The Catholic Church and the Death Penalty

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By boothroyd
Words 1629
Pages 7
Introduction/Thesis Statement
History of Capital Punishment a.k.a. the Death Penalty
B. The Catholic Church and the Death Penalty
Works Cited

Christine Boothroyd
Professor Doris Neuzil
REL 401 - The Catholic Tradition
September 24, 2011

The History of the Catholic Church and the Death Penalty

The Ten Commandments, principles issued by God for us to live our lives by, includes one that states – “Thou Shall Not Kill.” However, on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, two men in the United States were executed – Mr. Troy Davis in Georgia, and Mr. Lawrence Brewer in Texas. (Jonsson) While the approaching execution of Mr. Brewer was almost unmentioned, the approaching execution of Mr. Davis garnered much public attention with many believing his claims of innocence. According to an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, this public attention included world leaders, a former president and Pope Benedict XVI - the head of the Catholic Church. (Jonsson) Pope Benedict without a doubt was against not only Mr. Davis’ execution but that of Mr. Brewer’s as well. With the Catholic Church against the taking of another life, what exactly is the history of the Catholic Church and the death penalty?
The Death Penalty, also known as capital punishment, can be traced back to the Eighteenth Century B.C. in Babylon and the first recorded execution in what eventually would become the United States dates back to 1608. (Death Penalty Information Center) Back in the colonial times, the laws were different from colony to colony as to how severe the crime had to be in order to receive a punishment of the death penalty. In some colonies, treason was a punishable offense, as well as “stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians,” and in other colonies “striking one’s mother or father, or denying the true God” (Death Penalty…...

Similar Documents

Death Penalty

...while others believe life imprisonment is suffice. The Catholic Church condemns this type of punishment but those who have been victimized are crying for justice. Another argument is that the methods used for capital punishment is against the Eight Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. My intentions for this paper are to present and analyze both sides of the argument. Is the death penalty immoral or is it immoral not to impose it?   Introduction Capital punishment, also known as the death, has been one of the most controversial issue currently still under fire about its morality. Many believe it is both unethical and morally wrong for the government to take one’s life while others believe capital punishment is right and is needed to the deterrence of crime. This is a very controversial issue and brings up many different points of views from many different people. Some argue that murderers should be executed and pay for the crimes they’ve committed while others believe life imprisonment is suffice. The Catholic Church condemns this type of punishment but those who have been victimized, including their families, are crying for justice to be served. Another argument is that the methods used for capital punishment is against the Eight Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Is the death penalty immoral or is it immoral not to impose it? This paper will present and analyze both sides of the argument. The death penalty is legal in 34 states and illegal in 16 states. ......

Words: 1373 - Pages: 6

Is the Death Penalty Ethical

...Is the Death Penalty Ethical?             It is clear in our society that violent crimes, such as murder, should carry some sort of stiffer punishment than that of other, lesser crimes.  What is not clear is what that punishment should be.  One punishment that is a constant source of debate is the death penalty.  In this paper, I will examine whether the death penalty is or is not ethical.  Both sides of the issue will be explained, through examination of various aspects of it, which include religious and financial considerations, whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not, and whether or not it can be regarded as justice.  I submit that the death penalty is an ethical and equitable punishment for murderers, and should be used throughout our country.              The seemingly greatest amount of debate comes from a religious standpoint.  Depending on whose interpretation one hears, the Bible is for or against capital punishment.  Verses from The Bible are used by both sides of the argument to support their own beliefs.  The United States is made up of numerous different religious cultures.  A sample of a few official policies from some denominations’ web sites shows an almost fifty-fifty split for and against.  For example, the Assemblies of God (USA) do not take a stance for or against the death penalty.  The same is true for the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints, who say that it should be left to “…the prescribed processes of civil law.”(November 28, 2011).  The...

Words: 2461 - Pages: 10

Death Penalty

...Marc Habbaki 9/1/2012 I.D.: 12090561 Death Penalty Is death penalty served as a justified and valid form of punishment? There are two arguments for this topic with a lot of different reasons and explanations .One says prevention, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. However, c0rime is an evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. In several parts of the world, the death penalty has been apportioned to those who have committed a variety of felonies. The Roman Empire made use of the death penalty liberally, as did the Church of the Middle Ages. As history tells us, capital punishment is an acceptable and efficient means of deterring crime. Today, the death penalty remains an effective method of punishment for murder and other terrible crimes because it helps lower the rate of violent crimes, makes the streets safer and provides us a better environment to live in. People will rob, take advantage of others, and commit crimes as long as it is in their best interest to do so. The purpose of our entire criminal justice system is to protect the rights of life, freedom, and property for all its citizens. To be able to accomplish this, the punishment for crime must be harsh enough to deter potential criminals. Under this mindset, the death penalty makes perfect sense because it truly makes a criminal pay for his crime and......

