Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: C.S. Lewis on Punishment
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1885  Thursday, 12 September 2002

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Sep 2002 11:53:29 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1879 Re: C.S. Lewis on Punishment

[2]     From:   L. Swilley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 13:25:16 -0500
        Subj:   More on C.S. Lewis on Punishment


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 11 Sep 2002 11:53:29 -0400
Subject: 13.1879 Re: C.S. Lewis on Punishment
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1879 Re: C.S. Lewis on Punishment

>[2]     From:   D. Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

>1 -- I am puzzled as to the meaning of the phrase, "the terms of the
>sacrament of Confession." Is he (or she) referring to that sacrament as
>practiced in the Church of England? If so, could these terms be cited
>for us -- perhaps in both their modern form (relating to CSL) and their
>Elizabethan form (WS)?

 From the death of Mary I, at least through Lewis's life, there was no
such sacrament recognized by the Church of England, although, starting
in the 19th century, some Anglicans practiced it privately.  Official
notice was taken of it in the Episcopal Church in the USA only in the
70's, and if it has been introduced in the Church of England (I don't
know whether it has or not) it has been since then.  Lewis did, in fact,
have a confessor, but, as he died in 1963, it was never in any
officially recognized form.

>What could he possibly do except to "give [him]self up to the
>police and be hanged"?

Strictly speaking, of course, Lewis is being obviously rhetorical here.
In logic, all the penitent murderer can do is give himself up to the
police; the hanging is out of his hands.

From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

>John Kennedy quotes,
>
>"It is lawful for Christian men at the commandment of the
>       Magistrate to wear weapons and serve in the wars."
>                -- 39 Articles, Article 37, "Of the Civil Magistrates"
>
>and comments,
>
>"...so pacifists are, at least as far as the Church of England is
>concerned, heretical."
>
>This is far too strong. The Article does not say that it is unlawful to
>refuse to bear arms. What it says is that it is unlawful to refuse to
>obey the higher powers. The issue is not bearing arms, but "lawfulness",
>that is, socio-political obedience and responsibility.

No; that is most assuredly not the meaning of the word "lawful" in this
context.  I see I must cite the entire article.

   Article XXXVII
   Of the Civil Magistrates

   The Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England and
   other her dominions, unto whom the chief government of all estates of
   this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes
doth
   appertain, and is not nor ought to be subject to any foreign
   jurisdiction.

   Where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by
which
   titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be
offended,
   we give not to our princes the ministering either of God's word or of
   sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by
   Elizabeth our Queen doth most plainly testify: but only that
prerogative
   which we see to have been given always to all godly princes in Holy
   Scriptures by God himself, that is, that they should rule all estates
   and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be
temporal,
   and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.

   The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.

   The laws of the realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous
   and grievous offences.

   It is lawful for Christian men at the commandment of the Magistrate
   to wear weapons and serve in the wars.

Now, if you want to argue about legalistic definitions of the term
"heresy", that's your privilege.  But the plain sense here is a flat
denial of the proposition that Christianity, as such, demands pacifism
of its adherents.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 13:25:16 -0500
Subject:        More on C.S. Lewis on Punishment

John Kennedy writes,

>Lewis (who, to begin with, was not a Roman Catholic) does not, in fact,
>say "required".

 [No, he doesn't; but he says self-submission to the police is the
"right thing to do." My point is that it is neither right nor required,
a point recognized by the law itself, for one does not commit a further
crime for his having failed to turn himself in. Getting right with God
(one's conscience) is a private matter, submitting oneself to the law a
public one; the two are not co-extensive. That we meld these two is
confusing and dangerous. ]

==========================================

D. Bloom write,

>1 -- I am puzzled as to the meaning of the phrase, "the terms of the
>sacrament of Confession." Is he (or she) referring to that sacrament as
>practiced in the Church of England? If so, could these terms be cited
>for us -- perhaps in both their modern form (relating to CSL) and their
>Elizabethan form (WS)?

[For all Christian churches that practice Confession as a sacrament,
they understand that every sacrament was instituted by Christ to give
grace of one kind or another to the recipient. It is personal and
private between the person and God.  He who satisfies the terms of the
sacrament, receives that grace.  In the case of the sacrament of
Confession, the recipient who is sorry for his sins, offenses against
his conscience and his God, receives the grace of absolution of them;
the penitent's promise to avoid sin thereafter includes his willingness
to make restitution to the individual or individuals harmed and (I
believe) to surrender in private those goods and privileges that he has
received through his sin or sins.  I am *sure* this is so in the case of
a person who has attempted marriage with the wife or husband of someone
, he or she has murdered; the marriage is, by that very fact, illicit
and invalid and can never exist. (Claudius touches on this in his
soliloquy).  Restitution to the family of the slain or otherwise harmed
is also required - to the degree that it is possible, and possible
without endangering one's liberty. (The very old system of *weregild*
was a form of this, wasn't it?  Although that was a public, legal
arrangement, where the terms of private penance coincided with the
correction made through  public law.) .

>2 -- I am not persuaded that by saying "the right Christian thing to do"
>CSL meant "the thing required by the terms etc." Presumably the latter
>is an example of the former, but the former may exist without being
>explicitly referred to in the latter.

[The very association of "Christian" with the idea of submission to the
public police is the telling error.]

>3 -- It strikes me that "private, secret restitution" is often
>impossible, and not just in the case of murder or other violent crimes
>(such as rape or torture) where you can never restore what has been
>taken or damaged. Suppose you are the CEO of a large corporation who
>mishandles billions of dollars entrusted to you by your employees (much
>of their life savings, in fact), squanders it on worthless investments
>while paying yourself an exorbitant and wholly unjustifiable salary.
>What is "the right Christian thing" for such a man to do? (And what are
>the odds that he'll do it? )

[His getting right with his conscience (his "resident" Image of God)
requires it, to the degree that it is possible. The Law may allow him to
escape public punishment and make off with millions; his conscience
should not - although, of course, it may, in which case we judge that he
is rather seriously defective morally. Here is a perfect example of the
distinction that occurs between Law and Morality - and our common acute
consciousness of that distinction, a distinction we otherwise so often
ignore. ]

>I am always reminded of Claudius on his knees, wanting to pray and
>failing. It is one of my definitive examples of the difference between
>remorse and repentance, between the ugly, disgusted feeling you get
>about yourself when some crime or sin or sneaky trick has come back to
>haunt you, and the need to expunge the sin by dealing with it head-on.
>Claudius is a cold-blooded murderer.  That fact cannot be undone by
>"private, secret restitution." It cannot be undone by specious praying.
>He knows it and tells us so. What is the "right Christian thing" for him
>to do? What could he possibly do except to "give [him]self up to the
>police and be hanged"?

[Claudius tells us clearly the terms for his forgiveness, terms he
cannot manage: the surrender of his crown and his queen. Unable to give
these up, he accepts his evil condition and notes that "my words fly up,
my thoughts remain below."  What could he do to set matters as straight
as possible without endangering his liberty? He could abdicate and have
no further congress with his wife, probably enter a monastery. He need
never tell anyone why, never make public his sin, his crime.  That he is
very unlikely to do this is nothing to the point of its availability.]

         [L. Swilley]

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.