The Catholic Church’s Changing Position on the Death Penalty

On the Threshold

A Presentation to the Edmonton Mennonite-Catholic Dialogue

Glen Argan | 30 November 2018

‘Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land.’ (Psalm 101.8)

‘Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek,
turn the other also.’
(Matthew 5.39)

Although the death penalty is no longer employed in the vast majority of the once-Christian nations of North and South America, Europe and Central Asia, capital punishment remains a matter of lively debate among Catholics in the United States where twenty-three people were executed in 2017. Belarus was the only other country in those regions to carry out executions last year. In Canada, the last state-sanctioned execution took place almost sixty years ago. Worldwide, 993 executions occurred in 2017 in twenty-three countries with China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan carrying out the largest numbers. As well, Amnesty International reports that 21,919 people…

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