The primary reasoning behind the tradition within the Church for thousands of years that supported capital punishment was the sacredness of human life created by God, and he who took the life of the innocent is subject to having his life taken by the state as punishment, as our Catechism notes:
2266. The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.
In light of this teaching (which we cover extensively in our book: Capital Punishment & Catholic Social Teaching: A Tradition of Support) to have Catholic leadership still calling for the abolition of capital punishment, while using the argument of the sacredness of the human life of the murderer, is diametrically opposed to the teaching expressed in the Catechism, but that is what is happening in Florida—and sadly, built upon the casually spoken words of the current and previous two popes who also called for abolition—as this story from the Catholic News Agency reports.
The bottom line is that the sacredness of the life of the innocent who has been murdered, trumps the right of the murderer to ask for his execution to be stopped due to the sacredness of his life.
Tallahassee, Fla., Sep 28, 2013 / 06:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As the scheduled execution date approaches for a Florida man convicted of murder, local Catholics are offering prayers and renewing their call for an end to the practice of the death penalty.
“Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a human dignity that is inherent in all persons,” said the Florida Catholic Conference in a Sept. 25 statement. “This dignity, instilled by our Creator, is neither earned nor can it be forfeited.”
The conference urged Florida Governor Rick Scott to spare the life of Marshall Gore, who is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 1 for the murder of Susan Roark and Robyn Novick.
While voicing “profound sadness” over the murders and praying that the victims’ “families are able to realize true peace and healing,” the Florida Catholic Conference warned that “Mr. Gore’s execution serves only to further distort society’s understanding of the sacredness of all human life.”