In the United States only 38 states have capital punishment statutes.

For capital punishment provides the murdererwith incentive to repentance which the ordinary man does not have, thatis a definite date on which he is to meet his God.

why are we the only first world country that still has capital punishment.

This brings us to Fastiggi’s treatment of various other papal statements on the subject of capital punishment, which, like his citations from the Fathers, is selective. As I noted in , Pope Francis’s recent remarks on capital punishment are ambiguous. Some things he says seem to imply a reversal of the traditional teaching that capital punishment is legitimate at least in principle, whereas other things point in the opposite direction. As I noted in , even the pope’s defenders don’t agree among themselves about what he is really saying. In , Joe Bessette and I show that Pope Francis’s other remarks about capital punishment over the last few years exhibit a similar ambiguity.


Scripture and the Fathers on Capital Punishment

It is a question most people have the answer for when it comes to capital punishment.

The act of capital punishment has been around ever since the birth of civilization, even though the method had change throughout the centuries but the idea is still the same, it is a way of punishment for heavy offended crimes.


2) Do you agree with capital punishment

But beyond this, the paucity of Church Fathers who were opposed to capital punishment seems outweighed by later doctrinal development as evidenced by my second quote. How do you square such later development which found capital punishment licit with the recent pronouncement of Francis as “…contrary to the Gospel.”? How does the Spirit move back and forth?

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You seem to miss my point. The statements you quote don’t qualify as definitive, infallible statements. Popes are only bound by the deposit of faith and prior infallible judgments about what is contained in the deposit of faith. I am simply questioning whether Feser et al. have demonstrated an infallible doctrinal tradition on the legitimacy of the death penalty. I also think the claim of a 2,000 year old tradition is overblown. Some of the early Fathers were clearly opposed to Christian involvement with capital punishment. They did not challenge the right of the State to execute because they were under the imperial rule of Rome.

The Clark County Prosecutor's Death Penalty Links

This is just a simple statement of fact. Not everyone agrees with Feser and Bessette that the legitimacy in principle of capital punishment “is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy” (By Man Shall His Blood be Shed, p. 122). In their book, Feser and Bessette bring forth many examples manifesting a widespread consensus (sententia communis) in favor of capital punishment’s legitimacy in the Catholic tradition. These examples are noteworthy, but they do not, in my opinion, demonstrate a definitive, infallible judgment on the part of the Magisterium in favor of the legitimacy of the death penalty. I explain this in more depth in my article, “Capital Punishment, the Magisterium, and Religious Assent,” Josephinum Journal of Theology Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer/ Fall, 2005), 192-213.

Hanging Concentrates the Mind - Crisis Magazine

With all due respect to Dr. Feser, most of his comments betray a failure to grasp fully the points I made in reply to Eduardo Echeverria’s Oct. 15 article on Pope Francis and capital punishment. As I wrote: “Regarding prior teaching on capital punishment, much depends on whether it is definitive or subject to change and development. Not everyone agrees with Feser, Bessette, and Cardinal Dulles that the liceity of the death penalty is settled doctrine. Some believe that the historic recognition of the penalty’s legitimacy is more like a sententia communis rather than a definitive teaching.”