Capital Punishment (Death Penalty) | What You Need to Know
The death penalty is a very thorny issue today. For most of the second half of the twentieth century, nearly all Catholic leaders defended capital punishment. But in recent years, nearly all Catholic leaders have called for its abolition.
- The Catechism on the Death Penalty
- Capital Punishment: Drawing the Line between Doctrine and Opinion
- Catholicism and Capital Punishment
Despite the distinctions made in the middle document above, some Catholics have had difficulty grasping the difference beteween the absolute moral judgment which applies to issues such as abortion and euthanasia and the prudential judgments which make capital punishment a very different kind of issue. This distinction was clearly made by Benedict XVI (while still the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in his 2004 instruction to the US Bishops on Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles.