EWTN Catholic Q&A
Re: Death Penalty Follow-Up
Question from Paul on 09-17-2012:

Dear Judy,

Again although I agree with Archbishop Chaput on his talk for getting rid of the death pebalty in the US, one has to provide an alternative for the problem of repetitive murderers and addressing the issue of justice. For instance, if we abolish the death penalty, how do we house these violent prioners (i.e., terrorists, serial killers)? What is a fitting punishment for a recidivist child molester and child killer? What do we do with individuals who are mentally ill and/or fried thier brains out on drugs and are violent. Of course the dignity of the human being must be respected while incarcerated BUT so does the dignity of staff and other prisoners. - As we see in California especially, violent recidivist prisoners often form gangs within the prison culture to stab, rape, and commit other crimes against staff - a living hell mainly for the workers. Although Scripture does in some ways gives a hint for captital punishment (Jesus did not remove the good thief from his cross OR the unrepentant sinner); and Scripture says of harming a little one "that it would be better that a mill stone be tied around his neck", Scripture also tells of Jesus forgiving the adulterous woman who was sentenced to death by stoning. In fact He saved her life. AND the revelations of Saint Faustina and others as Jesus beinga merciful Savior to the worst of sinners. The question then becomes: abolish the death penalty, since like abortion it harms the dignity of the human being AND it saves life, AND it is a step in the right direction of becoming a more humane society (even if abortion being made illegal again dosn't precede or follow the abolishment of the death peanlty)? BUT that there must be an alternative set in place for society(i.e., adoption is the solution for a woman who does not want an inteneded or unwanted preganancy (baby), so the prison system needs to be reformed to house these type of offenders and insulate them from staff and other potential victims. - maybe a solitary confinemnet chain gang type of monastic prison? Or inform society of what is being let loose, so they can have a the option to protect themselves and let them know they have the right to do so?



Answer by Judie Brown on 09-20-2012:


My first order of business is to stop the killing of innocent preborn babies. When that happens and each of them is protected by law and the culture I will be able to pay attention to the nuances involved with the debate over the death penalty.

Judie Brown