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Archbishop Chaput: death penalty ‘should have no place in our public life’

September 12, 2012

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia discussed capital punishment in his most recent weekly column.

“Both Scripture and Catholic tradition support the legitimacy of the death penalty under certain limited conditions,” he wrote. “But the Church has repeatedly called us to a higher road over the past five decades.”

“We don’t need to kill people to protect society or punish the guilty,” he added. “And we should never be eager to take anyone’s life. As a result, except in the most extreme circumstances, capital punishment cannot be justified. In developed countries like our own, it should have no place in our public life.”


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  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Sep. 13, 2012 11:13 AM ET USA

    I think the death penalty is society's way of throwing its hands up in the face of incomprehensible human evil. Sending the culprit to the Eternal Judge is surely as merciful as sending him off to the life-in-prison alternative.

  • Posted by: RamseyDonald2557 - Sep. 12, 2012 9:16 PM ET USA

    I agree with Chaput. God forgave and prospered murderers like King David (who served not one day in prison) and the mass-murderer and child-killer (his OWN children, incidentally) King Manasseh. Both men repented. Conservatives hate hearing these examples, it upsets our bloodlust. BUT. The alternative is prisons, demon-infested institutions filled with horrific, unspeakable violence, racism, blasphemy, male on male gang rapes (constantly), beatings beyond belief. Is death WORSE than this?

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Sep. 12, 2012 6:44 PM ET USA

    But Archbishop, didn't a Vatican spokesman recently condemn some alleged slander against Islam without even mentioning the senseless slaughter of innocent human beings by militant Islamists? Let's focus on Middle Eastern incivility before worrying about it at home.