Just recently on Hardball, Laurence O'Donnell took on Pat Buchanan over the issue of whether President Obama should be Welcomed at Notre Dame. O'Donnell countered that despite his support of the Death Penalty and his war against an unarmed nation - both of which were opposed by the Catholic Church and the Pope - yet Bush was welcomed at Notre Dame without objection.
O'Donnell: Can you identify the Catholic principle that says that the killing of fetus is worse than the killing of an adult?
Buchannan: Everyone of those people in Texas (executed by Bush) was Guilty of Murder. We kill enemy soldiers in War Time, the lack of moral clarity here is astounding!
What the Pope said is this.
In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: 'If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.'"
About the effectiveness and guaranteed Guilt of those under the Death Penalty. the Innocence Project would seem to shed considerable doubt as over the last decade over 200 persons have been found Completely Innocent of the charge, including those on Death Row and even four murder cases in Texas.
As the pace of DNA exonerations has grown across the country in recent years, wrongful convictions have revealed disturbing fissures and trends in our criminal justice system. Together, these cases show us how the criminal justice system is broken – and how urgently it needs to be fixed.
We should learn from the system’s failures. In each case where DNA has proven innocence beyond doubt, an overlapping array of causes of has emerged – from mistakes to misconduct to factors of race and class.
Those exonerated by DNA testing aren’t the only people who have been wrongfully convicted in recent decades. For every case that involves DNA, there are thousands that do not.
Only a fraction of criminal cases involve biological evidence that can be subjected to DNA testing, and even when such evidence exists, it is often lost or destroyed after a conviction. Since they don’t have access to a definitive test like DNA, many wrongfully convicted people have a slim chance of ever proving their innocence.
Bottom line, there is currently no way to know exactly how many innocent people have been executed by the U.S., but the simple numbers indicate that it has happened and it will happen again.
The other issue is clearly abortion, many of the right have this as their signature issue - yet the stats over the past 30 years that when they've had the chance to implement genuine improvements - they've fallen down on the job. During the Clinton Administration there was a marked and DRAMATIC drop in the number of Abortions in the U.S. (most likely attributed to his comprehensive program of sex ed, and condom use)
Republican efforts at Abstinence Only programs have completely failed and put more and more of or young people at risk by arguing that "condoms don't work", even when they DO WORK 98% of the time when used properly. The result has actually caused an increase in teen pregnancies (Bristol Palin!?) and abortions for certain states (usually Red States) and a complete halt to the improvements that we had been seeing under President Clinton. (President Obama intends to re-instate the Clinton programs and bring the number of unwanted and unexpected pregnancies down - and so too the number of abortions)
Embryonic Stem Cell policy is another objection coming from some Catholics at Notre Dame, but the reality is that they have yet to offer a strategy that might possibly "save" the hundreds of thousands of fertilized and unused eggs that are currently being produced by fertility clinics. Until they successfully stage a project to conscript hundreds of thousand of women to adopt and donate use of their WOMBS to bring these egg/children to full term (not to mention feed, clothe and educate them for 18-20 years) they need to accept the reality that the vast majority of these potential lives are going to be lost. Just as we Strive for the Greater Good with organ donations, either the parents/donors have control of their own cells of their own body or they don't. It should be their choice, whether their cells/organs are to be adopted or to be donated to help save the life of others - not someone elses choice.
What I also find problematic in the "All Life is Sacred, except for those lives I don't like" approach is that it could easily be argued that infants are precisely as innocent as the "pre-born", yet America has a infant mortality rate that is frankly ridiculous. We lose 28,000 infants to poor health care every year, we are 29th in infant mortality among all industrialized nations - but still the "Right to Lifers", so often not only support the Death Penalty (even against the innocent), they oppose guaranteed Health Care for Children.
Why is it people can have a "Right to Life", but they can't have a "Right to Living Free of preventable Disease?