Words: 1574 - Pages: 7

Catholic Church

...On November 1, 2008, I was able to visit the Pilgrims Rest Baptist church in Phoenix, AZ. through getting the church i started talking with some youth that were peresent for the program and seemed like the conference. One of the youth told me that,"This Friday evening was unlike any I have ever experience before. The building was two stories high and can be easily confused to be an office building, except for the cross that haned on the facade." After a while somebody very friendly came to us. he was one of the greeters. Upon entering the facility, greeters welcomed me into the Worship center and escorted me to the sanctuary where the ushers then escort me to my seat. The sanctuary is in a mini U shape, it has the pulpit in the center with all the pews surrounding it, which allows for a good visual from any angle. They had banners with vibrant colors flowing in the air through out the sanctuary. On this night, their main speaker is the visiting Bishop Blake of the Church of God in Christ. The sanctuary quickly filled with lots of people being assembled into the sanctuary like a herd of sheep. People had come from all over to worship the Lord with the man of God. The thunder of the Prayer set the tone for the evening. The instrumentals that were located on the left side of the pulpit, where the music sounded like thunder and lightning bouncing back and forth off the walls. Because of the vibrations, it was hard to remain seated. The choir is located in the back of the pulpit......

Words: 498 - Pages: 2

The Death Penalty

...The Death Penalty Lucious Davis PHI200: Mind and Machine Instructor: Michelle Loudermilk October 10, 2011 The United States is still one of the countries that still use the death penalty as punishment for crimes. While some see it as barbaric and totally against American values, others view it as an important deterrent to violent crimes- such as murder. Regardless of which side you are on, one thing is for sure- the debate isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Capital punishment, another name for the death penalty, has been present in the United States since 1608. This is the process by which a person a person is tried and put to death for crimes they have committed. The list of crimes that are punishable by death vary from state to state (the U.S. government and the U.S. military have their own criteria), as well as the methods used for execution. Lethal injection is the standard for execution, but there are several other methods used, including: electrocution, hanging, and death by firing squad. Although every state does not employ the death penalty- a vast majority do. Along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. government, 36 states currently have the power to execute inmates. Through the centuries there has been endless debate about the morality, legality, and constitutionality of capital punishment. For many (and for my paper’s sake) the debate is whether or not the death penalty is ethical. Specifically, is it ethical to put someone to death......

Words: 2978 - Pages: 12

Catholic Church

...Roman Catholicism, Christian church that has been the decisive spiritual force in the history of Western civilization. Along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism, it is one of the three major branches of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church traces its history to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Over the course of centuries it developed a highly sophisticated theology and an elaborate organizational structure headed by the papacy, the oldest continuing absolute monarchy in the world. The number of Roman Catholics in the world (nearly 1.1 billion) is greater than that of nearly all other religious traditions. There are more Roman Catholics than all other Christians combined and more Roman Catholics than all Buddhists or Hindus. Although there are more Muslims than Roman Catholics, the number of Roman Catholics is greater than that of the individual traditions of Shīʿite and Sunni Islam. These incontestable statistical and historical facts suggest that some understanding of Roman Catholicism—its history, its institutional structure, its beliefs and practices, and its place in the world—is an indispensable component of cultural literacy, regardless of how one may individually answer the ultimate questions of life and death and faith. Without a grasp of what Roman Catholicism is, it is difficult to make historical sense of the Middle Ages, intellectual sense of the works of Thomas Aquinas, literary sense of The Divine Comedy of Dante, artistic sense of the Gothic......

Words: 1257 - Pages: 6

Gay Rights and the Catholic Church

...Sochi, Gay Rights and the Catholic Church The Sochi Olympics like many Games that preceded it, is symbolic of human endurance and excellence, where thousands of athletes travel across the globe, to compete under the banner of their respective nations. While the Olympics are undoubtedly a showcase of individual pursuits of glory, the cultural significance of this event cannot and should never be underestimated. The Olympics could be described as a cataloged history of nations coming together under the five ‘interlocking’ rings, to collaborate and celebrate on a world stage. It is a chance to reflect on the differences and uniqueness of all those who attend, and to put aside the political, cultural and religious discontent that can often impose itself on the global community. Unfortunately for many of us, these games did not symbolize the progress we have made in this respect, but came to symbolize the morally reprehensible position of the Kremlin’s position on Homosexuality, and its authoritarian reaction to individual and groups who questioned the legitimacy of their laws. It also highlighted through the inaction of the global community, a sinister pervasiveness of homophobia throughout the world. During one of the many debates that often ensue during my history class; the topic of homosexual rights was put to the class. What transpired from this debate was a series of thought provoking questions that inspired me to write this particular article. Upon conducting my own......

