Catholic View on Death Penalty

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For my presentation, I read an article from the National Catholic Reporter called “Could Catholics Tip the Balance for Death Penalty Repeal”. The article focuses on California Proposition 34 which is better known as the End the Death Penalty Initiative. Earlier in November, the residents of California were given the opportunity to vote for or against Proposition 34. Supporters of the Initiative hoped that Catholics would be on their side after the California Catholic Conference gave Catholics the green light to support the Initiative. In fact, many of the bishops and archbishops urged church members to vote on the issue. Also many church members and church organizations donated money to support the Initiative.

Many clergy members spoke out after the Conference was over. They stressed the morality revolving around the death penalty issue. In their speeches and letters, they emphasized the intrinsic worth and dignity of all human life, whether guilty or not guilty. The clergy also stressed that no justice comes out of the death penalty. Supporters of the Initiative hoped that the Catholic community in California would tip the vote in their favor to repeal the death penalty.

The last topic that the article focuses on is how the Catholic Church’s position on capital punishment has evolved over time. In the years before Pope John Paul the Second’s 1995 statement, the Catechism of the Catholic Church stated that states had the right to implement the death penalty but only in the most extreme cases to defend society. However, in 1995 Pope John Paul the Second stated that due to the structure of the court and penal system, these cases are extremely uncommon and basically nonexistent. Pope Benedict XVI has reemphasized that church members are called upon to be completely opposed to capital punishment.

So when I was searching for an article to do my presentation on, this article immediately stuck out to me for several reasons. After watching Dead Man Walking last...
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