To which Mr. Shea supplies the question-begging assertion that “killing people who do not need to be killed is grave matter.” He goes on to state what he views to be the division between “death penalty advocates” and the “approach of the church:”
the question the death penalty advocate is constantly asking is “When do we get to kill somebody?” (That, by the way, is the entire subtext of your letter.)
The approach the Church always takes is “How can we possibly avoid taking human life if at all possible?” The whole thrust and approach is different and is ordered toward mercy and redemption. The goal is not to cross all the ts and dot all the i’s and get through all the proper hoops so that (at last!) we can kill somebody and feel terrific about it. The goal is to find a way toward seeing, if at all possible, that human life–yes, even guilty human life–might be spared and redeemed.
It must be mentally and emotionally taxing to know what the Church really teaches, yet want desperately for it to be otherwise. Perhaps this explains some of the off-the-rails abusive rhetoric employed by Mr. Shea.