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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The Pope, Richard Speck and the death penalty

- By Michael M. Bates

Last month the president of the Philippines visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. She gave him a copy of a law she signed recently, one that ends the death penalty in her country. "Well done," His Holiness told her.

I was thinking of that this week as we mark 40 years since Richard Speck's wanton slaughter of eight student nurses. I realize that a blanket opposition to the death penalty is not official Catholic teaching. Indeed, only two years ago as a cardinal the current Pope wrote:

"While the Church exhorts civil authorities... to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible ... to have recourse to capital punishment."

Yet I know Catholics who think their Church requires them to oppose the ultimate sentence. In one recent poll, slightly less than half the Catholics surveyed now support the death penalty....................................
Click HERE To Read On
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