The Catholic Church has in recent decades been associated with opposition to the death penalty. It was not always so. This timely work recovers, and calls for a revival of, the Catholic tradition of support for capital punishment. Drawing upon a wealth of philosophical, scriptural, theological, and social scientific arguments, the authors show that it is the perennial and irreformable teaching of the Church that capital punishment can in principle be legitimate -not only to protect society from immediate physical danger, but also for purposes such as retributive justice and deterrence. They show that the recent statements of churchmen in opposition to the death penalty are merely "prudential judgments" with which faithful Catholics are not obliged to agree. They also show that the prudential grounds for opposition to capital punishment offered by Catholics and others in recent years are without force.There are some decent arguments against capital punishment, but that capital punishment "can in principle be legitimate" seems to me quite easy to show. If one commits capital offenses, then one deserves capital punishment. If one deserves capital punishment, it's permissible (and perhaps sometimes even obligatory) for that person to be put to death. That some people have committed crimes warranting their own deaths is plainly obvious.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Feser on Capital Punishment
available for pre-order. Blurb: