Roman Catholic Teaching and the Death Penalty: Actual Use versus Hypothetical Use
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Although implicit, the distinction between the actual use of the death penalty and its hypothetical justifiability has played an important role in Roman Catholic ethical thinking on capital punishment. Recent developments in official Church teaching under Popes John Paul II and Francis regarding the death penalty reflect the popes’ negative consensus regarding its use under contemporary circumstances. While Evangelium Vitae limits, but does not exclude a priori, the possibility of justification for the hypothetical death penalty, the logic of Pope Francis’s statements to date seems inconsistent with such theoretical justification.
Fleming, J. (2017). Roman Catholic Teaching and the Death Penalty: Actual Use versus Hypothetical Use. Supplement Series for the Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 14, 133-149.
Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
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