Words: 1029 - Pages: 5

Death Penalty

...Ferdinand Marcos, who was ironically himself sentenced to death in 1939 for murder of Julio Nalundasan—the political rival of his father, Mariano; the young Ferdinand was acquitted on appeal. A well-publicised triple execution took place in May 1972, when Jaime José, Basilio Pineda, and Edgardo Aquino were electrocuted for the 1967 abduction and gang-rape of the young actress Maggie dela Riva. The executions were ordered broadcast on national television. Under the Marcos regime, drug trafficking also became punishable with death by firing squad, such as the case with Lim Seng, whose execution in December 1972 was also ordered broadcast on national television. Future President and then Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, General Fidel V. Ramos, was present at the execution. The electric chair was used until 1976, when execution by firing squad eventually replaced it as the sole method of execution. Under Marcos' 20-year authoritarian rule, however, countless more people were summarily executed, tortured, or simply disappeared for opposition to his rule. After Marcos was deposed in 1986, the newly-drafted 1987 Constitution limited the application of the death penalty to only a few crimes. This meant that it was abolished in practice, making the Philippines the first Asian country to do so. Reinstatement and moratorium President Fidel V. Ramos promised during his campaign that he would support the reintroduction of the death penalty in response to increasing crime rates.......

Words: 4459 - Pages: 18

Death Penalty

...Death Penalty In 1991, Cameron Todd Willingham had been accused of murder of his three daughters by burning down his house. There was no physical evidence of this accusation, and he pleaded not guilty time and time again. Yet in 2004, Willingham was put to death. After his execution, the case was investigated, and the truth was uncovered. He was innocent like he had been pleading all along (Grann). Is the death penalty really worth the risk of killing an innocent person? Today, the death penalty remains a method of punishing for murder and other heinous crimes. But is this really the most effective method to stop people from committing a crime? Arguments on whether the death penalty serves as a valid and justifies form of punishment continual to spread on in today’s society. One says it is a form of justice and punishment, when the other side says execution is an act of murder. But since the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime, it has a much higher cost than keeping the criminal in prison, and the belief is true because our society is much more highly evolved, therefore, the death penalty should be abolished. The death penalty was supposed to decrease homicides, but there is no evidence that has proved this theory. Most people who commit murders either do not expect to be caught or do not carefully think through the differences between an execution and life in prison before they act. Studies have also find out that states without the death penalty have......

Words: 988 - Pages: 4

Corruption of Catholic Church

...Miranda Coker Mrs. Ashley Coker English IV Honors 9 January 2015 The Corruption of the Medieval Catholic Church in The Canterbury Tales In the Fourteenth Century, the Catholic Church took over Ireland, England, and almost all of Europe. Through a number of Crusades, which spanned about two hundred years, the church acquired a great amount of wealth. As a result of this tremendous accumulation of wealth, as well as an over emphasis on lavish places of worship, cathedrals were built in all of the larger cities. However, the communities of the middle and lower class in society suffered from poverty, resulting in sickness and death (“Greed and Corruption in The Canterbury Tales” 1). Why sit back, turn a deaf ear, and watch the people suffer and die while spending a fortune on places of worship? This is most likely the reason why Geoffrey Chaucer portrays some characters in The Canterbury Tales, such as the Pardoner, Friar, and Monk, as being greedy and often hypocritical. The Pardoner is a perfect example of this corruption. His work in the church is to hear the confessions of wrong-doers and pardon them of their sins. As he travels, he confesses to using a particular tale to manipulate his audiences. The Pardoner explains that he pushes guilt into the people by telling them that greed is the root of all evil, in order to coax them into giving him offerings. These offerings go directly into his greedy hands. Hardly a man of God, he demonstrates or reveals his......

Words: 661 - Pages: 3

Death Penalty

...Denied: The Effects Being Ignored Death by lethal injection, death by electrocution, or any form of the death penalty given that people find to be fit for capital crimes is not a human’s right. We as humans do not have the right to end someone’s life based on the fact that they committed a crime. We have to take into accountability the countless amounts of lives that are impacted by this. Even on the international level, there are hundreds of countries who have abolished the death penalty completely. There is more to this than others think, yet they do not take the time to research or study the adverse effects of what this kind of punishment can cause. The death penalty violates the human right to life and causes a ripple effect that destroys the lives of the families of the individuals being executed. Death penalty supporters can be very profound with their opinions on what they believe is an excellent crime deterrent. In an article written for the Journal of Criminal Justice between May and June 2009, one of the authors by the name Shanhe Jiang stated, “Supporters of the death penalty argue that sentencing criminals to death deters others from committing a similar crime in the future.” He states that future crimes could indeed be deterred because of the continued support for the death penalty. In many cases, people see the death penalty as a form to punish those who commit murder, mass murder, rape and any other crime that warrants death. Supporters of this crime......

