Vatican II’s Dignity of Human Person, Death Penalty, and Sister Helen Prejean

“Heinous Crimes Deserve Death Penalty” – Sister Helen Prejean

  • We’re not taking her words and twisting them.  She really did say this . . .

We found a VIDEO of a 2011 interview of death penalty abolitionist and activist Sister Helen Prejean.

HOST:  “In your view could there ever be any crimes that are so heinous enough to deserve death?”

PREJEAN:  “Maybe there are crimes that are deserving of deathBut the big moral question we have is who deserves to kill the person who did the crime?”

SAY WHAT?  Read our partial transcript below the video . . .which we watched only the first seven minutes of.

SISTER HELEN on the Dignity of the Human Person. 

(Editor’s note:  this Catholic teaching did not exist before Vatican II.*)

SUMMARY:  During the interview, she name-drops Pope JPII – her dialogue with him about the dignity of the human person.  She says a death row inmate in chains is not dignity.  And neither is the death penalty.

PREJEAN:   “The heart of the moral question, and this is in the dialogue I had with Pope John Paul about my Catholic faith and its stance on the death penalty – is that when I’m walking with an individual – granted who’s guilty of a horrible crime that I am abhorred by and he’s chained hand and foot — and he says to me, “Sister pray that I hold up my legs as I make the walk.”  I said to the Holy Father, does the Church only uphold the dignity of innocent life?  He’s not innocent!  But then he’s rendered defenseless, and he’s strapped down, and he’s killed after he’s waited 30 days, counting off the days, or maybe a last minute stay.

“This is not dignity of human life.  That’s why essentially the Death Penalty is wrong.  It’s against human rights and it’s against the dignity of the person.”

end transcript provided by FIDELITY and ACTION



Vatican II’s doctrine on the dignity of the human person has been deemed problematic by many traditional Catholics.  Among those who have written about those problems are Archbishop Lefebvre and Michael Davies.


What is dignity? According to Catholic tradition, man derives dignity from his perfection, i.e, from his knowledge of the truth and his acquisition of the good.  Man is worthy of respect in accordance with his intention to obey God, not in accordance with his errors, which will inevitably lead to sin. When Eve the first sinner succumbed, she said, “The serpent deceived me.” Her sin and that of Adam led to the downfall of human dignity, from which we have suffered ever since.  Source:  ‘Open Letter To Confused Catholics.’


The title of the Declaration itself, “The Dignity of the Human Person,” epitomizes the man-centered ethos of the Declaration. It is no longer the rights of Christ the King which must take priority but the so called rights of contemporary man, rights which he ascribes to himself in virtue of what is said to be his developing consciousness of his own dignity. In an address to the last Council meeting, on the very day of the promulgation of the Declaration, Pope Paul VI remarked:

  • One must realize that this Council, which exposed itself to human judgement, insisted very much more upon this pleasant side of man, rather than his unpleasant one.  Its attitude was very much and deliberately optimistic.  A wave of affection and admiration flowed from the Council over the modern world of humanity.  Errors were condemned, indeed, because charity demanded this no less than did truth, but for the persons themselves there was only warning, respect, and love.  Instead of depressing diagnoses, encouraging remedies; instead of direful prognostics, messages of trust issued from the Council to the present-day world.  The modern world’s values were not only respected but honoured, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed.

Source:  ‘Reign of Christ The King


Homosexuality Talk at World Youth Day 2013 – Video

Video posted online by gay rights activist coalition known as Equally Blessed.

Location:  inside a Catholic Church in Brazil . . . a sacred place.

July 23, 2013 Catechism Session led by Australian Bishop

A young lesbian named Ellen, with green hair, stood up and asked this question:

[I am here] “with a group of gay lesbian transgender and bi-sexual people who really are here because we love our church and we are part of our church.  But I feel such a contradiction between being marginalized and being told to minister to the marginalized.”


Australian Bishop D. Eugene Hurley’s partial response:

“ONE OF THE things I’ll say straight up is, as you know, God does not make mistakes.

“We’re beginning to make out ‘what does it mean to love?’  And I want to say to you that you’ve got an enormous contribution to make, Ellen, as we understand the phenomenon of homosexuality and sexuality in general.”

He continues . . .

“In recent times, I talked with a young (gay) man who said to me, ‘I crawl around in a man’s toilet, having sex with men I’ve never met:  do you think I’d choose that? I’d have been in love with a heterosexual and I’m not.  So where does the church mention me?'”

The bishop addresses Ellen – “I urge you, if you would, to talk compassionately and transparently and urgently to the leadership of the church where you are; so that we might have a better understanding of God’s plan for the Church — and all of us — how we work together to find holiness in the reality of our sexuality.”


Transcribed by FIDELITY and ACTION off the video.

  • The transcription of Bishop Hurley’s interview afterward is available online at VATICAN RADIO.

    bishop hurley australia
    Bishop Hurley

ABOUT EQUALLY BLESSED . . . from their website

Equally Blessed is a coalition of four Catholic organizations that have spent more than 120 years working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families.

Collectively and individually, Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry are devoted to informing, supporting and giving voice to the growing majority within the Catholic Church in the United States that favors equality under law for LGBT people.


“A Church for Gay People” – Catholic News Agency

Excommunicated US priest laicized for public dissent on ordination of women

Excommunicated US priest laicized for public dissent on ordination of women |

MARYKNOLL, NY, November 21, 2012 ( – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood because of his public dissent from the Catholic Church’s teaching on the ordination of women. Bourgeois’ dismissal was announced by the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, in a Nov. 19 statement.


Roy Bougeois continues to speak at Catholic dissenter conferences.