At this level the question has to be answered primarily in terms of revelation, as it comes to us through Scripture and tradition, interpreted with the guidance of the ecclesiastical magisterium.
The Catholic magisterium does not, and never has, advocated unqualified abolition of the death penalty. Whether it serves to deter others from similar crimes is a disputed question, difficult to settle. It cannot be expected to act as a Church.
In doing so, however, they have a grave obligation to apply all the principles taught by the Church to the cases before them, as taking a human life is always grave matter if done unjustly.
Augustine writes in The City of God: To answer the objection that the first commandment forbids killing, St. In many cases God is portrayed as deservedly punishing culprits with death, as happened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram Numbers Characteristic of this approach is an emphasis on the sanctity of human life, and the responsibility on both a personal and social level to protect and preserve life from " womb to tomb " conception to natural death.
Persons who specially represent the Church, such as clergy and religious, in view of their specific vocation, should abstain from pronouncing or executing the sentence of death. Peter admonishes Christians to be subject to emperors and governors, who have been sent by God to punish those who do wrong 1 Peter 2: The abolition of the death penalty in formerly Christian countries may owe more to secular humanism than to deeper penetration into the gospel.
This end may come through an act of Congress or a definitive court decision; more likely the death penalty will be abandoned and wither away through the everyday choices of prosecutors and legislators, judges and jurors, and ordinary citizens who make a commitment to respect human life in every situation.
Although Cardinal Bernardin advocated what he called a "consistent ethic of life," he made it clear that capital punishment should not be equated with the crimes of abortion, euthanasia, and suicide.
They point to examples of the release of offenders who subsequently commit horrible acts of violence. Augustine[ edit ] According to St.
But the Fathers of the Church censured spectacles of violence such as those conducted at the Roman Colosseum. Thomas Aquinas to St. In the early Church a similar situation existed. Thomas Aquinas held that sin calls for the deprivation of some good, such as, in serious cases, the good of temporal or even eternal life.
Rehabilitation Capital punishment does not reintegrate the criminal into society; rather, it cuts off any possible rehabilitation. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops in published a predominantly negative statement on capital punishment, approved by a majority vote of those present though not by the required two-thirds majority of the entire conference.
The new teaching on the inadmissibility of capital punishment poses challenges. The sentence of death, however, can and sometimes does move the condemned person to repentance and conversion. It is appropriate, I contend, when it is necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment and when it does not have disproportionate evil effects.
Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
This is a time to teach clearly, encourage reflection, and call for common action in the Catholic community to bring about an end to the use of the death penalty in our land. The first of them, dealing with miscarriages of justice, is relatively strong; the second and third, dealing with vindictiveness and with the consistent ethic of life, have some probable force.
Our family of faith must care for sisters and brothers who have been wounded by violence and support them in their loss and search for justice.The death penalty or capital punishment is the state execution of a criminal, whose crime is so grave that the death penalty proportionally redresses the disorder inflicted on society by the crime.
Capital Punishment "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
The “capital punishment” even of the innocent – and especially of the innocent – cannot be reduced to public policy. Or, it cannot be so reduced in the teaching of Holy Church. We received, at the foundation of our Church, a transcendent teaching.
Capital punishment is the right of the state. This is the principle taught by the Church. The Pope does not deny it, but neither St. Thomas or any Magisterial text presumes this gives the state an unlimited right to make capital laws and carry them out.
A principled Catholic response to crime and punishment is rooted in our convictions about good and evil, sin and redemption, justice and mercy. It is also shaped by our commitment to the life and dignity of every human person, and the common good.
Capital punishment and the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium. A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.
Among our key arguments is the argument from scripture. Capital punishment.Download