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History of the Catholic Church on the Death penalty and How it Changed Over Time - Research Paper Example

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History of the Catholic Church on the Death penalty and How it Changed Over Time

In the early days of Christianity, death penalty however was favored by the Church as asserted by St. Augustine. During Catholicism’s infancy, it was viewed as a way of deterring the commission of sins and a means to protect the innocent from the wicked. Thomas Aquinas during the Middle Age upheld this view on the death penalty that the state does only have the right, but is also duty bound to protect its flock from its enemies both from within and without the Church (Book 3, Chapter 146). At that time, it was thought that dispensing such punishment is not a sin for it is the justice of God that is being carried out. Such, it is only proper then that by removing evil from society will preserve the good. Such that, evil men that undermines and is an impediment of the common good should be removed from the society of men through death. Many passages of the Holy Bible were used to justify this early position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. While it was commanded that “thou shall not commit murder”, it was argued in I Peter (2, 13-14) that thou should “be subjected therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether to be on the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of good”. ...
During the same time, especially on the First Crusade in 1095, the Catholic Church, through Pope Urban II implied the penalty of death penalty to non-Christians when it encouraged the retaking of the Holy Land by force. As a result, Jews and Muslims alike were killed in the process for being non-Catholics. Death penalty was also used as a political weapon against its dissenters on its colony especially in the South East Asia. At the time when Spain invaded through the use of the Cross and Sword an unknown island in East known today as the Philippines (after King Philip of Spain), death penalty was used against those who call for secession from Spain. For more than 300 years (1565-1898), the death penalty was used against political enemy by pressuring the Governor General who then ruled the archipelago But circumstances and time change and so did the position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty. Despite of its previous position on the death penalty, the Catholic Church is now one of the most fervent advocates of the abolition of the death penalty. Whilst before it find necessary to remove the wicked to protect the innocent through death, it now calls for a deeper respect for the human life and that position even transcended even to the unborn. Recent position of the Catholic Church about death penalty changed to the abrogation of the death penalty. One of the Church’s recent Pope who was vocal against the imposition of death penalty was Karol Wojtila or Pope John Paul II. “During his tenure, the news media devoted substantial, even inordinate, attention to John Paul’s pronouncements on abortion, divorce, gay rights, the death penalty, euthanasia, human cloning, and other controversial topics” (Mulligan, 2006). ”The Holy See has consistently sought the ...Show more

Summary

History of the Catholic Church on the Death Penalty and how it changed over time In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, God commanded that “Thou shalt not kill” (6th Commandment, Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV) yet in the same text, it is also stated that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)…
Author : qrutherford
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