Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pope Francis Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

Pope Francis Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

Quoting Pope Francis" words in a speech of October 11, 2017, the new paragraph states, in part, that "the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, ' and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide".

The Vatican said it had changed its universal catechism, a summary of Church teaching, to reflect Pope Francis' total opposition to capital punishment.

"Consequently the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person", the new text, published this week, reads, according to the news service.

The Vatican explained in a letter that the new policy follows an evolution of thought rather than a contradiction, the AP reported.

The new provision is expected to run into stiff opposition from Catholics in countries such as the United States, where many Catholics support the death penalty.

He added that human life is "is always sacred in the eyes of the creator", the AP reported.

He also said it sends a message globally, that the Catholic Church has changed its own teaching on capital punishment and now will work for its abolition globally.

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If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

According to the new entry in the catechism: "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person".

In his statement, Cardinal Ladaria noted how St. John Paul, retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had all spoken out against capital punishment and appealed for clemency for death-row inmates on numerous occasions. New systems of detention and sanctions have been developed that don't deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption, it added. It now said there was more awareness around the world that the dignity of the person was not lost even after "the commission of very serious crimes".

Historically, the Church has mostly been unopposed to the death penalty, including into the 20th Century. During a 2015 trip to the United States, where the death penalty is legal, he told Congress that "from the beginning of my ministry", he has advocated for it to be abolished.

As part of the revision, Francis called on the church to recommit itself to working with civil authorities to eliminate the death penalty where it is still used as a deterrent to crime.

Amnesty International, which has long campaigned for a worldwide ban on the death penalty, welcomed the development as an "important step forward".

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