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Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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PENAL STERILIZATION

Depriving people of their generative powers as a legally authorized procedure, either to punish certain crimes or to deter a person from committing further crimes. the Church's attitude toward such procedure is one of great reserve. On the one hand it is granted that in the case of criminals the State has the objective right to inflict this kind of punishment. On the other hand penal sterilization is not considered either a real punishment or a real preventative. It does not effectively deprive a convicted person of anything precious in that person's eyes, while leaving the sex drive intact. Nor does it do anything to a would-be criminal to deter that person from sexual crimes; in fact the sterilized condition may even encourage promiscuity.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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