EWTN Catholic Q&A
Re: Death Penalty
Question from Paul on 09-15-2012:

Hello Judy,

Although, I agree with Archbishop Chaput's recent talk on the death penalty, what does society do when a murderer murders while in prison? OR what does society do when supposedly repentant killers are released from prison and kill again?

Those are questions that always seem to be ignored?



Answer by Judie Brown on 09-16-2012:


There is an ongoing debate within the Church, including moral theologians and Bishops, regarding the status of the acceptance or rejection of the death penalty. It is cases like those you ask about that provoke the debate.

We do know this:

Aborting a child is an intrinsic evil Capital punishment should be avoid whenever necessary and should be unwarranted in a civilized society, but that would mean that justice is consonant with the natural law in the culture where the death penalty is rarely used. That is not the case in a nation like ours that uses its laws to approve the direct killing of the innocent in situations like abortion and euthanasia.

Therefore in the USA at this time any ban on capital punishment is hypocritical because the law condones the direct killing of innocent people prior to birth. That is a double standard.

Finally the Church has not defined capital punishment as an intrinsic evil.

Judie Brown