Does the church have a position on the death penalty?


#1

It seems to me that most Catholics I know are against it, so I was wondering if the church had an official position on the death penalty and what the particulars would be?

Thanks…


#2

Yup.

**Catechism Paragraph 2267 **Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”


#3

“by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm” how would this be? Imprisonment?


#4

Well if someone whom has committed a serious crime such as murder is imprisoned he is incapable, unless the imprisonment is mishandled, of committing further crimes. Someone who might now receive the death penalty could be sentenced to life in prison, where he or she could never do the public harm again.


#5

of course we live in America, so the person would probably be out in six to eight weeks by a ruling by a federal judge.


#6

O.K. Thanks.


#7

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