Catholic Church has in recent decades been associated with political
efforts to eliminate the death penalty. It was not always so. This
timely work reviews and explains the Catholic Tradition regarding the
death penalty, demonstrating that it is not inherently evil and that
it can be reserved as a just form of punishment in certain cases.
upon a wealth of philosophical, scriptural, theological, and social
scientific arguments, the authors explain the perennial
teaching of the Church that capital punishment can in principle be
legitimate—not only to protect society from immediate physical
danger, but also to administer retributive justice and to deter
capital crimes. The authors also show how some recent statements of
Church leaders in opposition to the death penalty are prudential
judgments rather than dogma. They reaffirm that Catholics may, in
good conscience, disagree about the application of the death penalty.
arguments against the death penalty falsely suggest that there has
been a rupture in the Church's traditional teaching and thereby
inadvertently cast doubt on the reliability of the Magisterium. Yet,
as the authors demonstrate, the Church's traditional teaching is a
safeguard to society, because the just use of the death penalty can
be used to protect the lives of the innocent, inculcate a horror of
murder, and affirm the dignity of human beings as free and rational
creatures who must be held responsible for their actions.
Man Shall His Blood Be Shed challenges
contemporary Catholics to engage with Scripture, Tradition, natural
law, and the actual social scientific evidence in order to undertake
a thoughtful analysis of the current debate about the death penalty.
Paperback, 420 pp.
Measures 6" by 9".