I have a question: I generally agree that Human Life is sacred, and I certainly agree that Abortion is Evil.
I am studying to be Catholic, and I understand that the above beliefs are consistent with Catholic doctrine.
Does this mean that Catholics oppose the Death Penalty? If all life is sacred, then it follows that the Death Penalty is therefore contrary to...?
Speaking personally, I am in favor of the Death Penalty for the most heinous of crimes, and would Volunteer to carry out sentence the likes of Osama bin Laden, for example (tho’ I’d probably have to stand in a long line of Volunteers for that one!) Or Saddam Hussein, or the moron in charge of Iran.
How to reconcile this?
Some do, some don't. The teaching of the Church is that the state has the right to impose the death penalty but that it should be rarely utilized.
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.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should 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.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]
Given some of the explanations given by Pope John Paul II, especially in Evangelium Vitae, it might seem that the death penalty could not be permissible. However, in the Catholic tradition no blanket condemnation has existed, nor does it exist today. St. Thomas Aquinas explains how the death penalty might be permissible: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3064.htm
Certainly, what the Church seems to be saying today is that if other suitable means to deal with criminals can be utilized, they should be used before the death penalty should be an option. Being neither an ethicist nor a theologian, I certainly can't speak with moral certitude on the matter one way or the other.
For what it's worth, the Summa Theologica (where I linked to) will give you many good solid answers on a great number of questions.
May God continue to bless you!
Catholic teaching does not equate abortion and capital punishment.
Abortion is intrinsically evil, and always wrong.
There is one exception to the rule, though, which might sound like a technicality.
When the mother will certainly die if the baby remains, as is normally the case with ectopic pregnancies, the baby may be removed from the fallopian tubes, and efforts to save the baby’s life must be taken.
With capital punishment,we are dealing with predators on society.
The Church teaches that we may defend ourselves, and the Church’s position is that the state has a right to defend itself via capital punishment.
Because of the value of each and every soul, we are never to be gleeful about someone’s death.
So, the Church encourages us to pursue other alternatives to capital punishment in the hope that the person has time to repent of his crime, and turn to God before death.
I hope that helps.
Welcome to the Church! As you will discover, there are many Catholics at Free Republic who feel immensely blessed to have been blessed with the gift of our Catholic faith.
I will send you a link for the death penalty. Check your FReepmail.