Is a Catholic allowed to be in favor of capital punishment when his reasons in favor of it are partially or even primarily retributive?
Catholic authorities and apologists I have heard, at CA and elsewhere, have always discussed the fact that Catholics are permitted to favor capital punishment in the context of protecting society from the individual criminal. I agree with the factual assessment of both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI that such a need is almost never present in an advanced industrial society with a modern penal system.
However, I am inclined to believe that sometimes it is warranted simply as punishment. I realize most Church authorities disagree with this position, and that is a sobering fact for me that requires reflection, but is it even permissible for me to hold such a position for the reasons I have?
Finally, is it legitimate to factor in the deterrent effect when considering the protection of society rationale? I.e., can one broaden the scope beyond protecting society from the individual who has already committed a crime to protecting society from those future people who might be deterred from committing certain acts because of the threat of the death penalty?