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Simply unnecessary

Posted: 5/6/2005

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What makes Gov. Mitt Romney feel compelled to propose the reinstatement of capital punishment in Massachusetts? Critics say that a pro-capital punishment stance may give the governor an edge if he were to enter the 2008 presidential race.

Whatever his motivation, Massachusetts does not need the death penalty. This would be true even if, as Romney claims, he is able to establish an “error-proof” system to prevent the wrongly convicted from being put to death.

Capital punishment has no place in a civilized society such as ours, not because of the danger of wrongful executions but because it is simply unnecessary.

Catholics tend to be divided on this issue, just as society as a whole. Pope John Paul II advanced the Church’s teaching on capital punishment to reflect the realities of modern criminal justice systems. Capital punishment is not justified in any society capable of properly restraining criminals.

Rejecting capital punishment affirms the principle that life is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Pursuing a society in which life is always respected by those in authority is the greater good Catholics should insist on.