Lopez: Whenever I write about Catholics and abortion, I am immediately asked, "What about war? What about the death penalty?” What about them? Can a Catholic vote for Senator “Surge”? We have killed people in Iraq, after all.
Archbishop Chaput [Archbishop of Denver]: I’ve written and spoken against the death penalty for more than 30 years. And along with most other American bishops, I opposed our intervention in Iraq. But these issues are different in kind, not merely degree, from the violence involved in abortion. Anyone rooted in Scripture and Catholic tradition will understand the distinction if he or she reasons honestly. Genocide, euthanasia, abortion, and deliberately targeting civilians in war — these things are always grievously wrong. But in Catholic thought, war and capital punishment can be morally legitimate under certain carefully defined circumstances. Abortion is never morally justified.
It we can't render offenders harmless through some means (and we can't, at least reliably), then the state may justly execute those who will constitute a threat to public safety.