Pope Benedict: End the Death Penalty
And watch American Catholics who are death penalty maximalists labor with might and main to ignore it as “Benedict’s prudential judgment” while also laboring to ignore the fact that he is simply applying the normative teaching of the Church here:
CCC 2267: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
…I am reminded of Zippy Catholic’s sound summary of how huge numbers of American Catholics function whenever the Church teaches something they don’t want to hear or think about:
“Prudential judgement is to right-liberals what primacy of conscience is to left-liberals.”
When it comes to Evangelium Vitae on the death penalty, an awful lot of Catholics on the right sound uncannily like Catholics on the Left discussing Humanae Vitae on contraception.