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Give a history of the Catholic Church on the death penalty and note how it has changed over time

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Outline Introduction From the beginning there has been a battle within the Catholic Church on whether the Church should support the use of capital punishment or not Point 1: Many in the early church had a problem with the use of the death penalty, even though it was church doctrine that it could be used. Point 2: Aquinass writings to this day are considered to be sound doctrine by many in the Catholic Church. Point 3: As the Catholic Church enters the twenty-first century, the debate over the death penalty is still active among many of its members Conclusion As it has happened throughout the history of the Catholic Church, the debate over the death penalty is still active.

It is obvious that many within the Catholic church are against the death penalty. But the church as of today has not taken any official stance. History of the Catholic Church on the death penalty Introduction From the beginning there has been a battle within the Catholic Church on whether the Church should support the use of capital punishment or not. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it seems clear that the churchs response should be to support the use of capital punishment, as long as it is done justly and all efforts are made to guarantee that an innocent man or woman is not put to death.

Recently, popes and some of the bishops in the United States, have started to campaign against the use of the death penalty. It seems clear that these individuals are not denying the compatibility of capital punishment with Catholic teaching, but instead have just begun to argue against its use for a variety of personal reasons.

This paper looks at the history of the Catholic Church on the death penalty and notes how it has changed over time. Early History The first real testimony against the use of the death penalty can be found in the Montanist works of Tertullian. Tertullian writing sometime between 197 and 207 composed ‘De Idololatria’. In this, Tertullian states in chapter seventeen that even if the servant of God appeals to the power of the state, he should not pronounce capital sentences. Following up on Tertullian, Lactantius writing about 305 to 323, wrote Divinae Institutiones.

In this Lactantius states that when God prohibited murder, this also refers to the men who administer the death penalty (Bockle & Pohier 46). Lantantiuss position was clear: a man could not even charge or be charged with a capital offense. After Tertullian and Lantantius others began to write on the subject.

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