Essay about Capital Punishment and Catholics

1755 Words Oct 18th, 2011 8 Pages
Capital punishment throughout history has had many faces in our society. In the early twentieth century capital punishment was viewed as an integral part of the criminal justice system. In the United States alone approximately thirteen thousand people have been legally executed sine the colonial times (ACLU, 2003). By the 1930's up to 150 people were executed yearly, because of various legal challenges the execution rate was almost zero by 1967. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the practice of capital punishment, citing the death penalty as it was practiced, cruel and unusual punishment arbitrarily administered by the courts and thus unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia (Costanzo, 18). In 1976, in Gregg v. Georgia, the Supreme …show more content…
More recently, on Sept. 13, 2000, Pope John Paul II expressed to the general audience in St. Peter's Square, "that there no longer be recourse to capital punishment, given that states today have the means to efficaciously control crime, without definitively taking away an offender's possibility to redeem himself." Again Pope John Paul II in a homily at a Jan. 27, 1999 Papal Mass in St. Louis, termed the death penalty as "both cruel and unnecessary," and went on to say: "The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will acclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform." In a declaration to the first World Congress on the Death Penalty held June 21-23, 2001 in Strasbourg, France, the Vatican termed the death penalty "a sign of desperation," and said it pursued the abolition of capital

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