Catholic News Service via catholicphilly.com, Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said he opposes capital punishment for Army Maj. Nidal Hasan. Hasan was sentenced to death Aug. 28 following his conviction of the shootings in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.
I happen to agree with Archbishop Broglio though I know I'm not going to make any friends by writing a post likely to offend so many of my fellow Conservatives.
Be that as it may, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights
and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement
of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and
duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the
primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense.
When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the
value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public
order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it
should contribute to the correction of the offender.
The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full
ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to
the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of
human beings effectively against the aggressor.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the
aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit
itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions
of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively
repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without
depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of
absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if
not practically non-existent.'
One can hardly argue that, in Hasan's case, "absolute necessity for suppression of the offender" would demand the death penalty. Hasan is paralyzed from waist down.
The decision as to whether or not capital punishment is appropriate shouldn't come from a desire to seek revenge. Executing Hasan will not assuage the grief felt by the family and friends of his victims.
I'm not trying to excuse or justify Hasan's actions. He should be punished for his having massacred more than a dozen human beings. According to Catholic teaching, in this particular situation, Jesus asks that we not execute this killer. Who am I to go against that?