States may revive electric chair and gas chamber


Believe it or not use of the DP has dropped dramatically since 1999, that’s the good news. The bad news is due to drug shortages several states are considering bringing back the electric chair and in the case of Missouri, the gas chamber.

No one knows if the electric chair causes pain, but the gas chamber almost certainly does.
The DP is bad enough without use of these horror movie throwbacks from the last century.
My understanding from the CCC is that the DP should not be used in instances where lifelong incarceration is guaranteed.

Is this yet another sign on the culture of death debate?


All of these methods are pretty barbaric.


That’s awful, however, the reversion to these **visibly **hideous death mechanisms might finally provide the impulse to get rid of the DP once and for all.

(The countries of England, France and Spain never tried to “sanitize” official execution, but went with hanging, beheading and the garrote, respectively, until the late 1900s; today none of these nations kills anybody as punishment.)

We are schizophrenic as a society about execution. We want societal vengeance upon the worst criminals, but we don’t want it to be ugly; just a dead body who looks asleep. Maybe this matter will force us to see just how hideous the whole business is!




If any state proposes the guillotine as an execution method, I can imagine how the prophecy buffs and Chick-tract fans will react.



I can’t agree with you more. Somewhere inside of everyone there is good, no matter how bad someone is or what they have done. We are all made in the image of God, and unfortunately so many people forget that. I pray that this does not happen, or if it has that it is revoked soon.


The real question is whether there is absolute proof of guilt.
I propose that a person should be sentenced to imprisonment until the age of sixty. This would allow for their friends to prove them innocent.
If they were unsuccessful by this time, than the person should be put to death to save the cost of ongoing medical support. The method of death should be relevant to the pain and suffering afflicted on their victims at the time of their crime.


That is an incredibly cruel suggestion, you know. That really would be torturing someone.


It’s nice to see someone so full of the love and compassion of Christ.


Lethal injection isn’t any more humane than the electric chair or hanging (but possibly more humane than the gas chamber). There’s reason to believe that for some (especially heavier) individuals, the sedative stops working before the heart stops, but after the muscle relaxant kicks in; leaving the person wide awake, unable to breathe, and also unable to express his or her situation in any way. If that happens, the lethal injection is a horrific form of torture. It’s only more humane for the witnesses, not for the prisoner.

In comparison, electrocution done properly most probably renders the prisoner unconscious in a fraction of a second. It’s more difficult to watch, but more humane for the prisoner. It is however easily botched, with rather horrific outcomes - but at least, when a prisoner screams and catches fire (if that ever happened in real life… the fire part at least did), the witnesses will know something went horribly wrong. If the sedative doesn’t work properly in lethal injection, no one will know.

The same goes for hanging - if done correctly, the prisoner will be rendered unconscious almost immediately. But again, it’s botching-prone. But then again, a decapitation or slow suffocation is usually visible.

Actually, the guillotine may be one of the most humane methods in history, unless the hypotheses about the brain staying alive for a minute or so after the execution is correct. But that is doubtful. And a beheading will at least drive home the point that this is actually someone being killed, not just someone being put to sleep like a sick pet.

I’m against the death penalty as anything but a last resort, like the Church is. Which mean that 100% of the executions done by the United States are wrong. In time of peace, we have no use for executions. But that said, if a state chooses to keep it, at least it should be done in a way that does not hide complications. The lethal injection makes me sick, since it is no more humane than a bullet in the neck; it is only chosen because it is prettier, and makes it more acceptable among the emotivist population. If I were on death row, and had the choice between public beheading and the needle, I’d choose the beheading for sure.


Having abolished the death penalty is a prerequisite for making an application to the European Union,

The USA stands proudly with countries such as Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia…

The Church has made it quite plain that nowadays it is really opposed to the DP, even if it remains a theoretical possibility in extreme cases.

While the Catechism does allow it in the most extreme of cases, the spirit of the Catechism is clearly against it.

‘If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.’ Catechism of Catholic Church 2267.

John Paul II was manifestly against it in many public statements:

“May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries, be abolished throughout the world.” (Prayer at the Papal Mass at Regina Coeli Prison in Rome, July 9, 2000)

“A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.” (Homily at the Papal Mass in the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999).

Any practising Christians I have ever spoken with are strongly against it, with the exception of many American Christians. Why?

We should be conservative in our Faith, but not in social issues.


How very I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream although they actually get to die.


