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Catechism of the Catholic Church

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2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent." 68

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Where this paragraph appears in the Catechism:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

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SECTION TWO: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

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CHAPTER TWO: YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
Jesus said to his disciples: "Love one another even as I have loved you." 1

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ARTICLE 5: THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not kill. 54 You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment. 55

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I. RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE

Notes for the above paragraph:

68 John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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