Thursday 28th May 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101… “Can You Be Pro-Life And Support Capital Punishment?”

July 2, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By BRIAN CLOWES

(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of all Culture of Life 101 articles so far with footnotes, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.)

+    +    +

“If the deliberate extinguishment of human life has any effect at all, it more likely tends to lower our respect for life and brutalize our values” — Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, architect of Roe v. Wade, on capital punishment.

+    +    +

Pro-abortionists sometimes link the issues of abortion and capital punishment in their debates, literature, and propaganda campaigns. Their goal is to try to make pro-life activists look inconsistent because we allegedly support the death penalty and therefore do not really value all human life. This is an extension of the tired old slogan that we only care for people until they’re born and then forget about them.
But the only scientific study ever performed on this topic showed that a much greater proportion of pro-abortionists support the death penalty than do pro-lifers. This means that pro-abortionists are being consistent, because they favor death for the born as well as the unborn, and for the guilty as well as for the innocent.
This study revealed that 26 percent of pro-lifers agreed that “capital punishment should never be used,” while only six percent of pro-abortionists agreed. Fifty-four percent of pro-lifers agreed that “capital punishment should be used for a heinous crime,” while a whopping 83 percent of pro-abortionists agreed. And, most revealingly, only eight percent of pro-lifers answered that they would be an executioner, while 22 percent of pro-abortionists said that they would.
Since 1936, Gallup polls have shown that a solid majority of Americans favor the death penalty for murder. Republicans favor the death penalty more often than Democrats, but activist pro-lifers oppose it more frequently than pro-abortionists. The systemic hypocrisy of pro-abortion leaders becomes glaringly evident here; they claim that a majority of Americans are “pro-choice,” so abortion should remain legal. But even though a consistently large majority of Americans favor the death penalty, pro-abortionists say that it should be abolished.
Gallup polls have also shown that 65 percent of people who attend church weekly support the death penalty, while 71 percent of the people who never set foot inside a church support it. Not surprisingly, practicing Catholics are much more likely to oppose capital punishment than non-practicing Catholics, by a margin of 37 to 23 percent.
Some pro-abortion propagandists try to peddle the myth that most pro-lifers are “eye for an eye”-type Old Testament Christians, but only about three to five percent of Americans mention the Bible as a justification for the death penalty.
Repeated extensive surveys show pro-lifers in general are more concerned about all of the major social issues — child abuse, drug abuse, alcoholism, homelessness, hunger, racism, and even overpopulation — than pro-abortionists.
Some of the most radical activist pro-abortionists claim to be against capital punishment, claiming that it should never be used. But, of course, they have their exceptions. When Paul Hill went on trial for the murder of John Britton and James Barrett, many pro-abortionists vocally demanded his execution. The same occurred when Eric Rudolph went on trial for the Olympic Park and abortion mill bombings in 2005.
And Lynne Slepian, widow of murdered abortionist Barnett Slepian, said that his killer James Kopp should not only be executed, but tortured as well: “I’d like to see him dead, but I don’t want him to have the luxury of having a quick, painless death. I’d like to see a slow, painful death. Lethal injection is too good for him.”
The hypocrisy does not end there. The same people who push so hard for abortion and euthanasia under the rationale that people ought to be able to “control their own bodies” vigorously oppose even the execution of those few inmates who want to be put to death.
Vivid contrasts between the death penalty and abortion: To begin with, the preborn baby has committed no harm against anyone, while those who receive the death penalty have been convicted of the most heinous of crimes — often under aggravating circumstances such as extreme sadism or torture. Some may argue that the preborn baby commits harm against the mother just by existing, but this heartless argument completely neglects the fact that the intent to harm is not present.
Second, the murderer has been tried by a jury with a judge presiding, and has an attorney defending him. There are always multiple automatic appeals in a capital case. But the preborn has no jury, no judge, no attorney, and has not even been charged with a crime. He is simply sentenced to death by the mother (or others forcing her to have the abortion), and the abortionist carries out the execution, which is always cruel and unusual.
The execution of a killer is a matter of utmost gravity. It is true that some innocent people have been executed, but it is also true that the judicial system has expended great efforts in discerning his guilt. On the other hand, almost all abortions are committed for economic or social reasons. If we applied the same philosophy toward crime, all of our jails would be empty, because the death penalty would be automatically applied to such petty crimes as larceny and littering.
After considering these differences, can anyone say that abortion is the lesser wrong or the more just alternative? And what kind of person would have more sympathy for a murderer convicted under aggravating circumstances than for an innocent child?
We should ask a person holding such views if they would accept a deal: an absolute ban on capital punishment in exchange for an absolute ban on abortion. A pro-abortionist will always refuse such a deal, showing that pro-aborts care much more about their own convenience than they do for the very lives of the murderers they claim to care so much about.