So the secular, pro-abortion EU sets your moral standard?


Why don’t we just look at what the CCC says about the subject:2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good…

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.So the CCC clearly teaches that the death penalty is appropriate when it is the only practical way to defend society against the aggressor (this is as opposed to your statement talking about when lifelong imprisonment is possible).

I rather like St Thomas Aquinas’ way of thinking about the subject ( II-II-64-2S. Th.)I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), it is lawful to kill dumb animals, in so far as they are naturally directed to man’s use, as the imperfect is directed to the perfect. Now every part is directed to the whole, as imperfect to perfect, wherefore every part is naturally for the sake of the whole. For this reason we observe that if the health of the whole body demands the excision of a member, through its being decayed or infectious to the other members, it will be both praiseworthy and advantageous to have it cut away. Now every individual person is compared to the whole community, as part to whole. 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, since “a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6). Also pay particular attention to his answer to objection 2:According to the order of His wisdom, God sometimes slays sinners forthwith in order to deliver the good, whereas sometimes He allows them time to repent, according as He knows what is expedient for His elect. This also does human justice imitate according to its powers; for it puts to death those who are dangerous to others, while it allows time for repentance to those who sin without grievously harming others.And you see the way that St Thomas handled it is that he talked about the necessity to excise the infected member before it had a chance to do more damage to the whole body.

Both the CCC and St Thomas are basically saying the same thing. You don’t amputate limbs at the first whim, but only when it is necessary to prevent gangrene from spreading.

Popes, particularly the last three, have spoken out against the death penalty, believing it to be unnecessary in most cases. Again, that makes sense: we have wound vacuums and antibiotics now: amputating limbs is far less common these days than before. We should be smart enough to avoid having to “amputate” members from the “body” of mankind in most cases, as well.

As a point of interest, though, back in 1568, Pope Pius V published an Apostolic Constitution, Horrendum Illud Scelus, where he prescribed that priests who engaged in homosexual activity should be stripped of all title and privilege and immediately turned over to the secular authorities, who should put them to death.

I find it utterly ironic that the EU requires countries to abolish the death penalty for the guilty but yet has no problem, and in fact, pushes member countries, to inflict the death penalty on society’s most innocent members. An extra-judicial death penalty with no accusation, no evidence, no conviction, and no appeal.


Irony is a forgotten art.
I live in Australia, where capital punishment has been banned for generations. Any study of English law shows countless examples of innocent peiple going to the gallows. Don’t do what you can’t undo.
As they say in Australia…Come in spinner!
Didn’t you think my suggestions were just a little over the top for a catholic? Are we not supposed to be against capital punishment as per the papal teachings of recent years?

Your outrage shows your kind heart and may God bless you for it. Sorry if my weak attempt at exaggeration was mis read.


Wouldn’t it be nice if the same mercy was extended to infants before emerging from their mothers’ birth canals?


Now, I am missing your point. Sorry. Can you elaborate?
On another of your good points, I see papal statements on this issue very much within the social context of their times.


Some states want to bring back the firing squad. A definite act of kindness when you look at how the victims lives were taken.


The point is that the State has decided to eliminate a tool that could, potentially, be necessary for the defense of society. Typically, mercy to the offender is at least part of the reason (he may be rehabilitated at some point, society needs to give him every opportunity to be contrite, who are we to take another life, and/or other line of thinking).

All well and good. As I said earlier, we have the ability to heal a member of our corporeal body rather than amputating at the first sign of trouble.

Yet the same modern society, which is so “enlightened” when it comes to capital punishment, has no problem whatsoever with ripping life away from a perfectly innocent child whose only sin is being a descendant of Adam. And that without a trial, conviction, sentencing, or appeal process. Those who would call for mercy for the child, or even justice, are labeled as extremists.

The irony is that a man who kills a pregnant woman can be charged with a double homicide in this country (don’t know if that is the case in Australia or not).


Could not agree with you more. The evil of abortion is a scandal on our civilization and our law. In Australia a Bill giving affect to this double homicide is being debated at this present time. Needless to say the pro-abortionists are up in arms at the prospect of it passing as the obvious inconsistency with abortion laws presently allowing abortion on demand would become transparent even to the willfully blind. God bless.


While it is true that the church has expressed strong opposition to the use of capital punishment “nowadays” it is equally true that this opposition is practical rather than moral. The position of the church remains what it has been throughout her entire history: a state has the right to employ capital punishment.


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