I am hoping that the moderators can see that this is a thread that is meant to unify, not divide; it is really important for CAFers struggling with this topic to read this very well thought-out commentary by Msgr Charles Pope:
What I find especially poignant are these words for the Catechism:
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes.
And the monsignor’s closing comment:
we should resist the vision of the culture of death, which insists that the killing of human beings is a legitimate solution to human problems.
Human dignity means human value. It is very, very natural to disvalue the life of a person who commits murder or other very heinous crimes, in fact such automatic devaluation is likely an active component of the conscience itself.
What changes over the ages is not dignity, but awareness of dignity and awareness of what takes away from dignity and essentially works against upholding of human dignity. While it is natural to subconsciously, automatically dehumanize a murderer, the dehumanization is in itself an illusion, an illusion not shared by God the Father.
Death penalty in the U.S. was never a matter of evil intent, and neither was slavery or lack of civil rights. We can let go of it, with encouragement of our Church, as the D.P. is a stain on our nation’s civility and mercy.
We are called to forgive from the heart everyone we hold anything against, even murderers.