The Catholic Commentator’s April 28 editorial continues to distort Catholic teaching on the death penalty. It does this through the gross equating of abortion with the penalty.

The church teaches that all taking of innocent life is immoral as a violation of the fifth commandment. Abortion, being the taking of innocent life, is thus in all circumstances immoral and can never be justified. However, the church also teaches that the legitimate defense of life at times may result in the death of another. This because the church teaches that “… it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow …” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2263-2265). It is this latter category that the death penalty is justified:

“Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” (CCC2267)

The principles are that innocent life should never be taken but that force, even lethal force, may be used to protect others from attack.

Now, The Commentator claims that “… abortion is as equally vile as the death penalty.” Let’s rephrase this given the principles stated above. It is clear that The Commentator is arguing that “the taking of innocent life is as equally vile as defending others from attack.” Really? Well of course not. But the editors would have us believe that this makes perfect sense and it is only “… political agendas rather than human decency” that prevents us from creating a perfect society.

Actually, it is the complete corruption of reason that is evidenced in this editorial that is political ideology at work.

Steven Felix