Dr. Trudy Conway explains that Catholics are often not properly educated about Church teaching on the use of the death penalty, and the best way to help individuals understand is frame the issue as a fundamentally moral argument while putting a human face on the issue through stories or narratives.  Currently, support for the death penalty is declining, and several new states have repealed the death penalty in recent years.  Supreme Court cases have also consistently narrowed down the application of the death penalty, since death sentences are often arbitrary and inconsistent.   

Catholic social teaching is staunchly opposed to the death penalty in all cases, since all human life possesses inherent dignity which is not to be violated, no matter how heinous the criminal act a person may commit.  Church teaching also states that victims of crime deserve support and that punishment cannot be reduced solely to a matter of retribution, but should rather be restorative.  This means that punishments should further the repentance of the evil doer, promote the process of healing reconciliation, and protect the welfare of victims, perpetrators, and their communities.

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