Is the Church's pronouncement on the Death Penalty binding?


Is it binding or is it optional? I think St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas approved of the Death Penalty


There’s a Moratorium on this Subject.


Please refer to the excellent Jimmy Akin article referenced above. Moderator as asked we respect the moratorium on this subject.



I was once very impressed by the work of Victor Hugo “Тhe Last day of the condemned to death.” Later I learned that this work of V. Hugo was a protest against the death penalty.
I recommend for reading.
Unfortunately, on the European continent there is still a country where the death penalty still exists, it is Belarus.
I hope the message of the Pope, will appeal to the United States and to Belarus. And then the baton will be taken by other third world countries.
USA for many countries is an example, so it is very important if the abolition of the death penalty will happen in this country.


As noted several times, there is a moratorium on the CAFs re: this topic.

And, again, we offer Jimmy Akin’s article to help in better understanding this matter.


The early Church fathers favored the moral code of Cicero, whom Pope John Paul II referenced at least once. De Officiis (On Civic Duties) might be worth a read.


Is there a way to make this better known? In the past there was a pinned thread at the top of a forum that indicated prohibited subjects and other rules that may apply to a subforum.


Thanks. That’s worth considering. Given that it’s a technical issue, please contact @cawebmaster.


Not everything St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas taught is Church doctrine.

Their influence of Catholic theology overall has been huge, hence why they are called “Doctors of the Church”. But their works are not binding, nor infallible.


Not necessarily. The mere placing of something in the Catechism does not in itself make something true or binding.


The Catechism takes into account all the wisdom of those two saints. And other wisdom, too. Over the centuries the Church had learned much about human behavior, as circumstances change.


Wow! Not locked yet?


I stand with the Doctor Angelicus on this:

Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good . . . . ST IIa-IIae, q. 64, a. 2.

It is permissible to kill a criminal if this is necessary for the welfare of the whole community. However, this right belongs only to the one entrusted with the care of the whole community – just as a doctor may cut off an infected limb, since he has been entrusted with the care of the health of the whole body. ST IIa-IIae, q. 64, a. 3.


You’re right, It has been done before…


I thought we were not suppose to discuss this topic on CAF?


It is ordinary magisterium not extraordinary magisterium. As a matter of fillial piety we should accept this change in temporal discipline but we do not have to render di fide ascent as in the case of a dogma of the Church. In short no we do not have to accept it like the Trinity but rather we accept it like a change in the Popes choice in headgear, something up to the current pontiff and completely reversible.


As noted, we have a moratorium on this issue.

Besides Jimmy Akin’s recent essay on, please see for useful reading this one by canon lawyer Edward Peters.

Prohibition on death penalty threads?
closed #18

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