I have sometimes been surprised by some of the comments I have heard from Catholics who seem to be in favour of the death penalty. Pope John Paul II in many utterances and in Evangelium Vitae clearly stated that the Catholic Church, except in the most extreme circumstances, is now against the death penalty. John Paul II saluted a rise in consciousness towards the death penalty as an assault on the dignity of human life.
These are just a few of the many examples:
I cannot except a call to Tradition here. The Pope was quite explicit in his condemnation of the death penalty. The Church in the past committed many acts which we would not accept today. We love the Church despite its past failings - in the past the Church executed people for heresy. We would not accept that today, therefore because of the shift in Church teaching, we can no longer accept the death penalty.
I always ask myself ‘What would Our Lord have said if he were here now’?