65 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Religious Leaders (Roman Catholic)



The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions, as when God authorises killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time.

Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill' to wage war at God's bidding, or for the representatives of the State's authority to put criminals to death, according to law or the rule of rational justice.

Augustine, The City of God

Punishment is justice for the unjust.

"You become worse than the sinner if you fail to correct him." (Augustine, De Verb. Dom. xvi, 4)

Saint Augustine confirms that " . . . inflicting capital punishment . . . protects those who are undergoing capital punishment from the harm they may suffer . . . through increased sinning which might continue if their life went on." (On the Lord's Sermon, 1.20.63-64.)

Augustine says: "Unless a man restore what he has purloined, his sin is not forgiven. Since therefore the safeguarding of justice is necessary for salvation, it follows that it is necessary for salvation to restore what has been taken unjustly. (Aquinas, ST II/II 62,2)


Augustine of Hippo (Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis;) (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), Bishop of Hippo Regius, also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, or St. Austin was a Latin speaking philosopher and theologian living in the Roman Africa Province.

For those who have been appropriately appointed, there is no sin in administering punishment. For those who refuse to obey God's laws, it is correct for society to rebuke them with civil and criminal sanctions. No one sins working for justice, within the law. Actions that are necessary to preserve the good of society are not inherently evil. [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

The common good of the whole society is greater and better than the good of any particular person. "The life of certain pestiferous men is an impediment to the common good which is the concord of human society. Therefore, certain men must be removed by death from the society of men." This is likened to the physician who must amputate a diseased limb, or a cancer, for the good of the whole person. He based this on I Corinthians 5, 6: "You know that a little leaven corrupts the whole lump of dough?" and I Corinthians 5, 13: "Put away the evil one from among yourselves"; Romans 13,4: "[it is said of earthly power that] he bears not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil"; I Peter 2, 13-14: "Be subjected therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether to be on the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of good." He believed these passages superseded the text of Exodus 20, 13: "Thou shall not kill." This is mentioned again in Matthew 5, 21. Also, it is argued that Matthew 13, 30: "Suffer both the weeds and the wheat to grow until the harvest." The harvest was interpreted as meaning the end of the world. This is explained by Matthew 13, 38-40. [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

Aquinas acknowledged these passages could also be interpreted as meaning there should be no use of the death penalty if there was a chance of injuring the innocent. The prohibition "Thou shall not kill", was superseded by Exodus 22, 18: "Wrongdoers you shall not suffer to live." [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

St. Thomas Aquinas finds all biblical interpretations against executions "frivolous", citing Exodus 22:18, "wrongdoers thou shalt not suffer to live". Unequivocally, he states," The civil rulers execute, justly and sinlessly, pestiferous men in order to protect the peace of the state." [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers. [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

The argument that evildoers should be allowed to live in the hope that they might be redeemed was rejected by Aquinas as frivolous. If they would not repent in the face of death, it was unreasonable to assume they would ever repent. "How many people are we to allow to be murdered while waiting for the repentance of the wrongdoer?", he asked, rhetorically. Using the death penalty for revenge, or retribution is a violation of natural moral law. [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

Many believe the correct interpretation of the commandment to be "Thou shalt not murder." This interpretation allows for Aquinas' belief that the death penalty is an acceptable practice as delivered by those in authority over such things, such as government, which is divinely appointed as to God's will. [Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146]

"If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended.  Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgment. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 11; 65-2; 66-6.

Saint Thomas Aquinas finds that “. . . the death inflicted by the judge profits the sinner, if he be converted, unto the expiation of his crime; and, if he be not converted, it profits so as to put an end to the sin, because the sinner is thus deprived of the power to sin anymore." (Summa Theologica, II-II, 25, 6 ad 2.)

"...a secondary measure of the love of God may be said to appear. for capital punishment provides the murderer with incentive to repentance which the ordinary man does not have, that is a definite date on which he is to meet his God. It is as if God thus providentially granted him a special inducement to repentance out of consideration of the enormity of his crime...the law grants to the condemned an opportunity which he did not grant to his victim, the opportunity to prepare to meet his God. Even divine justice here may be said to be tempered with mercy." (p. 116). "A Bible Study", Essays on the Death Penalty, T. Robert Ingram, ed., St. Thomas Press, Houston, 1963, 1992.

