Capital punishment...again


Prudence is not mere opinion but the “mother of all virtues”.

Catholic Encyclopedia.

So it is that whilst it qualifies immediately the intellect and not the will, it is nevertheless rightly styled a moral virtue.

This is because the moral agent finds in it, if not the eliciting, at any rate the directive principle of virtuous actions. According to St. Thomas (II-II:47:8) it is its function to do three things: to take counsel, i.e. to cast about for the means suited in the particular case under consideration to reach the end of any one moral virtue; to judge soundly of the fitness of the means suggested; and, finally, to command their employment. If these are to be done well they necessarily exclude remissness and lack of concern; they demand the use of such diligence and care that the resultant act can be described as prudent, in spite of whatever speculative error may have been at the bottom of the process. Readiness in finding out and ability in adapting means to an end does not always imply prudence. If the end happens to be a vicious one, a certain adroitness or sagacity may be exhibited in its pursuit. This, however, according to St. Thomas, will only deserve to be called false prudence and is identical with that referred to in Rom., viii, 6, "the wisdom of the flesh is death"

People who’ve done their due diligence and humbly recognise their limitations to be truly prudent, will defer to the moral authority of the Church to guide and command. To reject a teaching of the Church which is unanimously accepted by the college of Bishops, is ‘false prudence’ and pretty grave especially when the agenda is to lead others to reject Church teaching.


Killing a guy is rehabilitating to him?


Justice is not simply for the common good.

Not strange at all. If you are saying the Catholic Church, via a Pope, taught torture was good when it was in fact evil then that would seem to undermine the authority of all Popes. Of course you could save that authority by narrowing the force of the torture document. But then that could justify narrowing the force of the capital punishment declaration.


Then again, maybe not.

The impartial and unchangeable justice of God metes out reward for good deeds and punishment for sin. … The law, nevertheless, is clear that for public prosperity it is to the interest of all that virtue - and justice especially, which is the mother of all virtues - should be practiced (Pope Leo XIII, Exuente iam anno)


2266 … punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.(67)

(67) Lk 23: 40-43 - references the salvation of the good thief. The church cites a case of capital punishment as an example of a punishment that in fact led to the correction of the offender and his ultimate salvation.


The good thief was rehabilitated by Our Lord Jesus. Not by being executed.

Have some shame before you start distorting the Crucifixion.



I like the example of Portugal:

1852 - First modern country to abolish death sentence.

1884 - First country to abolish life imprisonment.

1845 -Last execution of a man.

1772 -Last execution of a woman

250 years without execution of a woman.
150 years without execution of a civilian man.

There’s been 500 years of Bishops, Cardinals, Priests and Popes speaking against the death sentence and against life imprisonment. [What Cardinal Dulls said holds no weight.]

Anything @Ender poses certainly holds no weight or importance whatsoever at all anywhere.


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Then your beef is with the catechism, not me. That’s where the reference is made. It was given as an example of a punishment that “contribute(d) to the correction of the offender”.


Well said.

But it is a truth of faith, also confirmed by our experience and reason, that the human person is free. This truth cannot be disregarded, in order to place the blame for individuals’ sins on external factors such as structures, systems or other people. Above all, this would be to deny the person’s dignity and freedom, which are manifested–even though in a negative and disastrous way also in this responsibility for sin committed. Hence there is nothing so personal and untransferable in each individual as merit for virtue or responsibility for sin. (JPII, Reconciliatio et paenitentia)


The above posts are so far removed from being relevant to a discussion about the merits of the death penalty that I cannot help but think of this post:

The following, from the same post, was helpful to me, and I think it merits repeating:


This is actually a good argument for the abolition of the death penalty.


It’s hard to get worked up about defending unborn, helpless blobs of human flesh in the womb, when there are still sadistic and remorseless murderers being unfairly put to death for their monstrous, inhuman crimes in America!


do you want a culture that values life, that treats it as a sacred gift that it is? Or one that thinks it is disposable?

We have no right to kill ourselves, even if mortally ill and in great pain. What right do we have to kill another? What wrongs are righted by taking another life? Is any abortion prevented? Is any school shooting stopped? Or do we just continue doing the same old thing while bemoaning a culture of death while supporting all kinds of things that devalue life because they aren’t abortion?


So, if Catholics crusade against the death penalty, is that going to convince the general population and all those politicians to suddenly stop supporting abortion? Convince me how that will work, and I’ll gladly join the crusade.
Until then, state capital punishment of cold blooded killers doesn’t register in my top ten social justice causes. (Abortion being 1-5, at least.)


It would make a powerful statement to stand up for every human life.


Not convinced yet.


I am not going to waste my time trying to convince you.


Sounds good. I’ve already wasted too much time on this issue here (nothing personal) when I could be posting another anti-abortion message for all my FB friends. I’m sure I’ve lost a few over my rather strident posts but that’s okay. Nice talking with you! :wink:


Well, keep fighting for life anyway you know how. I think that is something we can both agree on.

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