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August 27, 2015 Caitlin Rother Comments
The claim that the traditional Catholic teaching regarding the death penalty may be superceded is in part a function of the assessment of what constitutes ordinary magisterium. But on this point, it is very difficult to find an account of the death penalty as not being ordinary magisterium that would not largely evacuate the ordinary magisterium of its content. The unanimous teaching of the Fathers—despite their Christian aversion to judgments of blood—that the penalty may be just, itself ought be sufficient (given the teaching of Trent) to indicate that this is not possible. The Church has never accepted that it is a properly papal power to abrogate ordinary magisterium, any more than it is a marital power to contracept or abort. On a grave moral matter, for two millennia, the Church has not only taught that the penalty may be just in some cases, it has also–in the Papal states–under direct papal authority applied the penalty, and approved many catechisms articulating this teaching, a teaching also articulated in various papal statements. Moreover, the middle term of the claim of development–human dignity–is the very reason that Scripture and the tradition take as justifying the penalty. I.e., 1)the unjust violation of the dignity of the person in murder merits the gravest penalty, and where consistent with the medicinal requirements of the common good such violation may justify the application of the penalty as expressing the moral judgment that some crimes clearly merit death; 2)the human person being created in the image of God, is such that just application of this penalty does not of necessity prevent the person from achieving his final end, if suffered with contrition and in expiation of sin; 3)it is the dignity of the human person that calls for punishment for crime as such–we do not tend to have trials assessing the knowledge and culpability of beasts when they kill human beings. Genesis 9:6 does not say that because man is created in the image of God the death penalty is not permitted, but indicates that it is the very dignity of the rational creature that founds the rationale for the death penalty when that dignity is criminally violated. There is a sense in which the death penalty is “per se contrary to the Gospel”–but not in the sense of injustice or absolute contrariness to human dignity. That sense is that both in the beginning, and in the beatific vision, death has no place. The eschatological witness of the Church in teaching that death has been swallowed up in victory is essential. But simply speaking, given the reality of the Fall and of horrifically evil action, the Church has taught for two millennia that killing—in the death penalty, in war, and in defense—may be just. It simply is not clear how a Roman Catholic can be obligated on these matters to become a Waldensian or Mennonite. On a lower but still important level of discourse, such a judgment would also seem to deny philosophically certain judgments regarding the transcendence of the common good, and its superiority over private good in any genus. When Christ was told by the “good thief”—whose crime may very well have been something like looting and murdering—that while Christ did not merit the death penalty, he himself did, Christ did not instruct him to the contrary. Rather, it was He who moved him to that contrition and desire for eternal life so as to open for him the portal to Heaven.
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We need to continue to do the things that will control crime by making the apprehension and punishment of criminals more effective and more precise. We need adequate police and prisons and alternatives to incarceration. We should also have a tough, effective punishment for deliberate murder. There is a punishment that is much better than the death penalty: one that juries will not be reluctant to impose; one that is so menacing to a potential killer, that it could actually deter; one that does not require us to be infallible so as to avoid taking an innocent life; and one that does not require us to stoop to the level of the killers.
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Because the death penalty was so popular during the time I served as governor, I was often asked why I spoke out so forcefully against it although the voters very much favored it. I tried to explain that I pushed this issue into the center of public dialogue because I believed the stakes went far beyond the death penalty itself. Capital punishment raises important questions about how, as a society, we view human beings. I believed as governor, and I still believe, that the practice and support for capital punishment is corrosive; that it is bad for a democratic citizenry and that it had to be objected to and so I did then, and I do now and will continue to for as long as it and I exist, because I believe we should be better than what we are in our weakest moments.
10 Quotes in Support of Capital Punishment | ListDom
When discussing Church teaching on the death penalty, two questions have to be carefully distinguished. First, is capital punishment legitimate at least in , or is it always and intrinsically wrong? Second, even if capital punishment is legitimate in principle, does Catholic teaching allow for it in today, and if so, under what conditions? In this article, I will be addressing only the first question. What I will show is that it has been taught by the ordinary magisterium of the Church that the death penalty is not intrinsically wrong. Not even a pope can reverse this teaching.
Forced Adoption – Punishment without crime
I understand that. I have felt the anger myself, more than once. Like too many other citizens, I know what it is to be violated and even to have one's closest family violated through despicable criminal behavior. Even today, I tremble at the thought of how I might react to a killer who took the life of someone in my own family. I know that I might not be able to suppress my anger or put down a desire for revenge, but I also know this society should strive for something better than what it feels at its weakest moments.
LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF Ian Josephs M.A
In 1912, the was issued by Pope St. Pius X. In its discussion of the scriptural commandment against murder, this catechism teaches that “it is lawful to kill… when carrying out by order of the Supreme Authority a sentence of death in punishment of a crime.” Note that the catechism thereby rejects the suggestion that capital punishment is incompatible with a consistent application of the Fifth Commandment. And, as a catechism, it presents this teaching as practical guidance , and not merely as speculation about what might be theoretically possible under natural law.