The fate of the wicked being open to conversion so long as they live does not preclude their being open also to the just punishment of death. Indeed the danger threatening the community from their life is greater and more certain than the good expected by their conversion. Besides, in the hour of death, they have every facility for turning to God by repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even in the hour of death their heart will not go back upon its wickedness, a fairly probable reckoning may be made that they never would have returned to a better mind. (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, 147)

Wherefore our Lord teaches that we should rather allow the wicked to live, and that vengeance is to be delayed until the last judgment, rather than that the good be put to death together with the wicked. When, however, the good incur no danger, but rather are protected and saved by the slaying of the wicked, then the latter may be lawfully put to death. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q.64 a.2.)

"the act of sin makes man deserving of punishment" as well as "Punishment is proportionate to sin in point of severity, both in Divine and in human judgments." (Aquinas ST I/II 87,6; 87, 3 ad 1)

Two vices are opposed to vengeance: one by way of excess, namely, the sin of cruelty or brutality, which exceeds the measure in punishing: while the other is a vice by way of deficiency and consists in being remiss in punishing, wherefore it is written (Prov. 13:24): "He that spareth the rod hateth his son." But the virtue of vengeance consists in observing the due measure of vengeance with regard to all the circumstances. (Aquinas, ST II/II 108 2 ad 3)

Saint Thomas Aquinas O.P. (also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino; ca. 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian priest of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Order, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus and Doctor Communis. He is frequently referred to as Thomas because "Aquinas" refers to his residence rather than his surname. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived as a reaction against, or as an agreement with, his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law and political theory.

"If the Pope were to deny that the death penalty could be an exercise of retributive justice, he would be overthrowing the tradition of two millenia of Catholic thought, denying the teaching of several previous popes, and contradicting the teaching of Scripture."

“The reversal of a doctrine as well established as the legitimacy of capital punishment would raise serious problems regarding the credibility of the magisterium. Consistency with scripture and long-standing Catholic tradition is important for the grounding of many current teachings of the Catholic Church; for example, those regarding abortion, contraception, and the permanence of marriage. If the tradition on capital punishment had been reversed, serious questions would be raised regarding other doctrines." Avery Cardinal Dulles, “Catholic Teaching on the Death Penalty”, in Owens, Carlson & Elshtain, op. cit., p. 26. 2004

Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, 10/7/2000: “No passage in the New Testament disapproves of the death penalty.” “At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die (Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10, referring to Ex 21:17; cf. Lev 20:9).

 

Roman Catholicism's teaching on capital punishment is more complex but popularly portrayed as uniformly opposed. The late Avery Dulles, an American Cardinal and highly respected teacher, was a key interpreter of his church's stance. "Self-defense of society continues to justify the death penalty," Dulles said in 2002. "One could conceive of a situation where if justice were not done by executing an offender it would throw society into moral confusion," he said. "I don't know whether that requires any more than that it remain on the books, symbolically, that it be there for society to have recourse to."

A year earlier, he noted that capital punishment's decline in the West reflected an "evaporation of the sense of sin, guilt, and retributive justice, all of which are essential to biblical religion and Catholic faith."

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles  (April 2001) - In the Old Testament the Mosaic Law specifies no less than thirty–six capital offenses calling for execution by stoning, burning, decapitation, or strangulation. Included in the list are idolatry, magic, blasphemy, violation of the sabbath, murder, adultery, bestiality, pederasty, and incest. The death penalty was considered especially fitting as a punishment for murder since in his covenant with Noah God had laid down the principle, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Genesis 9:6). In many cases God is portrayed as deservedly punishing culprits with death, as happened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16). In other cases individuals such as Daniel and Mordecai are God’s agents in bringing a just death upon guilty persons.

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - In the New Testament the right of the State to put criminals to death seems to be taken for granted. Jesus himself refrains from using violence. He rebukes his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality (Luke 9:55). Later he admonishes Peter to put his sword in the scabbard rather than resist arrest (Matthew 26:52). At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die” (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 21: 17; cf. Leviticus 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate’s power comes to him from above—that is to say, from God (John 19:11). Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Luke 23:41).

