Justice Scalia has promised to resign if Catholic Doctrine holds the death penalty to be immoral. “If I thought that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign, I could not be part of a system that imposes it.”
From the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, “The nature and extent of the punishment,ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible to defend society.” The encyclical goes on to add that such cases are extremely rare and possibly non-existent in today’s society. The USCCB and the Vatican have both clearly interpreted this to mean the death penalty should be banned in the United States.
It’s beyond disturbing that Scalia is a Supreme Court Justice. If he can somehow read Catholic doctrine as approving of the death penalty then I’m quite sure that he can read anything he wants into the U.S. Constitution.
For more, here’s a Washington Post article on Scalia’s statement.