It is an issue that represents a dividing line between conservative and liberal Catholics, with liberal Catholics interpreting the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as supporting the abolishment of capital punishment, which it does not; as our book—supporting the many other conservative Catholics reaching the same conclusion—reveals.
It is an issue that also divides conservative and liberal voters, so well captured by this article in the Wall Street Journal.
“Perhaps the most striking statement at last night's Republican presidential debate came not from Rick Perry or Mitt Romney but from the audience, which applauded the preface of one of moderator Brian Williams’ questions. Here's how it looked in the transcript:
“Williams: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you . . .
“Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?
“Perry answered: "No sir," pointed out that death-row convicts are entitled to extensive appeals, and crisply declared: "In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice."
“Williams then asked Perry to explain the audience's reaction to Williams’ question:
"What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?"
“Although Williams surely did not intend it as such, this question was a gift for Perry, who got to reiterate his position while flattering voters by praising their wisdom: "I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of--of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens--and it's a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don't want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice."
“Brian Williams was far from alone in being vexed by the audience's applause. "That crowd cheering for all of Rick Perry's executions was truly creepy," tweeted Glenn Greenwald, an expert on creepiness. "Any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join," wrote the excitable Andrew Sullivan. "This is the crowd that believes in torture and executions." (Sullivan is hallucinating again. No jurisdiction in America employs torture as a criminal penalty.)”