Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor capital punishment, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll of over 5,000 adults. While White Protestants top the list of those favoring it, 58% of Catholics likewise approve of it.
Dennis Prager: "Your whole being cries out for some justice and fairness in this world."
The only groups found opposing the death penalty are atheists and agnostics.
The 14% of American Catholics who strongly oppose the death penalty share their convictions with two of the last three popes.
Jeremy Irons: "The death penalty targets the economically disadvantaged, those who can't afford good legal counsel; those without a voice in society."
Pope St. John Paul II recognized its legitimacy in principle but said it should be administered only as a last resort when necessary to protect the innocent. Pope Francis went even further, adding the word "inadmissible" — an ambiguous term that avoids whether it's intrinsically or extrinsically evil.
Reporter quoting Pope Francis: "The death penalty is inadmissible."
If an act is intrinsically evil it's wrong in and of itself and can never be performed for any reason. If extrinsically evil, changing circumstances could justify the act. No pope has ever declared civil authority's choice to redress murder by capital punishment is intrinsically evil.
Reporter: "Benedict XVI urged the bishops of the Philippines to continue in their efforts against the death penalty."
Pope Benedict XVI taught Catholics may have legitimate disagreements on when or if capital punishment should be applied. Unlike abortion and euthanasia, the Church's developing doctrine on the death penalty is not dogma and can change.