Saturday, December 9, 2006



Catechism of the Catholic Church

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of
the church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively
defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people‘s safety from the aggressor, authority
will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good
and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second
Edition, 2267)

Pope John Paul II

The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate
and serve the Gospel of Life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of
human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society
has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the
appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and
unnecessary. (Pope John Paul II, Mass in St. Louis, MO, January 27, 1999)

Bishops of Florida

The abolition of the death penalty would help to break the cycle of violence. It would manifest belief in the unique
dignity of every individual and the sacredness of human life. It would acknowledge God as the Lord of life and it
would be more consonant with the spirit of the Gospel. (Bishops of Florida, Pastoral Statement, Protection,
Punishment, But Not Death, 1990)

United States Catholic Bishops

Increasingly, our society looks to violent measures to deal with some of our most difficult social problems –
millions of abortions to address problem pregnancies, advocacy of euthanasia and assisted suicide to cope with
the burdens of age and illness, and increased reliance on the death penalty to deal with crime. We are tragically
turning to violence in the search for quick and easy answers to complex human problems . . . We are losing our
respect for human life . . . We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. (United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops, Pastoral Statement, Confronting A Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for
Action, 1994)

Our witness to respect for life shines most brightly when we demand respect for each and every human life,
including the lives of those who fail to show that respect for others. The antidote to violence is love, not more
violence. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to
American Catholics, No. 22, 1998)

The death penalty diminishes all of us.

Its use ought to be abandoned not only for what it does to those who are
executed, but what it does to us as a society. We cannot teach respect for life by taking life. (United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, 2005)
Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty

For resources to help individuals, parishes and dioceses participate
in this national campaign, visit

For additional information on the death penalty in Florida contact:

Florida Catholic Conference
201 W. Park Ave., Tallahassee, FL 32301-7715
Phone: (850) 222-3803, Web site:

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