VATICAN CITY (CNS): The head of the Vatican’s justice and peace office and an editor of a Vatican-approved Jesuit journal said it would be wrong to carry out the death penalty against Saddam Hussein.
The former Iraqi president was sentenced to death by hanging on November 5 in a case involving the deaths of 148 Iraqis in 1982.
Cardinal Renato Martino, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said, “For me, to punish a crime with another crime, such as killing out of vengeance, means that we are still at the stage of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'”.
In an interview on November 5 with ANSA, the Italian news agency, the cardinal said both Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach that modern societies have the means to protect citizens from the threat of a murderer without resorting to execution.
Jesuit Father Michele Simone, the assistant director of La Civilta Cattolica, a Vatican-reviewed magazine, told Vatican Radio the sentence “certainly would not resolve the situation in Iraq”.