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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

The Misguided Catholic Campaign Against the Death Penalty

by Christopher A. Ferrara

From St. Thomas Aquinas to the Council of Trent to Pope Pius XII, the Catholic Church has constantly affirmed the legitimacy of the death penalty as punishment for murder and other very grave offenses. But according to a recent report by Zenit.org (Nov. 30, 2003), the Pope is continuing his personal campaign to abolish capital punishment. In his brief remarks during the Sunday Angelus, the Pope "greeted members of the Community of Sant’Egidio, an ecclesial movement involved in the struggle against capital punishment." The struggle against a just penalty which the Church has always taught is legitimate?

Zenit notes that Sant’Egidio, an "ecclesial movement" well known for its pan-religious "peace" initiatives that never produce any peace, belongs to something called "the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty." As part of the Coalition’s activities "300 ‘Pro-Life Cities’ lit up a monument to express their rejection of the death penalty."

According to Zenit, "the Sant’Egidio campaign is calling for a universal moratorium on executions, an appeal that is supported by 5 million signatures." These so-called "pro-life cities" include Amsterdam, New York, Berlin, Hiroshima, Vienna and Paris. You’ve got to be kidding. Abortion is legal in every one of those cities, and many thousands of babies are murdered there each year. Even to call these cities "pro-life" is a scandal.

In light of this determined worldwide effort to abolish a just penalty for grievous crimes committed by guilty parties, some questions occur to me: Why has "the Sant’Egidio community" never launched a call for a universal moratorium on abortion  —  the mass execution of innocent human beings? Where are the petitions with millions of signatures calling for an end to the slaughter of the unborn? Why has there been no erection of lighted monuments to express a rejection of abortion? Instead of a "struggle against capital punishment"  —  a justified penalty for murder  —  why do we not see from "ecclesial movements" like "the Sant’Egidio community" a struggle against the abominable crime of abortion, for which there is no justification whatsoever?

As Our Lord said, where your treasure is, there your heart is also. The Sant’Egidio community clearly has its heart in a cause that is dear to secular liberals everywhere: abolishing capital punishment for the guilty. But in its quest for a false "peace" of which this anti-death penalty campaign is but one part, Sant’Egidio’s pan-religious activists are neglecting the war on the unborn, which claims millions of victims each year and is the single greatest threat to the peace of the world, as well as a crime that cries out to God for vengeance.

The Catholic foes of the death penalty have committed themselves to the wrong cause; they seek after the wrong treasure. And that sort of misdirection is all the devil needs to neutralize the human element of the Church.