The Catholic Catechism and the Death Penalty
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
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."