Guest / Limited Access /
Today's Top Ten

1. Vatican: Execution punished 'a crime with another crime'
While the Islamic world's debate on Saddam Hussein's execution seems largely centered on its timing, initial responses from Christian leaders seem to largely recycle the longstanding debate on whether capital punishment can ever be used. The Vatican's line on the subject seems unequivocal. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican's press office, issued this official statement:

Capital punishment is always tragic news, a motive of sadness, even when it's a case of a person guilty of grave crimes.
The position of the Catholic Church against the death penalty has been confirmed many times.
The execution of the guilty party is not a path to reconstruct justice and to reconcile society. Indeed, there is the risk that, on the contrary, it may augment the spirit of revenge and sow seeds of new violence.
In this dark time in the life of the Iraqi people, it can only be hoped that all the responsible parties truly will make every effort so that, in this dramatic situation, possibilities of reconciliation and peace may finally be opened.

The National Catholic Reporter has other Catholic officials' comments. Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said the execution answered "a crime with another crime. … No one can give death, not even the state."

"It's not that we don't recognize Saddam was guilty of horrendous crimes," an unnamed senior Vatican official said. "But we don't believe that the death penalty is justified, even in such cases."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a bit more nuanced:

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPop Francis: Why Everyone Loves the Pope
Subscriber Access Only Pop Francis: Why Everyone Loves the Pope
From secular journalists to charismatic Christians, millions are taken with the Jesuit from Argentina.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickGod’s Defense Attorney
God’s Defense Attorney
Millionaire lawyer Mark Lanier moonlights as a Sunday school teacher.
Comments
Christianity Today
Christian Leaders Mostly Condemn Hussein Execution
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

January 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.