Why do we do that? Catholic Traditions Explained

My coworkers and I have been debating the death penalty and whether or not it should be part of our justice system. Why are so many people who claim to be pro-life believers in favor of it?

The issues of crime and punishment are never easy because so many factors influence people and how they view problems and solutions. Increased violence, loss of life, cost to taxpayers and the community at large, and the maneuverings of lawyers and courts only add fuel to the fire. When bad things happen in your neighborhood or to your home or to you, you want relief. Any normal person would feel that way. A pro-life view does not insulate anyone from the bad effects of criminal behavior. Innocent people are hurt every day and it may seem as though those who cause the pain get away with it, or get off easy.

The death penalty is not excluded by Church teaching. The state has the right to impose penalties that are commensurate with the crime as well as to defend itself from further harm (Catechism of the Catholic Church, §2266). When possible, punishment should help correct the offender, offering a chance of redemption, which is why the pope and bishops have called for an end to the death penalty. For more information, visit the Human Life and Dignity section of the USCCB’s website (www.usccb.org).