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Opening Arguments

Against death, period

This is interesting. Liberal and conservative Catholics disagree on abortion, same-sex marriage and a lot of other things. But there might be an anti-death penalty consensus developing, or at least emerging. The National Catholic Reporter, regarded as liberal, and the National Catholic Register, popular with more conservative Catholics, have jointly published an editorial opposing the death penalty and also got two other publications on board, the conservative Our Sunday Visitor and the liberal Jesuit magazine America:

“We, the editors of four Catholic journals,” the editorial begins, “urge the readers of our diverse publications and the whole U.S. Catholic community and all people of faith to stand with us and say, ‘Capital punishment must end.’ ”

“The Catholic Church in this country has fought against the death penalty for decades,” it says. “Pope St. John Paul II amended the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church to include a de facto prohibition against capital punishment. Last year, Pope Francis called on all Catholics ‘to fight ...for the abolition of the death penalty.’ The practice is abhorrent and unnecessary.”

The Register’s editor, Jeanette De Melo, said that when Mr. Coday first broached the idea last fall, they could not quite make it work.

“The Register’s take on the death penalty,” Ms. De Melo said, “is to talk about it in broader context of the life issues,” like abortion and euthanasia. “We wanted to contextualize it last fall in that broad context.”

If such a consensus does develop, that would make the Catholic Church both anti-death penalty and anti-abortion. Such consistency isn't unique, but it is uncommon. The usual stance is anti-death penalty/pro abortion or pro-death penalty/anti-abortion.