Capital punishment and catholics

By giving the impression that human beings sometimes have the right to kill, it fosters a casual attitude toward evils such as abortion, suicide, and euthanasia. Alphonsus Liguori justified the death penalty not only as a means to protect the community, but also because of its retributive character in that it restores a violated moral order.

But leading canonists and theologians assert the right of civil courts to pronounce the death penalty for very grave offenses such as murder and treason. Catholics, in seeking to form their judgment as to whether the death penalty is to be supported as a general policy, or in a given situation, should be attentive to the guidance of the pope and the bishops.

Individuals and private groups may not take it upon themselves to inflict death as a penalty.

Catholic Church and capital punishment

Many people who are strongly pro-life on issues such as abortion support the death penalty, insisting that there is no inconsistency, since the innocent and the guilty do not have the same rights.

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

Thus, in Evangelium Vitae and the Catechism the Pope concludes, Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

He rebukes his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality Luke 9: While this change may be viewed as moral progress, it is probably due, in part, to the evaporation of the sense of sin, guilt, and retributive justice, all of which are essential to biblical religion and Catholic faith.

The motive of the state is good when it follows a just law, that is, its decision is motivated by the requirements of the common good and not by motives of vengeance.

Catholicism and Capital Punishment

To subscribe to First Things call It is inherent in a just capital punishment law that there be proportion between the taking of the life of the criminal and the benefit expected to the common good.

Previous church teaching accepted the legitimacy of the death penalty primarily as a way of protecting society against violent criminals. While sociological and legal questions inevitably impinge upon any such reflection, I am here addressing the subject as a theologian.

Current Catholic teaching should be understood, as I have sought to understand it, in continuity with Scripture and tradition. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence.

For those who have been appropriately appointed, there is no sin in administering punishment. Thomas Aquinas to St. In past centuries, it is alleged, Jews and Christians failed to think through the consequences of this revealed doctrine.

But the Fathers of the Church censured spectacles of violence such as those conducted at the Roman Colosseum. This is the principle taught by the Church. He based this on I Corinthians 5, 6: The retributive goal of punishment is misconstrued as a self-assertive act of vengeance.

In light of all this it seems safe to conclude that the death penalty is not in itself a violation of the right to life. In so holding they can properly appeal to Scripture. Punishment is held to have a variety of ends that may conveniently be reduced to the following four: In addition, it is agreed that the State has authority to administer appropriate punishment to those judged guilty of crimes and that this punishment may, in serious cases, include the sentence of death.

Catholicism and Capital Punishment

But it is not really new. It has been held by sectarian Christians at least since the Middle Ages.

The Church's Anti-Death Penalty Position

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the death penalty is permissible in certain cases if the "guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined".

Defense against the criminal Capital punishment is obviously an effective way of preventing the wrongdoer from committing future crimes and protecting society from him. The prohibition "Thou shall not kill", was superseded by Exodus 22, Defense against the criminal Capital punishment is obviously an effective way of preventing the wrongdoer from committing future crimes and protecting society from him.

The graver the offense, the more severe the punishment ought to be. Rather, the Pope states that the conditions of modern society argue against it's use in all but rare cases. We have presided at the funerals of police officers killed in the line of duty and have consoled parents who have lost children.

Furthermore, capital punishment is a frequent practice to which totalitarian regimes and fanatical groups resort, for the extermination of political dissidents, minorities, and every individual labelled as "dangerous" or who might be perceived as a threat to their power or to the attainment of their objectives.

Turning to Christian tradition, we may note that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church are virtually unanimous in their support for capital punishment, even though some of them such as St. Our goal is not just to proclaim a position, but to persuade Catholics and others to join us in working to end the use of the death penalty.

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. Catholic authorities justify the right of the State to inflict capital punishment on the ground that the State does not act on its own authority but as the agent of God, who is supreme lord of life and death.

Aug 05,  · Catholics On Capital Punishment Pope Francis has declared that the death penalty is unacceptable in all circumstances.

Death Penalty

NPR's Don Gonyea speaks. The new teaching on the inadmissibility of capital punishment poses challenges. Fifty-three percent of American Catholics favor capital punishment. It will take considerable pastoral effort to explain the credible reasons for this change.

The online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church had at the end of May Capital Punishment. The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of.

The topic of capital punishment has become, in recent decades, a contentious and increasingly confusing one among Catholics. Some Catholics insist the Church has finally—and authoritatively.

Capital punishment and catholics
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