Dr., given that the current position of the Church, as reflected in the Catechism, is that as a practical matter capital punishment may only be used when absolutely necessary because there is no other way to prevent the offender from killing innocents, could you please answer the question how Catholic teaching concerning self-defense, military action, or police action to prevent the killing of innocents by an attacker can stand if Pope Francis is right that killing another human being is always wrong, always against the Gospel, and the taking of a human life is within the sole province of God alone? I realize that you have no obligation to engage me, but you have done so in the comments to related articles, and your answer has essentially been” “Because they’re different”. Well, that does not cut it. They are not different in principle. One who acts in self-defense kills to protect the innocent. The military kills to protect the innocent from invaders who may kill, rape or enslave them. The police kill to protect themselves or innocents from imminent harm or death. Under the justification given by Pope Francis the principle involved is exactly the same The only way to maintain the teaching that permits self-defense, military action and police action if capital punishment is impermissible even to protect innocents from death, is to accept that it is okay for the Church’s teaching to be incoherent.


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