February's Solidarity Campaign has netted 708 gifts so far (goal was 700). Let's set a record by the 28th!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

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

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

PUNISHMENT

Any ill suffered in consequence of wrongdoing. It has three functions, which ideally should be retributive as serving the offended person, corrective for the offender, and deterrent for the community at large. Punishment is retributive because it pays back the offender for his crime and re-establishes the balance of justice, which has been outraged. It is corrective when directed to improving the offender and rehabilitating his as a member of society. It is deterrent as a means of forestalling similar wrongdoing by others.

Some theorists hold, with Plato, that no one does wrong voluntarily. On these premises, punishment may never be retributive but only corrective or deterrent. Christianity, however, believes that because human beings are free they are responsible for their misdeeds and therefore liable to punishment that gives them their just deserts. It is therefore moral to punish the guilty even if there is no hope of correcting that person or deterring others from crime. (Etym. Latin poena, punishment, penalty, pain.)

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

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Two good publishers, six new books for Lent 20 hours ago
Another awkward 'clarification' from the Vatican February 25
Former Israeli ambassador explains how to make 'two-state solution' realistic February 25
Solidarity Campaign: Going well, thanks! And how can you help? February 25
Considering the World of Film February 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5