264. In the New Testament, while individuals are asked not to take justice into their own hands (cf. Rom 12:17.19), there is also a recognition of the need for authorities to impose penalties on evildoers (cf. Rom 13:4; 1 Pet 2:14).
Lawlessness is part of human history. Governments and civil authority do bear responsibility for keeping order and protecting people. Additionally to establish standards that direct behavior away from crime.
Indeed, “civic life, structured around an organized community, needs rules of coexistence, the willful violation of which demands appropriate redress”.[Address to Delegates of the International Association of Penal Law (23 October 2014): AAS 106 (2014), 840] This means that legitimate public authority can and must “inflict punishments according to the seriousness of the crimes” [Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 402] and that judicial power be guaranteed a “necessary independence in the realm of law”. [St John Paul II, Address to the National Association of Magistrates (31 March 2000), 4: AAS 92 (2000), 633]
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