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The Teaching of Tradition that support the Council of Trent interpretation on death penalty cited the reflections or teaching of St.Thomas Aquinas and St.Augustine;

"They will never be beasts, but they can behave like beasts. "And if they behave like beasts, their dignity will suffer loss", while their personhood remains. Therefore we destroy the body, and leave the soul in God's hands, it is an appeal to the Highest Court. There is a difference between the dignity we have being made in God's image and the dignity of our bodies which are NOT made in God's image, and akaCatholic underlines it." –( St. Thomas Aquinas himself and St. Augustine himself. ; quoted from comment of other user))

From above teachings, I found a lot of reflections not yet certain or are open for better understanding like;

  1. They will never be beasts, but they can behave like beasts. (Is an admission of conditional behavior).

  2. "And if they behave like beasts, their dignity will suffer loss", while their personhood remains. (the words "will suffer loss" again is not certain and will have difficulty to guarantee that a soul really has lost its dignity in the absence of human faculties as we are commanded not to judge in Matthew7:1).

  3. Therefore we destroy the body, and leave the soul in God's hands, it is an appeal to the Highest Court. (the wordings can be clearly seen "as an appeal a prayer only subject to the Wisdom & Providence of God", so they are recognizing that Tradition does not have a Final Say on ending one's life).

But, the most troubling one is the teaching separating the dignity of man soul to the dignity of the his body.

"There is a difference between the dignity we have being made in God's image and the dignity of our bodies which are NOT made in God's image,"

This particular phrase on Tradition seems emphasizing the physical body is not made in God's image only the soul.

My understanding is the soul animates our body and while it is our soul that will be judge in the end by God,the Church teaches the resurrection of our bodies.So, our judged soul will be reunited to our resurrected bodies.

My question, what is the scriptural basis of the teaching that the dignity of the soul is separate from his body?

I'm looking for Catholic Church Teaching that will expound and put clarity on the issue of the inherent dignity of man (body & soul), which the Council of Trent said "will suffer loss" that is put now to better understanding under Pope Francis "that man's dignity is not lost even after committing a very serious crimes."

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    Man is a body+soul composite; thus, "dignity of man" must apply to the body+soul composite. – Geremia Aug 11 '18 at 0:27
  • thanks, hope you post an expounded answer for clarity on Tradition, based on quoted above, as it appears to me Tradition is willing to sacrifice the death of the physical body and leave separated soul judgement on God. But these poor souls need his physical body to redeemed himself and come to knowledge of Truth.So, a good answer will clarifies the confusions. – marian agustin Aug 11 '18 at 0:30
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This is only speculation, but they may have been drawing their ideas from Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 5, when he was addressing the issue of a serious sin among the congregation that was being glossed over:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Apparently there is debate on the precise meaning (or, for that matter, the proper translation) of the Greek that here appears as "destruction of the flesh." The 2011 NIV supplies these notes on the text:

a. 1 Corinthians 5:5 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.

b. 1 Corinthians 5:5 Or of his body

Regardless of that question, in v.5 Paul is clearly drawing a line between "the flesh" and "the spirit" -- and just as plainly declaring that it's "the spirit" which is of paramount importance, so much so that "the flesh" may, and even should, be "destroyed" if need be to save the spirit. In this regard his priorities were in line with Jesus' words from Matthew 5:

29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Looking to a modern RC commentary on the 1 Corinthians 5 passage, the current interpretation looks to be a command of excommunication merely, and not the inflicting of any kind of physical punishment. This still makes sense, in that by ejecting this young man from the protection of the church (spiritual as well as physical), he would be exposed to both human and demonic threats.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians/5

Deliver this man to Satan: once the sinner is expelled from the church, the sphere of Jesus’ lordship and victory over sin, he will be in the region outside over which Satan is still master. For the destruction of his flesh: the purpose of the penalty is medicinal: through affliction, sin’s grip over him may be destroyed and the path to repentance and reunion laid open. With Paul’s instructions for an excommunication ceremony here, contrast his recommendations for the reconciliation of a sinner in 2 Cor 2:5–11.

But in ancient times, the standards and interpretations may have differed. It'll need someone with a deeper knowledge of church history and tradition to respond on that point.

  • Sorry, I don't see how your answer addressed the question, it looks pointing to excommunication as you said, meaning the subject is the behavior of a member in the Church who does not heed to discipline. – marian agustin Aug 11 '18 at 20:31
  • "My question, what is the scriptural basis of the teaching that the dignity of the soul is separate from his body?" My (speculative) answer is the 1 Corinthians 5 passage. However (as the balance of my answer notes), the ancient interpretation and the modern interpretation of this passage may diverge. – JDM-GBG Aug 11 '18 at 20:35
  • @marianagustin, of course, no matter how you interpret it -- and whether or not my speculation is correct -- Paul's words do indicate a sentiment that "the flesh" is something that may, or should be, destroyed if needed for the sake of a person's eternal soul. In this respect he was in line with Our Lord's words from Matthew 5:29-30. (i.e. gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand, rather than risking eternal damnation). – JDM-GBG Aug 11 '18 at 20:46
  • Include that in your answer Matthew5:29-30, that is not a literal arm or eyes it's a metaphor.But, your reasoning seems have a good connection now.If you want to amend your answer much better. – marian agustin Aug 11 '18 at 21:00
  • @marianagustin, gladly done. – JDM-GBG Aug 11 '18 at 21:07

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