sway. It doesn’t matter what they think; the idea is to protect the *whole* of society against such monsters.

  • TomD says:

    The problem is going to get worse before it gets better, though I suspect that a man who thinks he’s a woman raping female inmates at a women’s prison would be dealt with quite harshly today.

  • Mike T says:

    FWIW, I don’t really agree that justice alone is insufficient in every case. I think there are categories of crime where justice alone is sufficient, such as the sort of treason that Aldrich Aimes committed. Even if Aimes became a devout, 100% repentant Christian, such a wanton betrayal of his peers, the assets that trusted their lives and families to his peers and his country for money is the sort of violent crime that demands the shedding of blood.

  • Mike T says:

    It’s been a while since I looked at the case, but I think at least 20 case officers were murdered because of him and the CIA still doesn’t know how many assets and their families were murdered because of his love of money. We show men like that mercy by not quartering them, burning them at the stake or crucify them along the Potomac.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I don’t really agree that justice alone is insufficient in every case.

    The person who condemns and executes him must have the authority to do so. Even if you believe that everyone always possesses the authority to condemn and execute heinous criminals (which I don’t), that authority is the “something more” which is necessary in addition to the condemned’s guilt.

    So “sola guilt” is not really sufficient even on its own terms.

  • TomD says:

    One who oversteps his bounds and goes against authority may do what the authority would have done; but the overstepping is still grave matter.

  • Zippy says:

    Urban II:

    I’m thinking the fact someone deserves death does not mean that any individual has authority to carry out the punishment. Wouldn’t that be in the hands of proper public authority?

    Yes; and so the second justification arises from the nature and source of that authority.

    Remember that executing is an act. The executioner performs that act upon the condemned, after the magistrate has pronounced sentence.

    What is at issue is the justice of the executioner’s act and the magistrate’s act. That the condemned deserves execution is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the acts of the persons who condemn and kill him to be just.

  • Ian says:

    By the way, I’ve often seen as a definition of murder something like: “the deliberate killing of an innocent person”.

    Is this definition correct? If it is, what about the deliberate killing of a guilty person when you don’t have the authority to kill him?

    Is this not also murder? Or is it technically some other sin? (Vigilantism?)

  • TomD says:

    Innocent can mean various things – a baby is always innocent, but others can be “relatively” innocent , if you will, innocent in relation to the killer. So self-defense can be argued as not killing the innocent, but vigilantism would be (even if the guy is guilty, the killer is killing someone “innocent” in relation to his authority).

    Or we get to the “all have sinned against God and that’s most deserving of death” which makes murder only possible against Christ and Mary.

  • Zippy says:

    Ian:

    People take “innocent” to mean some sort of moral, existential, spiritual innocence. But that isn’t what it means.

    Contrast innocent not to guilty, but to belligerent.

    A belligerent is a person who is choosing or has chosen attacking behaviors. Everyone has legitimate authority to defend themselves from any belligerent — to defend against attacking behaviors using proportionate force.

    However, carrying out just punishment requires the subject who is being punished to be actually subject to the authority doing the punishing.

  • Zippy says:

    TomD:

    even if the guy is guilty, the killer is killing someone “innocent” in relation to his authority

    Yes exactly.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I think there was a misinterpretation on my end, as I did not mean to imply I was justifying vigilantism. Rather, I was thinking that no, an authority is not always limited to the death penalty as a very last resort in some sort of “this is the ONLY way to prevent this guy from hurting others.” Rather, there are crimes where the crime itself is entirely sufficient for an authority to order a man to be hung, even if he suddenly finds Jesus in a profound way right after the trial.

  • Mike T says:

    I would also imagine that there are things on the dark web that, while not murderous, are so vile in their assault on human dignity that even IB would pull the switch on the electric chair without the slightest eff to give about the person in the chair.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    One might even say that suddenly finding Jesus in a profound way right after the trial (or, more accurately, right before the execution, though in a healthy society the latter should follow the former closely, not wait around for twenty-five years) is one of the benefits of execution as a method of punishment.

    Though not, before anyone jumps there, anything like a sufficient reason for it. Killing people right after confession so they don’t sin again is one of those calumnies that was falsely launched at various Inquisitions.

  • Ian says:

    Tom D. and Zippy,

    Thanks, that helps clarify things.

  • TomD says:

    There have been cases in the middle ages of prisoners finding Jesus on the way to the scaffold, confessing, and gladly continuing, as they want to pay for their crimes.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    That being the primary sign that they’re serious. “I’m converted, now let me off the hook for what I did, please,” is a little suspicious, as a practical matter.

  • donnie says:

    There have been cases in the middle ages of prisoners finding Jesus on the way to the scaffold, confessing, and gladly continuing, as they want to pay for their crimes.

    Not just the middle ages

  • donnie says:

    That being the primary sign that they’re serious. “I’m converted, now let me off the hook for what I did, please,” is a little suspicious, as a practical matter.

    Well, as far as concerns my last comment:

    When Baldwin showed his unease at this incredible truth, the priest told him that his great-uncle’s personal interpretation of the Purgatory Höss would have to suffer before entering heaven, would be to have to face all his victims individually and convince them of his remorse.

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