Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Evil
Christians need to know the difference between these two terms when deciding on whether to vote for "repeal" (voting for the death penalty) or "retain" (voting for lie in prison as a substitute for the death penalty. Abortion, for example, is intrinsically evil, that is inherently evil inasmuch as it is the murdering of an innocent human being who has a right to life. The "death penalty," on the other hand, is an extrinsic evil, namely, has an appearance of evil but it not an inherent evil because of the fact that society has a right to be protected from capital offenses.
The death penalty, in fact, provides a positive good, securing the common good by taking just means of maintaining that public good.
Finally, what all Christians worthy of the name know, is that a man or a woman facing death will tend to reflect on the evil they have committed, and are more likely to feel sorrow for their sin and look forward to god's mercy. And this, rather than being an ugly thing, is rather, a very beautiful thing in the eyes of real Christians.
James G. McHale,