Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Catholyc" Progressives, Abortion And Capital Punishment

In their July 14th edition, the Standard published a Catholic News Service article concerning the death penalty.  It appears on page 9.  It is not on the Standard's web page at this time; however, it is on the CNS site, to which I now link.

Pope John Paul II, in Evangelium Vitae, made plain his personal opposition to capital punishment.  However, being the Pontiff, he understood that even he was subject to sacred Tradition and Scripture which do make plain that capital punishment is a licit function of civil governments.  The late Pontiff made very clear that the use of capital punishment should not occur when the criminal could be so detained as to render the rest of the populace safe from future harm.  Obviously, on a case-by-case basis, such judgment is in the purview of the proper civil authorities.  Now let me add further that in a society such as ours, that for over 30 years has callously facilitated the slaughter of millions of tiny babies in their mothers' wombs, I do not believe that civil authorites have any moral credibility whatsoever to administer capital punishment; abortion has clouded their thinking processes that much.  However, it is clear that the issue of capital punishment is one on which good Catholics can disagree.  Abortion is not - no one can be a true Catholic who supports abortion in the least.

Now let's get back to the article.  It presents a statistic, that since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, that 1,258 executions have occurred.  Well, as lamentable as this number may be, let's bear in mind that these individuals were at least recognized as individuals.  They were convicted of captial crimes by juries of their peers and often attempted multiple appeals.  Some might argue that the trials may not have been fair, but at least they received trials, a perfunctory acknowledgement of their personhoods.

Between 1976 and now, 35 years have elapsed.  That means that on average, about 36 people per year in the entire country died via capital punishment.  Now let's compare that to abortion data.

In Maryland alone, according to some statistics supplied by the Guttmacher Institute as quoted by the Post-owned Gazette in their recent editorial, 34000 babies were murdered via abortion in Maryland alone.  That is equivalent to 93 government-sanctioned murders of babies every day - in Maryland alone.

Since the article cites national numbers, let's compare that to national numbers for abortion.  Compare 36 capital punishment executions per year with - 1.5 million murdered babies per year.  That means for every convicted criminal executed, almost 42,000 babies were aborted.

So now we see this page-long article dedicated to the plight of these 1,258 people who underwent capital punishment.  Where, oh where, is the commensurate concern shown for the 52+ million babies slaughtered?  I address this question to those in the Church structures who allege that they work for "social justice".  Do the math!  Not only that, but consider that these babies receive no benefit of trial, no appeal process whatsoever.  Your priorities need badly to be adjusted!


  1. I don't have my Catholic Standard in front of me, but what really caught my attention about that article was:
    "Jeanne Woodford PRESIDED over the execution..."

    For me it was another piece in the puzzle of the NO Mass.

    Another interesting aspect of this article is that the arguments used for outlawing the death penalty, (1) so-called arbitrary application and (2) costly to tax payers, are frequently used to support legal abortion: (1) pregnancy is arbitrary (every woman who has sex doesn't get pregnant; women who use birth control still get pregnant; the sex of the baby; the health of the baby) and (2) supporting babies is costlier than killing them (ask Governor Erlich).

    What this article doesn't point out is how much it costs to keep these prisoners in prison for life or that it is because of Jeanne Woodford et al that the death penalty now costs California taxpayers [and enriches trial lawyers] $330 million per execution.

  2. Catholic Standard article also contains no historical information on this issue or what happened to crime when death penalty was eliminated:

    “In the late 1960s, the Supreme Court began "fine tuning" the way the death penalty was administered. To this effect, the Court heard two cases in 1968 dealing with the discretion given to the prosecutor and the jury in capital cases. The first case was U.S. v. Jackson (390 U.S. 570), where the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding a provision of the federal kidnapping statute requiring that the death penalty be imposed only upon recommendation of a jury. The Court held that this practice was unconstitutional because it encouraged defendants to waive their right to a jury trial to ensure they would not receive a death sentence.

    The other 1968 case was Witherspoon v. Illinois (391 U.S. 510). In this case, the Supreme Court held that a potential juror's mere reservations about the death penalty were insufficient grounds to prevent that person from serving on the jury in a death penalty case. Jurors could be disqualified only if prosecutors could show that the juror's attitude toward capital punishment would prevent him or her from making an impartial decision about the punishment.”

    “…The ten-year moratorium on executions that had begun with the Jackson and Witherspoon decisions ended on January 17, 1977, with the execution of Gary Gilmore by firing squad in Utah. Gilmore did not challenge his death sentence.”

    [note blue side bar: 1966 – Support of capital punishment reaches all-time low. A Gallup poll shows support of the death penalty at only 42%.]

    Now go look at what happened to crime in the U.S. during this death penalty moratorium

    “In 2004 America's crime rate was roughly the same as in 1970, with the homicide rate being at its lowest level since 1965.”

    You can also see where Maryland and the District rank for violent crime:

    The Beltway assassin was executed in Virginia – in Maryland we’d still be having a legal appeal merry go round at tax payer’s expense:

    Now for the abortion statistics:

    Virginia: 17.6 per thousand
    In 2008, 28,520 women obtained abortions in Virginia, producing a rate of 17.6 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states, and some Virginia residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate increased 7% since 2005, when it was 16.5 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44. Abortions in Virginia represent 2.4% of all abortions in the United States.

    Maryland: 29 per thousand
    In 2008, 34,290 women obtained abortions in Maryland, producing a rate of 29 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states, and some Maryland residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate decreased 8% since 2005, when it was 31.5 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44. Abortions in Maryland represent 2.8% of all abortions in the United States.


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