Words: 2025 - Pages: 9

Death Penalty

...Death Penalty A matter of one minute could save a life. One living – or rather, dying – example was that of Eduardo Agbayani’s death execution for raping his teenage daughter. In June 25, 1999, the then President Erap Estrada announced the execution of Agbayani at three in the afternoon that day. An article posted in the Cable News Network (CNN) website, a 24-hour American cable channel, stated that at the last minute, Estrada decided to postpone the execution after receiving an appeal from Bishop Teodoro Bacani. He tried calling the prison officials, but only received busy signals and fax tones. Calling from home, Estrada then realized he was not using a direct line specially used for last-minute postponement of execution. When finally connected at 3:12 PM, Agbayani was already pronounced dead at 3:11 PM. It was a difference of a single minute, but in this case, one life has failed to be saved. In a publication released by the Philippine Statistics Authority entitled “Philippines in Figures”, records showed that the over-all reported crimes ballooned from 217,812 in 2012 to 1,161,188 in 2014. At the first half of 2015 alone, the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management revealed that the total crimes were reported to increase by 46% from 603,085 cases in 2014 to 885,445 cases last year. Thus, the Philippines 2015 Crime and Safety Report identified the country’s crime rating as ‘high’. Such drastic increase in crime rates in the Philippines, especially the...

Words: 1299 - Pages: 6

The Death Penalty

...THE DEATH PENALTY Death penalty is an issue that brings a lot of controversy in our society, this is an important topic because the life of a person is on the hands of a group of people that decide whether this individual should live or die. Different opinions exist in our society about this action, because some citizens believe that these murderers should pay with their lives for the crimes they committed. On the other hand, another group of people think that the death penalty is a cruel and unnecessary punishment that should not exist, because two wrongs does not make one right. If we kill a person no matter what crime he or she committed, we become murderers. Anthony G. Amsterdam wrote in his article Capital Punishment “death penalty is a fancy phrase for legally killing people” and I agree with his statement. The principle of an eye for an eye should not exist, because the criminal will never learn the lesson that he or she did a big mistake, further more this criminal will not get a chance to redeem himself or herself. Is our court system perfect? The answer is no. What happens if the system finds somebody guilty of a crime by mistake? And this person is sentenced to death. As a society what should we do if after somebody was kill under the death penalty and new evidence shows that he or she was innocent? For example “Timothy Evans, an innocent man whose execution was among the reasons for the abolition of the death penalty in Great Britain”. A mistake of this......

Words: 652 - Pages: 3

Death Penalty

...Rose March 20, 2009 All Holy Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible '95 unless otherwise noted. Capital punishment is an issue that affects the United States in many ways, and even to a larger extent the world. Many industrialized nations have forgone capital punishment as a tool in their criminal justice system. In the United States, 38 states still have provisions in their penal code that allow capital punishment in various forms, in various circumstances and with various populations. Capital punishment--death penalty--is argued by both sides of the issue for diverse reasons. The death penalty may be opposed by some by stating it is considered cruel and unusual punishment (which is in violation to our Constitution). Others would argue that because our legal system is not perfect we should not risk putting to death someone who may be innocent. On the reverse side, the two most common reasons to support the death penalty would be first, it is a just punishment and acts as a deterrent for further crimes that meet that nature. Still others argue the "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" argument; which is biblically based but certainly out of context in this argument. An important question is "where might a Christian come down on this issue?" The answer is not as easy as one might expect. This pastor will attempt to answer that very question using The Sermon on the Mount, and additionally the texts, Ethics, Choosing The Good and evangelical......

Words: 2882 - Pages: 12

The Death Penalty

...The Death Penalty The death penalty is a just and proper punishment Today, one of the most debated issues in the criminal justice system is the issue of capital punishment or the death penalty. Capital punishment was legal until 1972, when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia stating that it violated the Eight and Fourteen Amendments citing cruel and unusual punishment. However, in 1976, the Supreme Court reversed itself with Gregg v. Georgia and reinstated the death penalty, but not all states have the death penalty. There are currently 35 states with the death penalty and 15 states that do not have it. When the word death penalty is used, it stirs up a lot of debates from both the people that agree versus the ones that do not. One side may say it acts as deterrence from others to not commit crimes, while the other side may say, but it may take the life of an innocent man. Federal, state, and local officials need to recognize that the death penalty saves lives. How capital punishment affects murder rates can be explained through general deterrence theory, which supposes that increasing the risk of apprehension and punishment for crime deters individuals from committing crime. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker's seminal 1968 study of the economics of crime assumed that individuals respond to the costs and benefits of committing crime. According to deterrence theory, criminals are no different from law-abiding people. Criminals......

Words: 1829 - Pages: 8