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!
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