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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." " (CCC 2267)
It seems like the biggest argument for the death penalty is if it's the main hope of protecting other innocent people? I don't know. Maybe it's a deterrent, maybe it's not. But I do know that Jesus paid the penalty for the death that I deserved, too. It's humbling to think that I deserved the death penalty as much as Saddam, but I accepted that Jesus paid that penalty by His own blood, and with that Truth in my heart, God's grace has been able to transform me and keep me out of trouble. God is so good. I feel like I would want to meet the worst sinners to tell them how much God loves them, and that I could see their heart softening through their eyes. But I might get hurt, which is scary, so... I keep praying from afar... I hope my prayers are making a difference.