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - The early Christians evidently had nothing against the death penalty. They approve of the divine punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira when they are rebuked by Peter for their fraudulent action (Acts 5:1–11). The Letter to the Hebrews makes an argument from the fact that “a man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses” (10:28). Paul repeatedly refers to the connection between sin and death. He writes to the Romans, with an apparent reference to the death penalty, that the magistrate who holds authority “does not bear the sword in vain; for he is the servant of God to execute His wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). No passage in the New Testament disapproves of the death penalty. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - Summarizing the verdict of Scripture and tradition, we can glean some settled points of doctrine. It is agreed that crime deserves punishment in this life and not only in the next. In addition, it is agreed that the State has authority to administer appropriate punishment to those judged guilty of crimes and that this punishment may, in serious cases, include the sentence of death. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - Catholic authorities justify the right of the State to inflict capital punishment on the ground that the State does not act on its own authority but as the agent of God, who is supreme lord of life and death. In so holding they can properly appeal to Scripture. Paul holds that the ruler is God’s minister in executing God’s wrath against the evildoer (Romans 13:4). Peter admonishes Christians to be subject to emperors and governors, who have been sent by God to punish those who do wrong (1 Peter 2:13). Jesus, as already noted, apparently recognized that Pilate’s authority over his life came from God (John 19:11).

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - In light of all this it seems safe to conclude that the death penalty is not in itself a violation of the right to life. The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied. It is appropriate, I contend, when it is necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment and when it does not have disproportionate evil effects. I say “necessary” because I am of the opinion that killing should be avoided if the purposes of punishment can be obtained by bloodless means.

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - The purposes of criminal punishment are rather unanimously delineated in the Catholic tradition. Punishment is held to have a variety of ends that may conveniently be reduced to the following four: rehabilitation, defense against the criminal, deterrence, and retribution.

Granted that punishment has these four aims, we may now inquire whether the death penalty is the apt or necessary means to attain them.

Rehabilitation. Capital punishment does not reintegrate the criminal into society; rather, it cuts off any possible rehabilitation. The sentence of death, however, can and sometimes does move the condemned person to repentance and conversion. There is a large body of Christian literature on the value of prayers and pastoral ministry for convicts on death row or on the scaffold. In cases where the criminal seems incapable of being reintegrated into human society, the death penalty may be a way of achieving the criminal’s reconciliation with God.

Defense against the criminal. Capital punishment is obviously an effective way of preventing the wrongdoer from committing future crimes and protecting society from him. Whether execution is necessary is another question. One could no doubt imagine an extreme case in which the very fact that a criminal is alive constituted a threat that he might be released or escape and do further harm. But, as John Paul II remarks in Evangelium Vitae, modern improvements in the penal system have made it extremely rare for execution to be the only effective means of defending society against the criminal.

Deterrence. Executions, especially where they are painful, humiliating, and public, may create a sense of horror that would prevent others from being tempted to commit similar crimes. But the Fathers of the Church censured spectacles of violence such as those conducted at the Roman Colosseum. Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World explicitly disapproved of mutilation and torture as offensive to human dignity. In our day death is usually administered in private by relatively painless means, such as injections of drugs, and to that extent it may be less effective as a deterrent. Sociological evidence on the deterrent effect of the death penalty as currently practiced is ambiguous, conflicting, and far from probative.

Retribution. In principle, guilt calls for punishment. The graver the offense, the more severe the punishment ought to be. In Holy Scripture, as we have seen, death is regarded as the appropriate punishment for serious transgressions. Thomas Aquinas held that sin calls for the deprivation of some good, such as, in serious cases, the good of temporal or even eternal life. By consenting to the punishment of death, the wrongdoer is placed in a position to expiate his evil deeds and escape punishment in the next life. After noting this, St. Thomas adds that even if the malefactor is not repentant, he is benefited by being prevented from committing more sins. Retribution by the State has its limits because the State, unlike God, enjoys neither omniscience nor omnipotence. According to Christian faith, God “will render to every man according to his works” at the final judgment (Romans 2:6; cf. Matthew 16:27). Retribution by the State can only be a symbolic anticipation of God’s perfect justice.

