In other Life news: My homestate of Missouri is threatening to bring back the gas chamber since they can't get their hands on the three-drug cocktail for lethal injection and they have a court case pending on whether or not the one-drug injection is humane.
There's nothing humane about killing a human being.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.In Ethics class, the professors explained it this way:
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
If we are in a village in the middle of nowhere and we have no way to keep the community safe from the aggressor, the death penalty is justified for the safety of the group. These circumstances are virtually non-existent in the industrialized world, so there is no reason for any industrialized nation to practice the death penalty.I've had lots of discussions with people about the death penalty. Being a very active Catholic, many of my friends are politically conservative and have to justify some conservative ideas in light of their Catholic faith. They'll usually grant me that it's not a deterrent, that it costs more than keeping someone behind bars, and that it is not fairly applied in all cases. What they get stuck on is this: justice. Often, those facing the death penalty are convicted of murdering someone. My friends put themselves in the shoes of the victim's family. They know if someone in their family was killed, they'd want someone to pay.
There are a few ways for someone like me to approach this:
1. Ask them to put themselves in the murder's family's shoes. All that the death penalty will accomplish is the creation of two grieving families. It won't bring the victim back.
2. Ask them to consider the definition of the word "justice." The Catechism defines it as:
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”They've already admitted that it is not fairly dealt out. And our judicial system isn't perfect. It's made of people, and any organization made of people is not going to be perfect. You cannot undo the execution of an innocent man.
The first part of this definition calls for the just person to respect the rights of each person. Many of my friends are against abortion; they hold that the most fundamental right is the right to life. As an unborn child has the right to life, so does everyone else.
|Execution in China. China is one of only 3 countries that regularly execute more people than the US. The other three are: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.|
A fascinating article I found as I was researching for this post: http://americamagazine.org/issue/100/ten-reasons-oppose-death-penalty