Benedict’s ‘Well Done’

The National Catholic Register ran a good editorial recently explaining the Church’s opposition to the death penalty.

Some Catholics has dismissed this opposition saying it is a break with traditional Catholic teaching and therefore the personal opinions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The Register rightly points out that “It’s not a break, but a further development of a longstanding moral precept in the Church: You must never kill if you don’t have to.”

Capital punishment, while unfortunately necessary in some cases (Osama Bin Laden, I’m looking at you), should be restricted only to those cases where absolutely necessary. Unnecessary killing hardens the souls of both those who do it and those who support it. God’s mercy is available to all and all should be allowed to receive it. Who are we to deny them that mercy?

On a political level, as a conservative, I don’t want the government deciding to end life. The right to life is the underpinning of all other rights; if we’re not allowed to live, what do freedom of speech or property rights matter? Given government’s inherent tendency to grow in power, do we really want to grant them this power, the power to take our lives?

Plus, with today’s technology, we can much more successfully than in the past keep society safe from the most hardened criminals. The answer isn’t in killing more people, but in makiing sure the worst ciminal elements are kept off the streets.

The death penalty is not needed in today’s society and therefore should not be used.