End quote. This is a common interpretation of John Paul II’s teaching among those committed to the “new natural law” theory invented by Germain Grisez in the 1960s. Joseph Bessette and I critique this and other aspects of the “new natural law” approach to capital punishment at length in our book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of the Death Penalty, forthcoming from Ignatius Press. For now let me briefly summarize some of the very serious problems with the view Robbie expresses.
UPDATE 10/1: I've noted in earlier posts that views like the "new natural law" position on capital punishment give aid and comfort to Protestant critics of Catholicism, who falsely accuse the Church of manufacturing novel doctrines and contradicting scripture. The Calvinist blog Triablogue cites Prof. George's remarks as confirming evidence for this accusation.