Rooted in both scripture and the rich tradition of our faith, Catholic Social Teaching is a guide for how to live as a people of justice and mercy. Catholic Social Teaching brings the teachings of Jesus and his call to discipleship to the larger societal conversation of social justice. Catholic Social Teaching has 7 major themes: Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community and Participation, Rights and Responsibilities; Preferential Option for and with People who are Poor; Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; Care for God's Creation.
Regarding the death penalty, the first and foremost aspect of the Church’s teaching is the belief in the inherent dignity of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God. Our Catechism states, in a modern society where the death penalty is not needed to maintain public safety, punishment must “correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and [be] more in conformity to the dignity of the human person,”(2267). Through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, it is clear that the death penalty stands in violation of the dignity of the human person.
Download this helpful guide to learn why the Death Penalty is incompatible with Catholic Social Teaching.