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The Catholic Church and Death Penalty - Research Paper Example

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The Catholic Church and Death Penalty

Through the passage of time and with a firm decision of some governments to administer death sentence, it is notable to look at the history of how the Catholic Church has stood its ground. Are there instances when the Catholic Church has played soft on this opposition What are the recent press releases done by the Catholic Church to support its stand
"Capital punishment has been practiced in virtually every society, and thus can be considered to be a cultural universal or close to it, excluding those with state religious proscriptions against it. It is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural regionToday, most countries are considered by Amnesty International as abolitionists, which allowed a vote on a nonbinding resolution to the UN to promote the abolition of the death penalty. But more than 60% of the worldwide population live in countries where executions take place insofar as the four most populous countries in the world (the People's Republic of China, India, United States and Indonesia) apply the death penalty and are unlikely to abolish it at any time soon" (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.).
A memo from Pope Benedict XVI (then known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) to the US in 2004 says: 'Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.' (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.). The Catholic Church has traditionally submitted to the state's decision of capital punishment as per theology of Thomas Aquinas, who accepted capital punishment as "a necessary deterrent and prevention method, but not a means of vengeance" (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.).

The Theology of Thomas Aquinas on Death Penalty
Polls consistently show that a majority of U.S. citizens, about 70 percent, approve of capital punishment. What grounds are there for such a widespread conviction Generally people point to two reasons: retribution and deterrence. Some people judge that some crimes are so horrible that the only appropriate punishment is death. Some are convinced that the threat of the death penalty will prevent people from committing crime.
People who oppose the death penalty challenge both reasons. They claim that capital punishment is much closer to revenge than retribution. There are other means, they hold, of balancing the scales of justice than more killing. Similarly, death-penalty opponents point out that most studies indicate that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent. Decreasing rates of violent crime are found in countries that have eliminated the death penalty.
Thomas Aquinas is one of the pillars of the Catholic Church. And his influence on the church is so great so that it adapted his beliefs on death penalty. His book Summa Contra Gentiles reveals that he is a supporter of death penalty and "this was based on the theory (found in natural moral law), that the state has not only the right, but the duty to protect its citizens from enemies, both from within, and without" (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.). Below is a short summary from his book Summa Cont ...Show more

Summary

The Catholic Church is one of the forces that vehemently resist the implementation of death penalty. Although there is a clear separation of the church and the state, catholic churches around the world defy the killing of convicted criminals through masses, press releases and publication…
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