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Death penalty
Question from Anon on 9/10/2017:

Just what does the phrase, "rare, if practically nonexistent" mean to you and Raymond Arroyo? In no way can you state that the Church accepts the death penalty as a form of punishment. This part of the CCC seems to be CONSISTENTLY discounted, if not ignored, by this forum.

How many people, do you suppose, have been wrongfully executed over the years? How many on death row have ultimately been vindicated? Is this not also a pro-life issue, or is there some kind of cutoff date chronologically where some lives have less value than others?

This is perhaps the biggest frustration I have with pro-life movements such as yours. And like the other poster, if it comes down to choosing between EWTN's interpretation of Church teachings or the Pope's, I'll go with the Pope, thanks.

Answer by Judie Brown on 9/22/2017:

Dear Anon

I cannot speak for Mr. Arroyo but my position as a pro-life leader is quite clear and is public knowledge. Here it is:

While Pope John Paul II, in Evangelium Vitae, denounced the death penalty, he did not alter the Catholic teaching on the subject which, as you know, does not define the death penalty as an intrinsically evil act. Abortion and contraception, on the other hand, are defined in that manner. Thank you for your insights on this hotly debated subject. I would encourage you to review, once again, the following excerpt from the Holy Father's encyclical letter: From #27 Among the signs of hope we should also count the spread, at many levels of public opinion, of a new sensitivity ever more opposed to war as an instrument for the resolution of conflicts between peoples, and increasingly oriented to finding effective but "non-violent" means to counter the armed aggressor. In the same perspective there is evidence of a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of "legitimate defence" on the part of society. Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform. From #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".46 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.


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