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Monday, March 9, 2015

Taking Life


If you have been following the recent debate about certain Catholic media's call for an end to the death penalty, you'll know things are quite heated. 

I'll put my cards on the table: I do not support the death penalty. I do not see that there is now a need for it since modern incarceration is so good. In principle I have a difficulty in ceding authority to the State to take the lives of its citizens because it can be abused, and it has. That said, I accept the teaching that is in the Catechism (CCC 2267), that there may be cases where, in order to protect human lives, certain offenders may be put to death, although as I write that I am uneasy. I know, having studied psychology, and with an interest in forensic criminal psychology (it comes in handy for Confessions!), there are some individuals, usually serial killers, who pose a very serious risk and may (may) fall under the need for the death penalty.

Anyway, the point of this post is to bring Dr Ed Peter's view on this to your attention. He reflects on the Catechism and St John Paul's teaching in Evangelium Vitae. It is worth reading. Whatever you think about it, this issue will always be controversial and we'll be discussing it for decades if not centuries to come. But, as we discuss it, I pray that such discussions and debates will always be dictated by charity, and decisions regarding the death penalty will be taken with due regard to authentic justice and mercy.

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