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The Church and the Death Penalty

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The catholic church provides us with moral and ethical guidelines for their followers throughout the world. Several moral issues question people’s conscience. One of the moral issues includes the Death Penalty. The death penalty is where the government kills someone for a crime. The Gospel tells us about the death penalty in 2 scripture stories from the book of Exodus 21:12 and the book of Genesis 9:6. The Catholic social teaching guides followers. Two social teachings that can relate to the death penalty include the Dignity of the Human Person and the Role of Government and Subsidiarity. These principles tell our conscience and will be further discussed in this essay.

The death Penalty is also known as capital punishment, it’s where the Government sentences a person to be killed. The person can only be killed if the crime is, for example, terrorism or mass murders, etc. The death penalty is not a common topic that is spoken much in our society, the death penalty was abolished in 1985. Although most countries abolished the death penalty, there is still 60% of the world’s population lives in countries that still have the death penalty, some of these countries include China, the United States, etc. A quote from George Bernard Shaw said “Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men” (Capital Punishment Quotes, 2019)

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Bible scriptures that are given to us help us to grow our understanding of the issue. According to the bible, God was the one who introduced the death penalty. Two scriptures that could be about the death penalty is one from the book of Exodus 21:12 says “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death” (Chery, F. 2019) and one from Genesis 9:6 says “If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image” (Chery, F. 2019). These scriptures help us to know Gods opinion because it tells us that God is all for the death penalty. These relate to the death penalty because if you murder someone you either die as well or get put in jail.

The Catholic Church gives us some guidance on the death penalty through its social teachings. two teachings that inform us on our judgments could be the Dignity of the human person which states that human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society, the principle is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. This teaching talks about that every person has the right to live and that they are the image of God and everyone has the right to be respected. Also, from the roles of Government and Subsidiarity which says it’s an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. Everyone has rights and responsibilities to participate in political institutions so that government can achieve proper goals. The government should be performed at the lowest level possible. This teaching talks about that the government should respect everyone and not kill people and the government in some countries are going against that by killing people. These teachings help us shape our moral values and help our conscience to respond to the issue of the death penalty by teaching us that everyone deserves to live because your life is precious to God.

The death penalty is a very controversial subject because the bible says yes, and social teachings say no. Even the Government is still not sure because some countries do have it, and some don’t. People are mostly killed for crimes that are too serious to have them in jail or back in the community. Throughout the bible, there are scriptures about death or putting people to death and there are different types of social teaching but not many are about murder. To this day people still don’t know if we should have the death penalty or get rid of it together in every country.

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