Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Death penalty shall continue

On Saturday 7/3/2015 I sent a message to EWTN about an article about opposition to death penalty.

It is wrong for Catholics to oppose death penalty and for bishops and publications to campaign against death penalty. Jesus Christ was in favour of death penalty. St. Peter sentenced Ananias and Sapphira to death. Every death penalty prevents 3 to 18 murders. Murders have gone up in Mexico after Mexico stopped death penalty. The blood of victims cries to heaven for justice. Catholics should be on the side of victims, not of murderers.

I received a reply. I read it on 12/3/2015.

Thank you for your email. The Register published a joint editorial appealing for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The editorial a collaboration of National Catholic Register, America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. It will also be published in our March 28 print edition.
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/national-catholic-journals-unite-capital-punishment-must-end/

The Register’s editor in chief also explained the newspaper’s position in a statement on her blog. The statement follows:

From the time of the publication of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope St. John Paul II urged Catholics to re-examine the use of the death penalty – teaching that its use today should be “very rare if not practically non-existent.” His successors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis consistently have taught the same.

We’ve taken that teaching to heart. We’ve prayerfully pondered it and we accept it. Our reporting over the years has reflected this teaching. And, while we recognize that the Church has allowed for the legitimate use of the death penalty for society’s self-defense, we find that it’s harder and harder to argue that a particular act of capital punishment is circumstantially necessary today in contemporary America. We believe the right path is to seek its abolition and we’ve taken the opportunity, along with other members of the Catholic press, to encourage our readers to consider this stance as a part of comprehensively embracing the Gospel of Life.

Today we face ever-increasing assaults on the sanctity of human life. Unity among Catholics in defense of life can send a powerful message. Euthanasia, abortion, war and capital punishment differ in moral weight, but they all threaten human dignity and we must work to end them. While we look forward to the day we can stand in unity with the other Catholic publications on each of these life issues, we stand today on the death penalty, strengthened by the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, and say “Capital punishment must end.”

Thanks & God Bless,
EWTN Viewer Response

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I replied on 12/3/2015.

The church from the beginning was in favour of death penalty. The teaching changed in 1995. So it is not a continuation of Catholic teaching but separate and contrary teaching.

In USA there are at least three cases where murderers came out of prisons and committed more murders. If they had been executed their victims could have been saved. There are contract killers for whom murder is a profession.

The more things change the more they remain the same. Death penalty is a necessity in contemporary America. With automatic rifles or bombs large number of people can be murdered. Strange that there is no word by bishops against gun violence, easy availability of guns in USA. No word by bishops against merchants of death who are members of National Rifle Association.

What do you say about Boston bombing, Fort Hood massacre etc? Not hanging the criminals in such cases is grave injustice to victims and will boost crime. As long as such criminals are in prison there are possibilities of abductions of people with an attempt to secure their release.

There is nothing Catholic about opposing death penalty. Wrong is wrong even if the pope is wrong. John Paul II and his successors are wrong.

It is perverse that attempts are made to save the lives of murderers but the losses of lives of victims are ignored. It seems lives of victims do not matter. Some people shed crocodile tears.

Things have deteriorated since 1995. Today we have ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Taliban, drug cartels and others who carry on murders and terrorist activities. Timely execution of a murderer sends the message that murder will not be tolerated and met with death. That deters murderers. In Mexico murders have gone up and even priests are shot dead. You are aware of 43 students who were murdered. If there had been death penalty many of those lives could have been saved. Those who oppose death penalty are like Pharisees. They have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear.

Terrorist activities have taken place in London, Madrid, Paris and other places. Not to execute terrorists and murderers is foolish.

Pakistan restarted death penalty after Peshawar school shooting. Indonesia restarted death penalty after crimes went up.

Death penalty is a matter of crime and punishment. It should be left to states.

Death penalty is different from abortion and euthanasia. Many who oppose death penalty are in favour of abortion and euthanasia.

Sometimes war is necessary to save people. Pope Francis has said ISIS must be stopped. Only way to stop ISIS is to fight a war and kill them. They have their sights on Rome.

You have quoted “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The key word here is friends. It is not murderers, rapists, criminals, abductors, hijackers or rapists.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Updated: March 12, 2015 — 8:51 pm

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