I wonder why he didn't include war. Or the simple act of fatally shooting an armed intruder in own's home. Both are killing. Why would he include some and exclude others in this manner? I say, "in this manner," because while euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion all target those who are either weak or innocent or both, capital punishment specifically targets those whose capacity and willingness to unjustly inflict harm on others is beyond question. Since the Pope is apparently willing to mix these categories, why would he exclude war and personal self-defense from the "culture of death?"
P.S.: In response to the lame Inquisition aside: The Inquisition was initially formed to counter vigilante justice imposed on suspected heretics by average citizens. Most people brought before the Inquisition were not tortured or killed, etc. The Inquisition required at least two witnesses to the heresy (so that neighbors couldn't fink on neighbors to acquire their property.) The vigilantes didn't require such legal niceties.
But since the original book on the Inquisition was written by a biased Protestant, and people would rather parrot that book than the historical facts, I guess I should just shut up about it.
As a Protestant of Irish heritage, I could only wish he were one of ours. Scalia is a great credit to the Catholic Church in America.
That's the problem with some freshmen like you Sean, you think. It's time for you to close your pie hole and learn something and find out just exactly what is and what isn't correct and who is and isn't contradicting the Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church '#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.
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."(68)'
68 John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.
'56. This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God's plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence". Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.
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.
In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must 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".'
Scalia has not put himself in the position of rejecting the teaching of the Catholic Church.
If Scalia IS going to be hounded about this, let's see some public questioning of the several hundred "Catholic" members of the House and Senate who vote to FUND abortions, and to block every regulation of abortion, and who voted to crush the rescue movement in the early 1990's.
Also, account must be made of serial murderers such as Ted Bundy who seem adept at escaping and killing again and again. (Bundy escaped from the law twice!)
It might seem to be an ideal and wonderful world were we to forgive all crime, even murder. But, sorry to say, the world doesn't seem to work that way.
The Church has always held that civil authorities have the right to use the death penalty. JohnPaul II has come out and said just that, but he would like to see it used in only those cases where the criminal could pose a threat to others if he remains alive. Some examples may be terrorists who can still direct others from prison or drug kingpins who can do deals and threaten people from prison. But for most he advocates for mercy.
The Pope has always wanted the Church to have a consistent ethic of life and encourages countries to do the same. But there is always an allowance in the Church for those cases in which nothing but the death penalty will serve as far as punishment of the criminal and protection of society. It is the American Bishops who have made the most noise on this and in some instances the teaching has become muddied because of their pronouncements and the media's garbling of them. So many US Catholics are confused on it, and I guess that is what Scalia is addressing.
Since, at the Federal level, Catholic judges who believe that abortion is wrong have a very difficult time being nominated, much less confirmed, this would seem to leave very little opportunity for faithful Catholics to enter the judiciary. As far as I can see, Scalia is walking straight into a trap here: how can it be "wrong" for a Catholic judge to oppose capital punishment but "okay" for a Catholic judge to oppose Roe v. Wade?
It's already getting pretty difficult for a faithful Catholic to be a pharmacist (just ask K-Mart whether they appreciate pharmacists with consciences) and a doctor (mandatory abortion training, y'know).
Let's just skip to the endgame, and require everyone to carry an "APPROVED OPINION-HOLDER" stamp on their forehead and right hand before they can buy or sell anything, or hold a job.
Anyway, here is a transcript of Scalias comments on the death penalty