The Catholic Moral Theology has published an appeal for the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. At least, 160 leading Catholic academics have signed the appeal. The appeal quoted the U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops:
the sanction of death, when it is not necessary to protect society, violates respect for human life and dignity…Its application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed. We have other ways to punish criminals and protect society.
The scholars frankly admitted that the church had, in the past, advocated the death penalty for certain categories of offenses, but noted that, in recent times, with more secure prison facilities, the church has shifted its position to an unconditionally "pro-life" stance.
The scholars, from a theological perspective of assessment, wondered why some Christians insist on the death penalty on biblical grounds. They quoted the theologian Karl Barth, who said:
Now that Jesus Christ has been nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, how can we still use the thought of expiation to establish the death penalty?
The scholars decried the death sentences of more than 3,200 inmates on death row and the 1,268 executions since the the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, and urged the nation to abolish the capital punishment, which they say, is a threat to the "human life and dignity."
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