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - For the symbolism to be authentic, the society must believe in the existence of a transcendent order of justice, which the State has an obligation to protect. This has been true in the past, but in our day the State is generally viewed simply as an instrument of the will of the governed. In this modern perspective, the death penalty expresses not the divine judgment on objective evil but rather the collective anger of the group. The retributive goal of punishment is misconstrued as a self–assertive act of vengeance. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - The death penalty, we may conclude, has different values in relation to each of the four ends of punishment. It does not rehabilitate the criminal but may be an occasion for bringing about salutary repentance. It is an effective but rarely, if ever, a necessary means of defending society against the criminal. Whether it serves to deter others from similar crimes is a disputed question, difficult to settle. Its retributive value is impaired by lack of clarity about the role of the State.  

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - The relationship of the State to the criminal is not the same as that of a victim to an assailant. Governors and judges are responsible for maintaining a just public order. Their primary obligation is toward justice, but under certain conditions they may exercise clemency. In a careful discussion of this matter Pius XII concluded that the State ought not to issue pardons except when it is morally certain that the ends of punishment have been achieved. Under these conditions, requirements of public policy may warrant a partial or full remission of punishment. If clemency were granted to all convicts, the nation’s prisons would be instantly emptied, but society would not be well served. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - In practice, then, a delicate balance between justice and mercy must be maintained. The State’s primary responsibility is for justice, although it may at times temper justice with mercy. The Church rather represents the mercy of God. Showing forth the divine forgiveness that comes from Jesus Christ, the Church is deliberately indulgent toward offenders, but it too must on occasion impose penalties. The Code of Canon Law contains an entire book devoted to crime and punishment. It would be clearly inappropriate for the Church, as a spiritual society, to execute criminals, but the State is a different type of society. It cannot be expected to act as a Church. In a predominantly Christian society, however, the State should be encouraged to lean toward mercy provided that it does not thereby violate the demands of justice. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - It is sometimes asked whether a judge or executioner can impose or carry out the death penalty with love. It seems to me quite obvious that such officeholders can carry out their duty without hatred for the criminal, but rather with love, respect, and compassion. In enforcing the law, they may take comfort in believing that death is not the final evil; they may pray and hope that the convict will attain eternal life with God. 

First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment by Avery Cardinal Dulles (April 2001) - In a brief compass I have touched on numerous and complex problems. To indicate what I have tried to establish, I should like to propose, as a final summary, ten theses that encapsulate the Church’s doctrine, as I understand it.

1) The purpose of punishment in secular courts is fourfold: the rehabilitation of the criminal, the protection of society from the criminal, the deterrence of other potential criminals, and retributive justice.

2) Just retribution, which seeks to establish the right order of things, should not be confused with vindictiveness, which is reprehensible.

3) Punishment may and should be administered with respect and love for the person punished.

4) The person who does evil may deserve death. According to the biblical accounts, God sometimes administers the penalty himself and sometimes directs others to do so.

5) Individuals and private groups may not take it upon themselves to inflict death as a penalty.

6) The State has the right, in principle, to inflict capital punishment in cases where there is no doubt about the gravity of the offense and the guilt of the accused.

7) The death penalty should not be imposed if the purposes of punishment can be equally well or better achieved by bloodless means, such as imprisonment.

8) The sentence of death may be improper if it has serious negative effects on society, such as miscarriages of justice, the increase of vindictiveness, or disrespect for the value of innocent human life.

9) Persons who specially represent the Church, such as clergy and religious, in view of their specific vocation, should abstain from pronouncing or executing the sentence of death.

10) Catholics, in seeking to form their judgment as to whether the death penalty is to be supported as a general policy, or in a given situation, should be attentive to the guidance of the pope and the bishops. Current Catholic teaching should be understood, as I have sought to understand it, in continuity with Scripture and tradition.

Avery Robert Dulles, S.J. (August 24, 1918 – December 12, 2008) was a Jesuit priest, theologian, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and served as the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University from 1988 to 2008. He was an internationally known author and lecturer.

