In order to preserve the public order and to protect society against aggressors, it is absolutely necessary that criminal activity be punished. Today we have the means of doing this by non-lethal means. Such means further allow us to offer convicts the types of assistance and encouragement that may lead them to rehabilitate and possibly to become productive citizens. In contrast, recourse to the death penalty presents the real danger of punishing the innocent and risks sliding towards the satisfaction of a desire for vengeance. The life and dignity of every human person must be respected and protected without exception. The death penalty is not only an obvious negation of the right to life, but also an affront to human dignity and, for Christians, an affront to the Gospel principle of forgiveness.