California bishops back initiative to abolish death penalty


#1

The California Catholic bishops announced their support last week for Proposition 62, a voter initiative on the November ballot that would repeal the death penalty.

The bishops timed their statement to coincide with the launch of the Yes on 62 campaign that took place at a Los Angeles news conference. Speakers there included former death penalty advocates, victims’ families, law enforcement officials, faith leaders and wrongfully convicted former death-row prisoners.

“During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we, the Catholic bishops of California, support Proposition 62 which would end the use of the death penalty in California,” the bishops said in their statement.

catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/18/california-bishops-back-initiative-to-abolish-death-penalty/


#2

Mother Mary, Queen of Heaven, please pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will bless this effort if it is in keeping with his Divine will.


#3

I support this. The death penalty is not very Christian. We should rehabilitate prisoners. I will be voting in favor of Proposition 62.


#4

:thumbsup: God bless! :slight_smile:


#5

Disappointing that if “capital punishment” had been replaced with “abortion” there would have been multiple pages of support for this pro-life anti culture of death stance taken by these Bishops.

Seems even within our own faith community, to many, pro-life really only means pro-birth.


#6

Voters must, of course, vote in accordance with their own consciences, but for those of you who will be voting for the initiative, what are you planning to do to support the families of those innocent people who will be killed by the murderers who otherwise would have been executed?


#7

I am planning to vote in favor of rehabilitation and repentance.


#8

I note that you avoided my question.


#9

Those who do not receive the death penalty will be confined to prison for life, and so therefore they are no longer a danger to an innocent people in the outside world. Other inmates could be a problem, but efficient guarding within the prisons can cut down on that as much as possible.

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:


#10

I fully support doing away with the death penalty, especially for practical reasons pertaining to the administration of justice. Capital murder (i.e. death penalty) cases, are more difficult to bring, more difficult to prosecute, more costly, more time consuming, and mandatory appeals often turn them into de facto life imprisonment cases.

It is not true, however, that those who do not receive the death penalty for murder are necessarily confined to prison for life. I have seen cases in which a man convicted of multiple murder was sentenced to four consecutive life terms–and kept coming up periodically for parole hearings.

Also, one has to keep in mind that application of the death penalty does not violate Catholic teaching. See here.


#11

Fixed it for you.

On a more serious note, this is a California thing, so that makes it not my circus, as I live in Alabama. Those who know me know how I would vote on this issue, but I’m not going to try to persuade California voters one way or the other.


#12

So you disagree with the CCC, then?

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 definitely 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 nonexistent."


#13

I sure hope this proposition doesn’t pass, regardless of the position taken by the Bishops.


#14

"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 definitely 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 nonexistent.”

It is certainly possible to disagree in good conscience with the opinion expressed in this paragraph about the capability of our prison systems. My best friend recently retired after 30 years as a correctional officer. One of the things that got him home every night to his wife and my goddaughter is that all the prisoners knew that California had the death penalty available for killing a guard. He would be happy to tell you that it is not 100% possible to prevent evil men from killing again inside prison.

Just last week a man in custody murdered two bailiffs, and wounded a sheriff’s deputy and a civilian in Saint Joseph Michigan.

You may remember that “El Chapo” has escaped from maximum security prisons twice, and his recapture resulted in I believe eight more deaths of his associates and injury to a Mexican marine.

You may remember two convicted murderers escaped from a New York prison last year, and both had to be shot, one fatally.

If you google prison guard murders, you will find a lot of stories where people already serving long sentences committed murders in prison. Can anyone here call it justice if someone serving a life sentence suffers no consequences for an additional murder? Would you restrict his television access for the murder of a guard?


#15

Interesting. With what other portions of the Catechism may I “disagree in good conscience”? What about the prohibition against adultery?


#16

We may in fact disagree with any prudential judgment, even those within the catechism. Fortunately the catechism doesn’t appear to contain any others, but this one is problematic enough.To me it {Dunnigan’s article} demonstrates that the “Catechism” has not dealt with the death penalty in a sufficiently full way. It has limited itself to just one aspect, public safety, while not even discussing the other traditional purposes of punishment.* Beyond that, it has included a prudential judgment (the only such one in the “Catechism” on any topic, so far as I am aware) that, by its nature, cannot be binding in conscience.** *(Karl Keating, 2004)
Disagreement about the use of capital punishment is not as problematic as you believe, which is appropriate inasmuch as the church has always taught that states have a legitimate right to use it.**There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty. ***(Cardinal Ratzinger, 2004)
*Ender


#17

I know of no other part of the catechism that contains an opinion outside the competence of the Church. The Church has no special expertise about prison systems around the world.

Further, it is dishonest to quote only a portion of a single part of the catechism and ignore the preceding paragraph:

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

2267 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.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

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 definitely 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 nonexistent.”

It is perfectly acceptable to argue that California should abolish the death penalty. It is not permissible to claim that Catholic teaching requires it. Among those with this opinion are Popes Benedict XVI, Pius XII, and virtually all previous popes.

Many saints have been unjustly executed, including Joan of Arc, Maximilian Kolbe, Thomas More, and John Fisher. None of them argued that the state lacked the authority to impose the death penalty. More famously, most innocent, and possessing perfect knowledge on this issue, Jesus seems to argue the opposite:

"So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered (him), “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 19:10-11


#18

Thank you, Ender. I knew you would show up on this one. I did not expect it to be at the same moment I was composing my own answer.


#19

This has already been well answered by other posters; I have nothing to add.

I can’t help but notice that the bolded question in my first response is being studiously avoided.


#20

Nor do I. Which seems incredible given your earlier claim…

Nothing dishonest at all. I quoted the most relevant portion of the CCC to respond to DaveBJ’s following comment:

“Voters must, of course, vote in accordance with their own consciences, but for those of you who will be voting for the initiative, what are you planning to do to support the families of those innocent people who will be killed by the murderers who otherwise would have been executed?”

According to the CCC, this isn’t a legitimate justification for the death penalty in most if not all cases. While the Church doesn’t completely prohibit the application of the death penalty, to claim that it can be used as loosely as is suggested above is incorrect.


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