Deterrence as Moral Criteria


Should deterrence matter?


  • The deterring factor is uncertain.

    ~ Research neither supports or refutes the deterring factor of capital punishment.
  • Deterrence is an appeal to Utilitarian Ethics.

    ~ Catholic moral teaching does not accept the utilitarian method (if it works it must be good) as the sole basis for moral judgment.
  • Catholic moral teaching is based upon human dignity.

    ~ This is the criteria for our just response to every human person, created in the image of God.


  • "Life is a gift that the Lord has given us, and we must protect it from conception until natural death... God has given us life, and only can God take it away ... the death sentence is not a natural death."

    Cardinal Renato Martino,
    President of the Pontifical Council
    for Justice and Peace

    Andy Warhol



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