From the comboxes of Crisis:
At last! Much thanks should go to Mssrs Feser and Bessette for a cogent defense of the oldest teaching in the Catholic tradition on the powers of the state. It bears commenting further on Luke23:41 that one of the first saints to enter heaven—indeed, within moments after the crucifixion— was one thief who declared the morality of the death penalty. One might argue that the earliest Christian promulgation of a doctrine on a specific power of the state, made in the physical presence of Christ, was over the legitimacy of the death penalty. Given the context of the declaration, in the presence of supreme innocence Himself who was suffering the same fate, and reinforced by immediate canonization, would render the strongest possible endorsement of the doctrine.
Clearly, the US needs to reinstitute crucifixion as a form of capital punishment. After all, St. Dismas said it is just. It’s been all downhill since the modernists took over the late Roman Empire and banned this blessed form of death for criminals.