764. Jesus said, “Those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Are these words the recognition of the law of retaliation? Is the death penalty, enforced on a murderer, an application of this law?
“Be careful! Like so many others, you have misinterpreted the meaning of these words. The only good retaliation is God’s justice, because God applies it. You are all enduring this retribution at all times because you are punished for your wrongdoings, in this life or in another. Those who have caused their fellow human beings to suffer will be placed in a situation where they will suffer what they caused others to endure. This is the true meaning of Jesus’ words. He has also said, ‘Forgive your enemies, and he taught you to pray that God may forgive your trespasses as you forgive those who have trespassed against you, meaning exactly proportionate to your forgiveness toward others. Try to absorb the full meaning of those words.”