To the Editor:
I read in the Des Moines Register Jan. 26 that Catholics are being excluded from jury selection in the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Jurors must be able to impose the death penalty or a life sentence with no possibility of release.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says a death sentence is not to be used when “non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor.” Cases warranting the death penalty “are very rare, if not practically non-existent,” according to the catechism. So Catholics who embrace this teaching will be systematically excluded from jury duty.
It was good that this made the news as many Catholics are unaware of this teaching of the church. It is part of the “seamless garment” of the protection of life from conception to natural death.
(Editor’s note: The Conference of Major Superiors of Men Feb. 19, 2014, decried the federal government’s decision to seek the death penalty, calling instead for “restorative justice” for Tsarnaev.)