"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Rendering Offenders Harmless, Part 48

8 California guards, 7 inmates injured in mass prison brawl at Pelican Bay state prison in California.
Several hundred of the prison's roughly 2,000 high-security inmates were in an exercise yard when two began fighting, she said. The melee began when the two prisoners refused to break up their fistfight despite guards' use of batons and pepper spray. Large groups of prisoners then ran toward the fight and attacked the guards. “We're encouraged that the officers weren't injured more than they were,” Thornton [the prison spokesman] said.
The Catechism tells us (#2267):
as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
What are these "possibilities" the state has for rendering offenders harmless? This, after all, is the condition precedent for not exercising the acknowledged right to resort to the death penalty.  Given all the examples I've cited of the failure of any possibilities I'm aware of to render offenders harmless, I have to conclude that whatever those possibilities are, since they are not effectual in the US, the limited, careful use of the death penalty we have in this country is in perfect accord with Catholic teaching.

Perhaps those who clamor for abolition could spend some time actually addressing the practical issues raised by the actual text of the Catechism, and show us which possibilities we have that would render offenders harmless. Until this is addressed, it seems that the abolition movement is just attempting to bypass the Church's stated teaching, not to implement it.

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