Christopher Blosser does another one of his excellent roundups, this time on capital punishment, the Church’s teaching, and Cardinal Renato Martino’s recent pronouncements on the subject. He starts by looking at a debate on other blogs about Martino’s comments with regard to Saddam Hussein’s sentencing and execution.
While also noting that the interpretation of John Paul II’s teaching on the death penalty in Evangelium Vitae is still being debated, he also asks—even if one says that JPII is saying that the death penalty is not allowable in today’s world—whether one may legitimately dissent from that assessment, if it is indeed a prudential judgment. He also looks into whether this is a development of doctrine or a reversal of doctrine as some say and notes the confusion of many, even very prominent and thoughtful, Catholics on the subject.
Chris then goes on to look at Cardinal Avery Dulles’ analysis of the current state of the debate and teaching and then winds up with a question of whether the death penalty, if one allows it at all, can ever have a retributive function and not just deterrent.
Wherever you stand on the debate, if you want to think or write about it seriously, you owe it to yourself to read the analysis.
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