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Resources for Educators: Capital Punishment

barbed wireIf, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today . . . are very rare, if not practically non-existent. CCC 2266-2267.

". . . the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity; in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.  Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent." Evangelium Vitae n. 56.

God drove Cain into exile, but “put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him,” Gen. 4:15; God “did not desire that a homicide by punished by the exaction of another act of homicide.” St. Ambrose; Evangelium Vitae n. 9.

“Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.” Evangelium Vitae n. 9.

Church Documents:


Catholic Websites:


Articles and Publications


Important Dates:

March 26, 2009, Maryland House of Delegates passes bill that severely restricts use of death penalty, making Maryland’s death penalty law one of the strictest in the nation.

May 7, 2009, Governor Martin O’Malley signs death penalty legislation, giving Maryland the most restrictive law of the 35 states that allow the death penalty.

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