On my Facebook page I’ve posted portions of a piece by Charles Fain Lehman, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who strongly believes Buffalo mass murderer Payton Gendron should be executed.
I agree with Lehman. I support the death penalty.
How do I reconcile my view on capital punishment with my pro-life stance?
Opponents of the death penalty claim this type of punishment is not a deterrent.
Supporters of the death penalty like me argue that of course it can’t be a deterrent. NOT WHEN YOU RARELY CARRY IT OUT!
The Pope spent time in September 2015 lecturing Congress and America about the death penalty. Inexcusably the Pontiff dedicated few words to the real moral crisis in the world, the mass murder of innocent unborn children. The Pope missed a golden opportunity.
Let’s put this in perspective.
How many criminals were put to death last year (2021) in the United States? Try 11.
Now, how many unborn babies in 2019, the latest year I could data, were victims of abortion?
In 2019, 629,898 legal induced abortions were reported to the CDC. Reporting is voluntary and not 100%.
In some cases we can’t execute someone on death row because officials have decided that a lethal injection is cruel and unusual. Apparently what these scumbags did to their victims was not as abhorrent.
Again, the death penalty can never serve to dissuade others if never enforced.
As Congressman Henry Hyde once said, “Show me an unborn child who has been convicted of a capital crime by a jury of his peers, and he’s all yours!”
Back in 2016 prior to the election I saw a brochure in the vestibule of my church. Entitled “A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters,” it was written by Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD.
Fr. Stephen graduated from St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, earned his Masters and Doctorate at Boston College and his Masters of Divinity at Harvard University. He was ordained in 1980. Since 1988 Fr. Torraco has been Associate Professor of Theology at Assumption College, Worcester, MA, until he died in 2010.
Fr. Torraco served on the Board of Catholic Experts of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), answering moral theology questions from people around the world at EWTN’s web site on a daily basis. He was the author of various books and articles in moral theology, medical ethics, the social teaching of the Catholic Church and the spiritual life.
Here’s an excerpt from his voting guide:
- If I may not vote for a pro-abortion candidate, then should it not also be true that I can’t vote for a pro-capital punishment candidate?
It is not correct to think of abortion and capital punishment as the very same kind of moral issue. On the one hand, direct abortion is an intrinsic evil, and cannot be justified for any purpose or in any circumstances. On the other hand, the Church has always taught that it is the right and responsibility of the legitimate temporal authority to defend and preserve the common good, and more specifically to defend citizens against the aggressor. This defense against the aggressor may resort to the death penalty if no other means of defense is sufficient. The point here is that the death penalty is understood as an act of self-defense on the part of civil society. In more recent times, in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II has taught that the need for such self-defense to resort to the death penalty is “rare, if not virtually nonexistent.” Thus, while the Pope is saying that the burden of proving the need for the death penalty in specific cases should rest on the shoulders of the legitimate temporal authority, it remains true that the legitimate temporal authority alone has the authority to determine if and when a “rare” case arises that warrants the death penalty. Moreover, if such a rare case does arise and requires resorting to capital punishment, this societal act of self-defense would be a *morally good action* even if it does have the unintended and unavoidable evil effect of the death of the aggressor. Thus, unlike the case of abortion, it would be morally irresponsible to rule out all such “rare” possibilities a priori, just as it would be morally irresponsible to apply the death penalty indiscriminately.