Pope St. John Paul II

Church teaching on capital punishment: Pro-abortionists would have the public believe that pro-lifers in particular and Christians in general are monsters who demand the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes. In reality, the Catholic Church teaches that nobody has the right to take the life of an innocent person, whether it be by act of war, capital punishment, or abortion. However, if a murderous aggressor simply cannot be deterred from his or her activities, the state has the right to carry out the death penalty.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against an unjust aggressor” (n. 2267).
Pope St. John Paul II emphasized that the death penalty should be used very sparingly indeed, and even then in the most extreme cases:
“Today, in fact, 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 definitively 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’” (Evangelium Vitae, n. 56).
Some people from ersatz “religious” pro-abortion groups like Catholics for (a Free) Choice and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice claim that abortion is permissible because it is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. These same people are also mostly opposed to capital punishment of guilty murderers, but seem to ignore the fact that the Bible has many passages supporting the practice.
This inconsistency is entirely typical of pro-abortionists: They lean on the Bible only when it allegedly supports their position, but unhesitatingly reject it when it condemns their activities or does not agree with them.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

UN Official Reports on Islamic State’s “War on Women”

A United Nations official has painted a chilling picture of how the Islamic State group oversees a vast network of sexual slavery, including an elaborate pricing system, violent treatment by slave masters and casual branding of female bodies and reselling…Continue Reading

Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions

ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the…Continue Reading

Ireland has voted to legalize gay marriage, both sides say

DUBLIN (AP) — Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world’s first national vote on the issue. As the official ballot counting continued,…Continue Reading

Vatican’s eco guru champions Occupy Wall Street thugs

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Jeffrey Sachs wears many hats. He is known as the architect of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and the proponent of the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His new book, entitled, (what else) The…Continue Reading

Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders. Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA…Continue Reading

Federal Court Forces University of Notre Dame to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the University of Notre Dame to get out of having to comply with the pro-abortion HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare and requires businesses and church groups to pay…Continue Reading

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in…Continue Reading

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand. The…Continue Reading

Africa’s experience of family life must be heard at synod, Pope tells Togo’s bishops

Pope Francis received Togo’s bishops in audience on May 11 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The West African nation of 6.8 million is 20% Muslim, 15% Protestant, and 14% Catholic, with approximately half of the…Continue Reading

The eco-encyclical won’t commit the Church to unsettled science

By the time the environment encyclical of Pope Francis is released, it will be anti-climactic. Not anti-climate change to be sure, as the Holy See is certainly enthusiastic about the issue. Actually, it is against climate change, but enthusiastic about…Continue Reading

“America’s Changing Religious Landscape.”

The Pew Research Center just released its latest study on “America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” The subtitle tells the story: “Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow.” For our purposes, I want to focus…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal sees no change in family teachings at synod

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A senior Vatican cardinal predicted Saturday that there will be no change in the Catholic Church‘s practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues. Cardinal…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope: coherent Christians draw people to Christ

pope788

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ homily this morning focused on the Gospel account of Bartimaeus, the blind man who cried out to Jesus to be healed, and whom the disciples called to be silent. The Gospel led the Holy Father to reflect on three different groups of Christians. First, there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a “closed, selfish” relationship, who do not hear the cries of others: “This group…Continue Reading

Pope speaks with open heart to Argentinean newspaper

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that being with people does him good. In a long and very personal interview with Juan Beretta, a reporter from the Argentinean newspaper “La Voz Del Pueblo”, the Pope speaks of his feelings of when he was elected Pope, of how he misses walking the streets, using public transport and sitting down for a pizza, of how he feels moved and sad when he meets sick children, prison inmates and…Continue Reading

