I was pleased to read the front-page story in the New York Times last week that the pope has pronounced that capital punishment is always wrong. But then the story went on to state the majority of Catholics favor death penalty. I didn’t know that (and I don’t even know if I can take that claim at face value since I have found no shortage of anti-Catholic journalism in the Times), but if it’s true it is certainly at odds with any Catholic education I can ever remember having. In practicing death penalty, the state is exercising dominion over a human life—something the state has no right to do. It seems rather black-and-white that the state does not create life and does not have the right to take it away.