Sacramentum Mundi Online

Get access

Punishment, Capital
(2,699 words)

1. Historical considerations. Capital punishment in Israel, as in other places, was introduced only as a humanitarian measure to control homicidal revenge and other brutal punishments inflicted by private parties. Among Germanic and other peoples it took the place of the ritual killings to avert dangers. Hence capital punishment was not considered wrong, or an offence against the fifth commandment, which refers only to anti-social homicide but not to killing in wars, etc. It is only seldom explain…

Cite this page
Waldemar Molinski, “Punishment, Capital”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

▲   Back to top   ▲