Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Death Penalty

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.

Getting 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.

1 comment:

  1. The death penalty was used over 500 times in the papal states between 1800 and 1850 and was affirmed by Pius XII in 1952...since the New Testament affirms it in Romans 13:4. Abolishing it in some countries, not so much Korea, will get inmates murdered by other life sentence inmates.
    The US has c.70 inmate on inmate murders per year inside prison which exceeds the number executed by the government per year. An unrepentant lifer in a prison gang can murder in prison and e.g. the state of New Jersey can do nothing more to him beyond the life sentence he is already serving. Fr. Geoghan and Jeffrey Dahmer were both murdered in prison by lifer inmates in states where the death penalty was abolished. As Catholicism abolishes the death penalty, she will be making inter prison murders easier.