2011-10-03

Dangerous Ambiguity

What does the Church teach on the death penalty? Have the times changed such that the teachings of Christ's Church are no longer relevant?

The NCR seems to think so... in fact the NCR seems to have completly re-written what the Church teaches on capital punishment. I guess it should not come as a surprise.

Here is another view on the topic. "The Purposes of Punishment" by R. Michael Dunningan, J.D., J.C.L.

"Catholic teaching on capital punishment is in a state of dangerous ambiguity. The discussion of the death penalty in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is so difficult to interpret that conscientious members of the faithful scarcely know what their Church obliges them to believe."

St. Aquinas also has quite a bit to say on the subject. For starters:
"The slaying of an evil-doer is lawful inasmuch as it is directed to the welfare of the whole community, and therefore appertains to him alone who has charge of the community. Now the care of the common good is entrusted to rulers having public authority; and therefore to them is it lawful to slay evil-doers, not to private individuals."

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