In Korea the Church continues to encourage Catholics to work for the eradication of capital punishment. Several organizations met recently, putting aside their religious beliefs and ideologies, to discuss the inhumanity of capital punishment and the justification for its abrogation.
Ending the death
penalty is equivalent to promoting the dignity and protection of life.
The Church has continually worked toward this end and, along with many
others, raised its voice against the practice. Recently, 175
members of the 17th National Assembly were ready to vote for the
abrogation but time and problems prevented the success of the attempt.
The editorial in the Catholic Times noted that popular feeling at present would probably be against abrogating the punishment because of a horrible murder recently publicized, upsetting many and no doubt convincing them that the death penalty is a necessary deterrent to such crimes.
As Christians we base the way we see capital punishment, not on any news story, but
on the Gospel teaching. In addition, it has been long known that
according to many studies the death penalty does not diminish the number
of these crimes.
During the seminar, it was mentioned that fewer countries are using the
death penalty than in the past. In 2011, among 198 countries, only 20
continue to use the death penalty. We are likely to see this trend to end capital punishment continue into the future.
rid of the death penalty does not mean, of course, the end of penalties for
crimes. Isolating the criminal from society is still accomplished by serving time in prison, and for serious crimes, sentencing for life behind bars. The concern of the editorial was to explain clearly the life issues that are involved when a country legalizes the taking of a human life, and why we need to support the efforts to bring an end to this inhuman practice.