Capital punishment...again


I don’t think anyone is saying this exactly. The argument is a little more nuanced.


Capital punishment killing is and should be normal read 1 Samuel chapters 13-27 Saul and David and the many people they killed


Capital punishment isn’t simply a matter of self defense, which may explain why we have the change in Catholic teaching. The state provides justice. Justice involves punishing the guilty for their crime. A punishment should be fitting. If the state does not proivde a fitting punishment then we have injustice.

A simple example. If your child is hitting another of your children when you send him to his room you aren’t just protecting the child being hit. You are also providing justice for the offense that occurred.


Before you can claim I am dissenting from church teaching we first have settle on what is actually being taught. One of the problems in the new version of 2267 is the ambiguity of the word inadmissible.

Fine, but if its use is not intrinsically evil then there are circumstances when its use can be justified…when in fact it is not inadmissible. That is, the determination of when to use it is not a moral judgment but a practical one: does it benefit or harm society by its use.

No one has ever made such a claim. This assuredly has never been something I have suggested.


This is very true, and I have acknowledged it:

…they are morally accountable if they disregard the prudential judgment of the hierarchical leaders, who speak with authority even when they are not handing on the word of the Lord. (Dulles)

That said, even the USCCB recognizes this is an opinion, and dissent from opinions may be legitimate.

To differ from such a judgment, therefore, is not to dissent from Church teaching. (Dulles)


If the Death Penalty is regarded intrinsically evil then God is evil. For the cause of homicide God decreed a specific penalty for killing another man, because man was created in the image of God. This decree predates the Decalogue and applies to everyone; Jews, Christians, and atheists. However God is not evil He is loving and He is just .

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.


This is a major part of the problem: what was said isn’t clear.

What qualifies as a modern society, and where in the new version of 2267 is there any mention of that section being applicable to some societies and not to others?

This would seem to be the central question. Can anyone answer it?


Is this to imply that ecclesiastical rules punishment by death can have varied and even contradictory applications based on culture? If so then the Church is ruled by culture and not by the Holy Ghost.

Be careful what you wish for.


The topic du jour is lawfulness of human execution by the state not usury etc. State killings outside of the punishment role also do not seem to fit the generally understood meaning of capital punishment.


It is ‘inadmissible’ like slavery is ‘inadmissible’. Like torture is 'inadmissible. Like polygamy is ‘inadmissible’. Not difficult at all.

Do you believe the abolition of slavery was merely a ‘prudential judgement’ rather than being based on the morality of slavery?

This is where I get the duplicity alarm bell warning. So let us be clear about what you have previously claimed.

In post #74 your stated.

Clarify what you mean by this. Bear in mind that the reason that the death penalty has been abolished in other countries directly cites that it is morally unacceptable. Pope StJPII cites the movement as due to ‘a growing moral sensitivity’ regarding human dignity. How do you respond to those objections? Is everybody including the Church, just wrong but you?


And this is the duplicity. Cardinal Dulles refers to Pope JPII’s judgement that the concrete circumstances today warrant abolition of the death penalty. He says that if other experts were to consider this an imprudent judgement in today’s circumstances, that can be a legitimate disagreement.

However, you are piggy backing that explanation to justify your own position that there is no legitimate cause to ever abolish the death penalty. That is outside the doctrine which capital punishment serves and ethically, you should be clear about that position so as not to fool Catholics who disagree in a legitimate way.


I distinguish between the morality of capital punishment per se and the justness of its use in specific situations. To say that it was wrong to execute Fred says nothing about whether Bill should be executed. The doctrine and the application of the doctrine are very different things. I have never suggested that capital punishment could not be, or has not been, wrongly applied, but only that the morality of capital punishment in general is pretty much settled by 2000 years of doctrine, and that the objections to its use now are prudential, not moral.

You have denied that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, therefore there must be instances where its use is appropriate, but if its use is legitimate in any case no matter how rare, what does it mean to say it is inadmissible?


I’m tired of this. Make whatever argument you can without the insults.

I have never made such a claim. This is your own invention, which you would realize if you tried citing my specific words instead of making up a position and ascribing it to me.



@Emeraldlady not a single bishop dissented, not a single bishop will dissent. It’s done !! For centuries, millenniums, to come. Everything else are just sour misleading claims.


More insults? Have you nothing positive to contribute? Take a specific comment I’ve made and challenge it; you might find it more difficult than you expect.


You said I was distorting, by which I assume you meant distorting the truth. Perhaps you don’t consider that insulting. I do. Pretty much like being called a liar. I’m not a fan of that either.




If it is such a simple thing to reverse 2000 years of doctrine that any pope can do it, why would you believe that the current doctrine cannot be reversed again in the future? If doctrines are nothing more than the positions taken by the most current pope then nothing can be considered “done” - everything would be open to revision.




To be clear, you believe Francis has discovered a novel form of state killing that did not exist before?

Slavery hasn’t been declared intrinsically evil and if someone thinks it has been then there is a far worse problem with the Catholic Church changing doctrine than with capital punishment. Slavery is also a prudential judgment.

While I would say it is a growing insensitivity to human dignity mainly the dignity of the victims.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit