Church should not act as impediment to judicial process

The Catholic Church has historically not always held the position that capital punishment is immoral and unjustified. Up until the latter part of the 20th century, a majority of Catholic theologians believed what St. Paul said in (Romans 13: 1-5) concerning capital punishment, the church and the state. “Let every soul be subject unto higher powers. For there is no power but God: the powers that be ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he (the government) is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”

Certainly the justice system must not be cavalier in its application of the death penalty. Conversely, the church should not act as an impediment to the state in its rightful execution of the judicial process.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.