Sunday, January 27, 2008

Death Penalty, Justice & Church Teachings

In their most recent issue, the editors of the "National Catholic Register" presented a front page story as to the mother of a rape-and-murder victim who is actively opposing the death penalty. Below you will find my letter-in-response.


Catholic opponents of the death penalty (Whether the Pope or Ms. Vicki Schieber as featured in your Jan. 27, 2008 issue) forget or wish us to forget the following facts:
1. The correct translation of the Fifth Commandment is "Thou Shall Not Murder", the Hebrew word used is different from other words for killing;
2. St. Paul of Taurus endorsed the State's use of that punishment to maintain order and punish the wicked;
3. That great "Doctor of the Church", St. Bernard of Clarvaux, prescribed the use of deadly force in attacking those (Then and now Muslims) who attack the Church and People of Christ by that saint's dictate to strike blows (With the sword) for Christ;
4. The Church itself, in the Vatican States, used capitol punishment not that long ago (As measured in the time-frame of a 2,000-year old and eternal organization) to punish the wicked (By, if my memory serves me, beating the condemned to death, apparently pre-agreeing with some of our saner jurists that capitol punishment does NOT require painlessness); And,
5. From the Cross, Jesus did not condemn the punishment imposed on the two thieves (Robbers?) next to him nor do the Gospels contain any condemnation of the use of that punishment.

It should be remembered that the same "contemporary bishops" who oppose the death penalty come from that same generation of bishops who resigned their moral authority as to crime-and-punishment by protecting (And continuing to shelter) those who sexually or otherwise abused those under their physical or psychological control. They are not fit to make pronouncements as to those who wish to remove from this earth those horrid persons who commit murder and other great crimes.

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