Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Death Penalty

As most readers know, the State of Maryland has just abolished the death penalty.  Oh no, I don't mean that Maryland has halted the murder of nearly 100 babies every day vis-a-vis abortion; I mean for the 1 convicted felon who was executed every 4-6 years (at most).  For that, the Maryland bishops lavished praise upon the CINO governor who has been known to use his bully-pulpit to raise funds for Maryland NARAL.

Initially I thought the abolition of the death penalty was a matter on which there could be legitimate disagreement amongst Catholics.  I no longer believe that.  Let me start by differentiating between two concepts that are often erroneously thought to be equivalent; they aren't.  They are:
  1. Opposition to capital punishment
  2. Abolition of the death penalty
One is a matter of personal belief, of prudential judgment.  The other is a matter of public policy.  One does not necessarily imply the other.  Let's now refer to Evangelium Vitae, section 56.  Please read the entire section.  I'll copy below a paragraph from that section.

"It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

Well, these cases are not non-existent.  They might well be rare, but from time to time they do exist; that's just reality.  In those rare cases, Church teaching provides for the imposition of capital punishment by legitimate civil authority.  Why?  Because as the encyclical clearly states, in those cases capital punishment is required to defend society.

 Acknowledging that God alone has supreme authority over life, the Church also acknowledges through Scripture and Tradition that God delegates the responsibility of capital punishment to legitimate civil authority.    Such delegation cannot be abdicated by state authorities, for in so doing, they stand in disobedience to the God who laid that charge upon them.   And once again, progressives within the Church hierarchy (and I mean you, Maryland Catholic Conference!) join the Maryland governor and other officials in their arrogance and disobedience as they thumb their noses at the Lord of Life and abdicate their duties and responsibilities to protect innocent life on one hand - and on the other hand, foster the murder of innocent children.

The Maryland bishops would do more for the culture of life if they demanded that the stonewalling of the Carhart investigations cease and that abortion be banned in Maryland.  Stop the murders of the 90+ babies everyday in Maryland before braying about false "triumphs".

My colleague at An Archdiocese of Washington DC Catholic links to a petition to put the matter to referendum.  I in turn will link to his piece.  I will sign the petition.  Knowing that this petition will never be allowed in Church, I urge interested readers to visit that site.


  1. Thanks for your comments about the Death Penalty. So much confusion comes from the pulpit and State Catholic Conferences here.

    Recently , I saw this comment regarding the death penalty and abortion on a Catholic blog. Thought it was so insightful that I am reposting it here.


    "The proponents of abortion are also entirely consistent when they oppose the death penalty. At the end of the day, these people simply support murder, both by absolving the abortionist as well as the homicidal maniacs on death row. The right to life position has to focus on innocent life. The death penalty by itself is a neutral agent subject to its correct application. Christ Himself endorsed the existence of the death penalty by telling Pilate that he would have no power (of life or death) over Him unless it were given Pilate from above".

    Thank you for all your efforts to inform and educate!

  2. I hope you find these useful:

    The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

    Jesus and the Death Penalty

    The Catechism and the Death Penalty

    "All interpretations, contrary to the biblical support of capital punishment, are false. Interpreters ought to listen to the Bible’s own agenda, rather than to squeeze from it implications for their own agenda. As the ancient rabbis taught, “Do not seek to be more righteous than your Creator.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33.). Part of Synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Bailey’s book Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987.

    Saint (& Pope) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

    Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.

    "Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars"

    Christianity and the death penalty.

    Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,

    The Woman Caught in Adultery, the Death Penalty & John 8:2-11

    Is There a Biblical Requirement for Two Eyewitnesses for Criminal Prosecution?


    The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

    Pro Life: The Death Penalty

    Forgiveness and Murder

    "Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

    "The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

    "The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation"

    Is Execution Closure? Of Course.

    Sister Helen Prejean: A Critical Review

    A Refutation of the ELCA Social Statement on the Death Penalty


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