I’ve brazenly started a new thread from the one on Republicans and the Death Penalty since it was correctly pointed out on that thread that both parties supported Capital Punishment.
The question is: isn’t support of Capital Punishment a pro-life position?
I’m afraid that the possibility, however remote, that an innocent man might be put to death by accident has no bearing on the question of whether or not Capital Punishment is just, as some on the earlier thread suggested. You could say that our whole penal system should be abolished because an innocent man might be accidently incarcerated.
The fact is that the Church has always taught that Capital Punishment is moral. Clerics (like JPII) can beseach political authority for mercy on behalf of the condemed; that’s fine. Mercy is a good idea, but it doesn’t mean that justice is a bad one.
Interestingly, the Trent Catechism lists “punish the guilty” as the first reason for the legitimate use of Capital Punishment. It reads: “Far from being guilty of breaking this [the fifth] commandment, it is precisely an act of obedience to it.”
In other words, a society that values life seeks to balance justice when life has been wrongly taken. I would argue that crimes that threaten death (rape, eg.) are worthy of Capital Punishment.
I’ve always taken Christ’s words to Pilate regarding his (Pilate’s) authority to sentence to death as coming from God to be approval of the Death Penalty.
I lke the Trent Catechism (The Roman Catechism), BTW. It’s easy to read. One wonders why JPII felt the need to write a whole new one when an update would have served. I am happy to be schooled on this point–perhaps in another thread?