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Boston Bombings and the Death Penalty

As they question the surviving suspect in the Boston bombings from last week, there is talk in the media about giving him the death penalty if convicted.  What do you think?

For me the answer is simple, no!

If you have read my website and blog and/or are familiar with Catholic Teaching on the Death Penalty this should be no surprise to you.  I write today to remind you of what I and the Catholic Church teach about the death penalty.

I wrote about the death penalty when Saddam Hussein was executed.  That article (“Saddam Hussein and the Death Penalty“) is on my website.  I encourage you to read that article as I feel it really sums up how I feel about the death penalty.

Assuming the suspect is proving guilty in the Boston bombings, there is no doubt that he did a terrible thing.  I don’t believe the death penalty would do anything to “make things better.”  We are to be a people of justice.  Pursing the death penalty always seems to me to be more a question of revenge.  Revenge flows from anger and anger is a sin.

An eye for an eye sounds just.  It can be but who is going to be the first to break the cycle of returning evil for evil?  We say murder is wrong because it denies the gift of life.  We must respect all life.

For the record, in keeping what I wrote in Saddam Hussein and the Death Penalty” the only time I think the death penalty is justified is when it is impossible to hold the guilty person securely in prison to ensure the safety of the people.


Fr. Jeff

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