Ministers call for a repeal of the death penalty
Maryland's last execution occurred in 2005, when death row inmate Wesley Eugene Baker was put to death under former Gov.
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#1 Feb 6, 2013
Christianity & death penalty support: A Brief Review: With A Catholic emphasis
The New Testament death penalty support is overwhelming.
There is a 2000 year record of Catholic Saints, Popes, Doctors of the Church, religious leaders, biblical scholars and theologians speaking in favor of the death penalty, a record of scholarship, in breadth and depth, which overwhelms any position to the contrary.
The very recent changes (EV,1995 & CCC, final amendment 2003) in the Catholic position are based upon a wrongly considered prudential judgement which finds that "defense of society", a utilitarian/secular concern, not a moral or theological one, very rarely, if ever, requires execution.
This change in teaching is based upon the Church's switch to utilitarianism - defense of society - when the teachings have been and must be based upon justice, biblical and theological teachings and tradition - all of which conflict with the newest teachings based upon utility -- as utility and justice may, often, have conflicts.
In addition, the evidence is overwhelming that execution offers greater defense of society than does a life sentence. Dead unjust aggressors are infinitely less likely to harm and murder, again than are living unjust aggressors.
Living unjust aggressors murder and harm in prison, after escape and after improper release. The cases are well known and are daily occurrences.
It is a mystery why the Church chose a utilitarian/secular prudential judgement over eternal teachings based upon justice and chose to spare more murderers at the cost of more innocent deaths, but that is, precisely what She has done.
It is also a mystery why the Church didn't review the available evidence, that execution offers a greater defense of society. There is no evidence that She did.
Thankfully, as the recent Church's teaching is a prudential judgement, such means that any Catholic can support more executions and remain a Catholic in good standing.
God/Jesus:'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother must certainly be put to death.' Matthew 15:4 NAB.
This is a frequent passage which God used in the OT, which, as was Jesus' custom, He brought into the NT for emphasis of continuity and importance.
full context www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew15.htm
Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.
Pope (and Saint) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).
All interpretations, contrary to the biblical support of capital punishment, are false. Interpreters ought to listen to the Bibles own agenda, rather than to squeeze from it implications for their own agenda. As the ancient rabbis taught,Do not seek to be more righteous than your Creator.(Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33.). Part of Synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Baileys book Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987.
#2 Feb 6, 2013
"Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Christian and secular Scholars"
Christianity and the death penalty
Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,
The current Catechism confirms within CCC 2260: "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning.... Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image."
"This teaching remains necessary for all time."
Quaker biblical scholar Dr. Gervas A. Carey confirms: " ... the decree of Genesis 9:5-6 is equally enduring and cannot be separated from the other pledges and instructions of its immediate context, Genesis 8:20-9:17; ... that is true unless specific Biblical authority can be cited for the deletion, of which there appears to be none. It seems strange that any opponents of capital punishment who professes to recognize the authority of the Bible either overlook or disregard the divine decree in this covenant with Noah; ... capital punishment should be recognized ... as the divinely instituted penalty for murder; The basis of this decree ... is as enduring as God; ... murder not only deprives a man of a portion of his earthly life ... it is a further sin against him as a creature made in the image of God and against God Himself whose image the murderer does not respect." (p. 111-113). Prof. Carey agrees with Saints Augustine and Aquinas, that executions represent mercy to the wrongdoer: "... a secondary measure of the love of God may be said to appear. For capital punishment provides the murderer with incentive to repentance which the ordinary man does not have, that is a definite date on which he is to meet his God. It is as if God thus providentially granted him a special inducement to repentance out of consideration of the enormity of his crime ... the law grants to the condemned an opportunity which he did not grant to his victim, the opportunity to prepare to meet his God. Even divine justice here may be said to be tempered with mercy." (p. 116)."A Bible Study", Essays on the Death Penalty, T. Robert Ingram, ed., St. Thomas Press, Houston, 1963, 1992.
Jesus: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us. The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal. Then he said,Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.(Jesus) replied to him,Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke 23: 39-43
It is not the nature of our deaths, but the state of salvation at the time of death which is most important.
Jesus:So Pilate said to (Jesus),Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you? Jesus answered (him),You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. John 19:10-11
The power to execute comes directly from God.
The Holy Spirit, God, through the power and justice of the Holy Spirit, executed both Ananias and his wife, Saphira. Their crime? Lying to the Holy Spirit to God through Peter. Acts 5:1-11.
No trial, no appeals, just death on the spot.
God:You shall not accept indemnity in place of the life of a murderer who deserves the death penalty; he must be put to death. Numbers 35:31 (NAB) full context http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/numbers/number...
For murder, there is no mitigation from a death sentence.
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