by by Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette.
Ignatius Press (May 29, 2017). 500 pages.
Drawing upon a wealth of philosophical, scriptural, theological, and social scientific arguments, the authors explain the perennial teaching of the Church that capital punishment can in principle be legitimate—not only to protect society from immediate physical danger, but also to administer retributive justice and to deter capital crimes. The authors also show how some recent statements of Church leaders in opposition to the death penalty are prudential judgments rather than dogma. They reaffirm that Catholics may, in good conscience, disagree about the application of the death penalty.
Some arguments against the death penalty falsely suggest that there has been a rupture in the Church's traditional teaching and thereby inadvertently cast doubt on the reliability of the Magisterium. Yet, as the authors demonstrate, the Church's traditional teaching is a safeguard to society, because the just use of the death penalty can be used to protect the lives of the innocent, inculcate a horror of murder, and affirm the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures who must be held responsible for their actions.
By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed challenges contemporary Catholics to engage with Scripture, Tradition, natural law, and the actual social scientific evidence in order to undertake a thoughtful analysis of the current debate about the death penalty.
"Based primarily on the natural law, this excellent and much-needed book will be valuable to Catholics and readers of any faith who ask why capital punishment is justified."
--J. Budziszewski, Ph.D., University of Texas
"At long last, we have a serious and intelligent look at all aspects of the death penalty its causes, its justification, its consequences for the victim, the criminal himself, and for civil society." --James V. Schall, S. J., Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University
"An illuminating study of a subject often clouded by emotions. An essential read for anyone who wants to understand this thorny subject."
-- Robert Royal,President, Faith and Reason Institute
"The arguments in this book have clarified many of the contentions of this critical issue in my mind."
--Fr. Robert A. Sirico, President, The Acton Institute
- The Wages of Sin: Review of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, by Janet Smith. Claremont Review of Books Fall 2017. "[T]he central argument of [the book is] that some crimes deserve death, and that this is now and has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church. Anyone who would claim otherwise must contend with Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette’s unparalleled – and I’m tempted to say, irrefutable – marshalling of evidence and logic in this important new book."
- Christians & the Death Penalty: There Is No Patron Saint of Executioners, by David Bentley Hart. Commonweal 11/16/17.
- On capital punishment, even the pope’s defenders are confused, by Edward Feser. Catholic World Report 10/21/17. "There simply is no way to make an absolute condemnation of capital punishment consistent with past scriptural and papal teaching. The only way out of the mess is for Pope Francis to issue a clarification that reaffirms traditional teaching."
- Capital Punishment and the Papal Magisterium: A Response to Dr. Edward Feser, by Robert Fastiggi. Catholic World Report 10/24/17.
- Catholic theologians must set an example of intellectual honesty: A reply to Prof. Robert Fastiggi, by Edward Feser. Catholic World Report 10/30/17.
- Is there really a definitive teaching of the Church on capital punishment? - A second response to Professor Edward Feser, by Robert Fastiggi. Catholic World Report 11/10/17.
- Catholic Tradition, St. John Paul II, and the Death Penalty, by E. Christian Brugger. Public Discourse 10/23/17. "Four conditions must be met for a teaching of the Catholic Church to be considered infallible. Acceptance of the death penalty meets none of them. St. John Paul II laid down theoretical markers that provide a clear basis for a Catholic teaching rejecting the death penalty in principle." Part two of a two-part essay.
- Capital Punishment is Intrinsically Wrong: A Reply to Feser and Bessette, by E. Christian Brugger. Public Discourse 10/22/17. "Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette’s new book asserts that Catholics cannot legitimately reject the death penalty as wrong always and everywhere. They are wrong." Part one of a two-part essay.
- The Church and Capital Punishment ETWN interview with Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette.
- A Catholic Case for Capital Punishment - Edward Feser [Audio] Catholic Answers Focus. July 2017.
- Msgr. Stuart Swetland’s confusions, by Edward Feser. 07/20/17. "The monsignor claims that the Church could in the future teach that capital punishment is “intrinsically evil.” Second, he claims that, whether or not capital punishment is intrinsically evil, Catholics are now obliged to oppose it in practice. ... both of these assertions are false."
- Discussion: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment Catholic Media Apostolate. Roger McCaffrey and Fr. Gerald Murray. 07/13/17. (Audio)
- Review: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, by Lucas G. Westman. The Socratic Catholic 06/01//17.
- Can the Church ever bless the death penalty?, by Dan Hitchens. Catholic Herald 05/25/17.
- Edward Peters on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed, Edward Feser. 05/23/17.
- Book Review: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, by William M. Briggs. OnePeterFive. 07/07/17.
- The curious case of Pope Francis and the “new natural lawyers”, by Edward Feser. 06/03/17. "It would by no means be surprising if “new natural lawyers” appealed to at least some of Pope Francis’s statements on capital punishment as evidence of papal support for their extreme abolitionist position. Yet to my knowledge, they have not done this."
- Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment, by Joseph M. Bessette, Edward Feser. Catholic World Report 06/07/17.
- Why the Death Penalty is Still Necessary, by Joseph M. Bessette, Edward Feser. Catholic World Report. 07/21/17.