"The death sentence is a necessary and efficacious means for the Church to attain its ends when rebels against it disturb the ecclesiastical unity, especially obstinate heretics who cannot be restrained by any other penalty from continuing to disturb ecclesiastical order."  - Preface to vol. 2 of "Book of Canon
Law 1901.

Pope Leo XIII (2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903), born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903. He was the oldest pope (reigning until the age of 93), and had the third longest pontificate, behind his immediate predecessor Pius IX and John Paul II.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, in his famous speech on the “Consistent Ethic of Life” at Fordham in 1983, stated his concurrence with the “classical position” that the State has the right to inflict capital punishment.

"In a complex, sophisticated democracy like ours, means other than the death penalty are available and can be used to protect society."

Joseph Louis Bernardin (originally Bernardini) (April 2, 1928–November 14, 1996) was an American Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1983.

"There is no question but that capital punishment was not only allowed but mandated in the Old Testament. In the New Law (New Testament) (St.) Paul recognizes the legitimacy of capital punishment . . .’it is not without purpose that the ruler carries the sword. He is God’s servant, to inflict his avenging wrath upon the wrongdoer Romans 13:4.’ “(TDP: OVS, 1986, pg. 84)

Father Pierre Lachance was born in Fall River in 1915 and served Saint Anne Parish for most of his priestly life. He died on July 4, 2006 at Catholic Memorial Home in Fall River where he had resided for three years. His passing coincided with the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the upper church. His sermons and conferences have inspired thousands of pilgrims who have visited Saint Anne Shrine.

Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David in Psalms 101 verse 8: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord. (Execution of Criminals)

The Catechism of Trent on THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT: "Thou shalt not kill"

Referring to executions in The United Kingdom before 1965:

The Priest, meeting the condemned at the door of his cell, shall walk before him to the place of execution, and shall say

            I am the resurrection, and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

            I know that my Redeemer liveth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall for myself, and mine eyes behold and not another.

At the place of execution he shall stand facing the condemned prisoner, and shall say

            Remember not, Lord, the offenses of this thy servant, and be not angry with him for ever.

            By thine agony and bloody sweat, by Thy cross and passion, By Thy precious death and burial, by Thy glorious resurrection and ascension, good Lord, Deliver thy servant.

            O Lord God, let the prayer of the prisoner appointed to die come before Thee.

            O Lord, Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon him and receive his soul.

When the drop falls the Priest shall say

            Into thy hands, O Lord we commend the spirit of this Thy servant.

            O Lord, we beseech Thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all who confess their sins unto Thee; that they whose consciences by sin are accused, by Thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord.

            Amen  

The Last Rites are the very last prayers and ministrations given to many Catholics before death. The last rites go by various names and include different practices in different Catholic traditions. They may be administered to those awaiting execution, mortally wounded or terminally ill.

Pope Saint Pius X in his Catechism, 1908: “It is lawful to kill when fighting in a just war; when carrying out by order of the Supreme Authority a sentence of death in punishment of a crime.” (Answer to question 3 - Are there cases in which it is lawful to kill?)


Pope Saint Pius X (Ecclesiastical Latin: Pius PP. X) (2 June 1835 – 20 August 1914), born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the 257th Pope of the Catholic Church, serving from 1903 to 1914. He was the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized. Pius X rejected mordernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting traditional devotional practices and orthodox theology. His most important reform was to publish the first Code of Canon Law, which collected the laws of the Church into one volume for the first time. He was a pastoral pope, encouraging personal piety and a lifestyle reflecting Christian values. He was born in the town of Riese, which would later append "Pio X" (Pius X's name in Italian) to the town's name.

Accordingly, death is a harbor of peace for the just, but is believed a shipwreck for the wicked. [De bono mortis, 8, 31.]

 

It is not death therefore that is burdensome, but the fear of death. [De bono mortis, 8, 31.]

 

Aurelius Ambrosius , better known in English as Saint Ambrose (c. between 337 and 340 – 4 April 397), was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.

Article 2260 The covenant between God and mankind is interwoven with reminders of God's gift of human life and man's murderous violence: For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning. . . . Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image…The Old Testament always considered blood a sacred sign of life. This teaching remains necessary for all time.

Article 2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."