I was, I confess, slow to accept one of the basic tenants of my religion; that capital punishment is never acceptable. And trust me, the case of Saddam Hussein (and also, the case of Slobodan Milosevic) tries my faith.
But in the final analysis, I still believe that capital punishment is wrong, and it is always wrong because it always diminishes us. It diminishes not just the executioner, but also those who are part of the society that permits it.
This, from the Vatican Press Office:
DECLARATION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE PRESS OFFICE OF THE HOLY SEE, FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI S.J.
With regard to the capital punishment of Saddam Hussein, which happened last night, the director of Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., released the following declaration to journalists this morning:
Capital punishment is always tragic news, a motive of sadness, even when it’s a case of a person guilty of grave crimes.
The position of the Catholic Church against the death penalty has been confirmed many times.
The execution of the guilty party is not a path to reconstruct justice and to reconcile society. Indeed, there is the risk that, on the contrary, it may augment the spirit of revenge and sow seeds of new violence.
In this dark time in the life of the Iraqi people, it can only be hoped that all the responsible parties truly will make every effort so that, in this dramatic situation, possibilities of reconciliation and peace may finally be opened.
Hit tip to Amy Welborn.