Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
As a person who does not generally support the death penalty, you might think that I would be pleased with the joint editorial issued the National Catholic Reporter, America Magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, and this paper, the National Catholic Register.
I am not.
When it comes to abolishing the death penalty in the United States, the means matter. The above publications have made the choice that granting unconstitutional power to the Supreme Court to ban the death penalty is a legitimate means as long as the end is good. They collectively write:
We join our bishops in hoping the court will reach the conclusion that it is time for our nation to embody its commitment to the right to life by abolishing the death penalty once and for all.
They are specifically calling on a Court to override the proper legislative authority of the states. They are willing to grant plenary legislative power to a group of black-robed oligarchs that is specifically reserved by the U.S. Constitution to Congress and the States if they prefer the policy outcome. Remember, it is this very same power which these editorial boards grant so freely that unconstitutionally nullified the ability of state legislatures to protect the lives of the unborn over forty years ago. As a result of the same unlawful exercise of power they espouse today, millions upon millions of babies have perished with God-fearing Christians in many states unable to do anything about it.
This is the same mistake that the USCCB makes time and time again in this case and in others. The USCCB willingly feeds the Federal beast even when every reasonable person understands that the federal government is the single greatest threat to life and religious liberty in America.
The USCCB got in bed with the Federal Government to force universal government healthcare on Americans even though many Catholics in good standing opposed it on prudential and constitutional grounds while warning of the dangers of federal interference with life and religious liberty. The ink wasn't even dry on that particular power grab before the very same federal government with which the Bishops allied in support of their preferred healthcare policy turned on Catholics and tried to force them to violate their religiously informed consciences. This outcome was entirely predictable, but the lessons clearly are not yet learned.
The USCCB has also supported President Obama's clearly and self-admittedly unlawful grant of amnesty to illegal aliens in this country because they prefer the policy.
The editorial boards of all these Catholic publications clearly have not learned these lessons and they give scant thought to the unholy consequences of the power they so willingly bequeath upon those who have no right to it.
If you want to abolish the death penalty, as I do, they should call for Catholics to work within their states to abolish it. The shortcut of judicial fiat is not worth the predictable dangers to life and liberty. The ends, in this case and all, do not justify the means.