Catholic View of the Death Penalty

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Religion and Theology
Pages 7 (1757 words)
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Name Institution Tutor Date Catholic View of the Death Penalty Capital punishment is a subject that arouses strong emotions and attracts several divergent views. Some of these views vary at one point or another with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Some catholic leaders claim openly that the state has a right to inflict the death penalty on offenders.


In 1992, the church approved the first universal catechism. According to Pope John Paul II, the text was a complete exposition of catholic doctrine. This would enable everyone to understand what the church believes, celebrates, lives and prays (Daly, Doody, and Paffenroth, pp. 50). However, the publication was revised within a short time and particularly the section dealing with the death penalty. The first section of the death penalty was based on the traditional catholic principle, which gave the death penalty a moral definition. It gave the public authority the right and duty to punish offenders with the gravity of the crime which included the death penalty. This was to redress the disorder and damage caused by the crime. However, it proposed bloodless means as a way of defending human lives against aggressors and provide public safety (Hodgkinson and Schabas, pp 97). The public authority was supposed to use bloodless means to conform to human dignity of the offender. This was the earlier catholic teaching permitting capital punishments to defend life and maintain public order. The use of bloodless means was preferred in line with Christian calling to show mercy instead of vengeance. When the catechism publication was revised in 1997, the purpose of capital punishment had been removed. ...
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