Pope: worldly Christians can’t have both heaven and earth

pope787

(Vatican Radio)  It’s sad to see a Christian who wants to “follow Jesus and the things of this world.” That’s what Pope Francis said at Tuesday morning’s Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, stressing that a Christian is called to make a radical choice in life:  you can’t be “half” Christian or have both “heaven and earth.” In his homily Pope Francis reflects on Peter’s query to Jesus:  what would he and the disciples get…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: the gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth

pope786

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis against the backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica and dressed in scarlet vestments, celebrated Mass on Pentecost Sunday. In his homily, the Holy Father began by focusing on Sunday’s readings saying that, “the word of God, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit. Expanding on this theme of the Spirit, Pope Francis said that, in the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How Many People Are Homosexuals?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + “Homosexuality is one in 10. It’s one in 10 on the football team. It’s one in 10 on the baseball team. It’s one in 10 on the softball team. It’s one in…Continue Reading

It Is A Christian Country: At Least It Used To Be

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK I realize that there are intelligent commentators on the right who are convinced that homosexual activists are pushing for the day when Christian churches will be compelled by law to perform same-sex marriages. I may be wrong, but I do not think that we will see that dictate anytime soon. It…Continue Reading

Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth

By DONALD DeMARCO Commutative justice demands that we repay what we owe. If I owe my brother $10, I should pay him $10. Justice in this sense is a proportion between the debt and the repayment. It is morally and often legally binding. There is a similar proportion on a higher level though it does…Continue Reading

Intense Conflicts . . . Is The Catholic Church In Germany In Danger Of Apostasy?

By MAIKE HICKSON For several weeks now, the German Catholics — bishops and laymen alike — have been in debate and disagreement over Catholic moral teaching and its continuing validity for Catholics today. After the German Bishops’ Conference came out on April 16 with its report to be sent to Rome for the upcoming October…Continue Reading

The Obama-Boehner-McConnell “Fast Track” To A Poorer America

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama is negotiating a multilateral trade agreement with the governments of 11 nations. These include Malaysia and Vietnam — as well as Japan, Brunei, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand,…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Blood Of Christ Cleanses Our Consciences

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Corpus Christi (YR B) Readings: Exodus 24:3-8 Heb. 9:11-15 Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 In the first reading today we hear about the covenant that was entered into between God and the people of Israel. Moses was the representative of both God and the people in this case. Consequently, he speaks to the people on behalf…Continue Reading

Archbishop Martin In Lourdes . . . In Defending Marriage, We Are Not Trying To Hurt Or Offend

LOURDES (ZENIT) — Here is a homily given May 13, on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, by Archbishop Eamon Martin at Mass in Lourdes on his first pilgrimage to the Marian shrine as archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. + + + At Mass in Lourdes, Archbishop Martin remembered and acknowledged the faithful in Ireland, and around the world, who…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Social Networks, Addiction To Images, And Custody Of The Eyes

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A follower on my Facebook page recently messaged me about a sordid situation arising from an association based on a Facebook “friendship.” She “friended” a man who then used her account to gain access to her daughter. What started out as a hope to meet someone who may become a real friend ended in inappropriate…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Order Of The Universe Proves God’s Existence

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 3 Let us put our thinking cap on, and reason: Whenever you see something whose parts are arranged in order, following a specific logical pattern, you know that someone did it. Furniture in a living room, chess pieces on a board, books in a library. Orderly arrangement cannot be explained except as being due to…Continue Reading

The Church — Body Of Christ

By DON FIER As we considered “People of God” as an image of the Church last week, an important and underlying principle inherent to its biblical symbolism emerged: God wills to make us holy and save us not as separated, isolated individuals, but as a people. He wills to sanctify and redeem mankind “by making them into one people gathered…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . St. Ephrem

By CAROLE BRESLIN For centuries — no, for millennia — the Mideast has been the center of tragedy and unrest. Particularly significant in this historical conflict sits the city of Nisibis, now named Nusaybin. Nusaybin is an ancient city which sits on the border between Syria and Turkey. In ancient times this fertile land, located between the Tigris and Euphrates…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past century. In 1900, shortly after the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions, there were two million Catholics in Africa. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2009, the Catholic population was 158 million. Once again the Church has witnessed that the blood of martyrs is…Continue Reading