Excellent! Four Catholic journals–the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Reporter, America, and Our Sunday Visitor—to call for the abolition of the death penalty.
And for good measure, the Patheos Catholic Channel pitches in too. It’s time for “faithful conservative prolife” death penalty advocates to start listening to the Church’s teaching instead of finding clever ways to ignore it.
The rationalizations for vengeance killing just don’t hold water. Three popes have called for the abolition of this barbarism. Any list that includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the Islamosphere, as well as North Korea, and Communist China as its most prominent members is not a list we want to be on. But those are the closest ideological allies American death penalty advocates have.
Plus, mere prudence suggests that Christians in a rapidly de-Christianizing world are fools for pressing the sword into the hands of a Caesar whose love for them has, shall we say, cooled considerably.
However, the main reason to oppose the death penalty is not skin-saving selfishness but the simple reality that it is the right thing to do and killing people when you don’t have to is the wrong thing to do. Catholics believe in the sanctity of human life, including guilty human life. The approach of the Church to human life is not “when do we *get* to kill?” but “how do we avoid killing unless we absolutely have to?”.