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Capital punishment

By Cheshire (articles ) | May 14, 2003

The extreme positions of Vatican dicastery heads on the Iraq War - to the ultimate length of Archbishop Martino completely overhtrowing the just war tradition - parallels the absolutist position of recent Vatican commentary on capital punishment.

One factor cited in abolishing capital punishment has been a supposed public plebescite against it. To the contrary, the latest Gallup poll on the subject shows a remarkable increase of support for capital punishment from 65% eight years ago to 74% today.

The Church of course should not be guided by public sentiment. However, Vatican commentary on capital punishment (as on the Iraq War - even papal commentary during which cited approvingly worldwide peace demonstrations which - as the New York Times later revealed - were funded by the communist World Workers Movement) ) has been guided by public sentiment rather than systematic theology. Based on so mercurial a reference as public sentiment, what happens when public sentiment favors both the war and capital punishment?

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