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Capital Punishment

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on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment Questions we will answer.
Why would a jury or judge sentence or not sentence a person to the death penalty?
Who are the major supporters of capital punishment?
What are the Church’s teachings regarding the death penalty?
What bible verses support the Catholic Church’s view on the death penalty?
Is capital punishment acceptable in any circumstance?
What methods are currently used for capital punishment and are certain methods more inhumane than other Is capital punishment acceptable in any circumstance?
Only if there is no other way to protect people from the offender. What are the Church’s teachings regarding the death penalty?

Catechism: 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 an unjust aggressor

Basically this means: If the person has been proven to be guilty and there is no other way of protect other people from the agressor then it may be used. What Bible verses support the Catholic Church’s view on thedeath penalty?

John 8:7 "But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'"

This is a quote from the passage of John where Jesus stops an execution of Mary Magdala, who had committed adultery. We all commit sin, but it is not for us to take away the gift of life which God has given us all. Only God may take back what he has given.

Matthew 5:38-39 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

This means not to take deadly action against another, even when there are justifiable reasons. Therefore, a victim of a crime, if alive, and his family should not wish for the state to execute the criminal.

Exodus 20:13 "You shall not kill."

In the fifth commandment, God forbids us from taking the away the gift of life. He does mention an exception to the rule if the person has killed another. He tells us no one, under any circumstances, should kill.

Genesis 4:11-15 "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;...a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And the LORD said

unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

This is the first murder, the first act of violence in the world. In our courts Cain would be sentenced to the death penalty. God, however, does not kill Cain, and purposely makes sure no one ever will, much like a life sentence. What methods are currently used for capital punishment and are certain methods more inhumane than others?

"From a Christian point of view, capital punishment is evil because it transgresses Jesus' Law of Love and usurps God's prerogative," Pope John Paul II once said. All the allowed methods are, of course, legal, but the Church considers them all inhumane. The lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad were all used since Congress resumed the use of execution in 1976. The lethal injection allows the victim die while asleep, so they do not feel it, but because they do die, the Church still disagrees with it. Electrocution is a fairly quick but extremely painful. The gas chamber suffocates the victim which is undeniably inhumane. Hanging also suffocates the victim by breaking his neck. The firing squad is also a quick method, but bullets are painful and the victim is still murdered. Any death by burning, electrocution, or suffocation is the most painful and inhumane, though all of these methods are inhumane. The most calm and most common death a judge can bring upon a criminal is the lethal injection. Why would a jury or judge sentence or not sentence a person to the death penalty?

The death penalty is usually given when the felon has committed a grave and serious act, normally murder or rape, depending on the state's laws. The federal government has passed many laws on crimes punishable by capital punishment in federal situations. Almost all of these laws deal with murders related to various other crimes and differing circumstances, like rape or drive-by shooting. The only federal laws that allow capital punishment when no death has occurred involve kidnapping while robbing a bank, treason, and espionage. A few states allow the death penalty for rape, mostly for repeat offenders. Church's Major Points Concerning the Death Penalty

The Church agrees with the State that criminal behavior should be contained and controlled. The State has the right and the responsibility to penalize criminals in accordance with the gravity of the crime. The main goal of the penalty is to make amends for the problems caused by the criminal's behavior. If the criminal willing accepts the punishment, it also acts as spiritual penance for the crime. The punishment should correct the criminal's behavior in order to protect the public. If the person has been proven to be guilty and there is no other way of protecting other people from the aggressor, then the death penalty may be used. If, however, non-lethal means could correct the criminal's behavior, the State should not use capital punishment so as to preserve human dignity and do good. Because the State has so many choices to deal with the criminals' behavior and stop crime without using the death penalty, situations in which capital punishment is necessary is extremely rare, if not non-existent. Who are the supporters of the death penalty?

66% of American citizens support the death penalty. 80% of Republicans support it, while only 58% of Democrats do. 66% of Catholics are supporters while only 57% of those without religious preference. Finally, 59% of practicing Catholics support capital punishment, while 73% of non-practicing Catholics do. All data collected in 2004.

It is intriguing that those who are without religious preference, and presumably have a weak faith, are less in favor than Catholics. Of course, practicing Catholics are more likely to agree with the Church's teachings than those who are not, but still over half of practicing Catholics support the death penalty, which is not in line with the Catholic Church. Objections to Church's Teachings

The victims and their families deserve justice by the criminal's death. They believe what the criminal did was so inhumane that the only adequate punishment is death.

In Matthew 5:28-29, Jesus tells us that when someone hurts us in any way, we should not seek revenge. A criminal should only receive the punishment necessary to keep the public safe.

The death penalty saves lives.

Though capital punishment forever prevents the criminal from endangering the public again, a life is lost to save another. However, through a life sentence without parole, the criminal will be unable to hurt others while still perserving the sacredness of human life. Also, it allows the criminal an opportunity for redemption by finding God, saving his soul, and asking for forgiveness from the families of his victim.

By using the death penalty, money is saved that would have otherwise be spent to imprison the criminal for life.

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, it costs California approximately 90,000 dollars more per inmate per year on death row compared to life imprisonment without parole. The annual costs of the present death penalty system in California is 137 million dollars per year, compared to 11.5 million dollars per year for a system that uses life imprisonment without parole instead of capital punishment. Description of Capital Punishment and Necessity of Christian Response

Capital punishment is the sentencing of a convicted criminal to the death penalty. It is a rare but very serious punishment usually given to murderers when other options are not severe enough. Also, it is given to a person who is considered by society as too dangerous for life in prison without parole, but even then, it is still severe and inhumane. Of course, we humans should not have the right to decide when a fellow human life ends because that is God's domain. Christians need to respond so the world may know the injustice of the death penalty. This is a topic that cannot be overlooked because it makes us question society’s justification for capital punishment. When a criminal is executed, he loses the opportunity to reconcile himself with God. As Christians, we should afford people every chance to seek redemption.
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