Death penalty inhumane, Catechism should oppose it says Pope

“The death penalty is ‘inadmissible’ under any circumstance,” says Pope Francis.

Speaking during the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s revised publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Francis said the death penalty violates the Gospel and amounts to the voluntary killing of a human life, which “is always sacred in the eyes of the creator.”

“It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.”

Francis went on to say the church must take a strong stand against capital punishment. This would include making changes to the Catechism.

At present the Catechism says while saying capital punishment’s need is increasingly rare “if not practically non-existent,” it is permissible if it’s the only way to defend life against an “unjust aggressor.”

(The Catechism is a question and answer guide to what Catholics should think about a wide range of moral and social issues.)

Acknowledging that in the past the Papal States allowed this “extreme and inhuman recourse,” he said the Holy See had erred in allowing a mentality that was “more legalistic than Christian” and now knew better.

Noting that church doctrine can develop over time, Francis said the Catechism “should find a more adequate and coherent” way to express the Gospel message about the dignity and value of every human life.

“It’s necessary to repeat that no matter how serious the crime, the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolable dignity of the person,” he said.

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News category: World.

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