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The European Commission has proposed the creation of a 'European day against the death Penalty', to be commemorated annually on 10th October. It is intended that this day should fuse with the 'World Day against the Death Penalty', which has taken place on 10th October every year since 2003. . .
. . . However, the ‘justice experts’ who met in Brussels to decree our new commemorative day have clashed with Poland, which is increasingly supplanting the United Kingdom as the nation most likely to save Europe from herself. Poland argues that the issue ‘should form part of a broader discussion on life and death – including abortion and euthanasia’. It is admirable indeed that Roman Catholic Poland should seek to raise the temperature on the whole Sanctity of Life issue: why, indeed, should society tolerate the termination of the lives of millions of unborn, yet protest at the ‘infinite worth’ of the ‘human dignity’ of murderers, paedophiles or rapists?
Poland argues that the idea of the right to life cannot be reduced to the death penalty problem alone: ‘We think that when anybody wants to discuss a problem of death in the context of the law it is also worth to discuss on euthanasia and abortion in this context’.
But the European Commission rejects any such link between the death penalty and other ‘right to life’ issues, saying: ‘In our view the context of the discussion is limited and clear. The subject of the debate is the death penalty’.
Why? On what authority? By whose limitation?
If the right to life is violated and the moral order offended by capital punishment, then a fortiori are they violated and offended by the termination of life in the womb. If the dignity due to every individual is sufficient to end the death penalty, then a fortiori might it be used to make the case against abortion or euthanasia. After all, the one who is under sentence of death is an aggressor against society: he or she has already violated the dignity of others, and might therefore justly forfeit their own in retribution. But a child in its mother's womb is innocent of any wrongdoing, and the termination of the defenceless is infinitely more barbarous than the execution of the guilty. . .
. . . Ultimately, for all its violence and offence, capital punishment may be justified both for its deterrence and its retributive effect. Just very occasionally, the defence of the realm may be better served by the elimination of an individual who seeks to corrupt, contaminate, or destroy it. If, as the EU asserts, the dignity of human life means that life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil, then society surrenders the ultimate penalty from its criminal justice system.
Capital punishment might offend the European Commission, but abortion offends God. If human life belongs only to God, then whoever violates that life must surely violate God.