Sunday, 16 December, 2018


Pope Francis changes Catholic teaching on death penalty

Pope Francis is to visit Ireland on 25 and 26 August Pope Francis is to visit Ireland on 25 and 26 August
Bennie Garza | 10 August, 2018, 04:19

In announcing the "new understanding" that has emerged, Pope Francis said the church will work to eliminate the death penalty around the world.

In the United States, according to the Pew Research Service, public support for the death penalty has ticked up slightly since hitting a four-decade low in 2016, with 54 per cent approving of the punishment for those convicted of murder.

"It's going to be a matter of conscience", said the Rev. Peter Clark, director of the Institute of Clinical Bioethics at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Since then, the number of nations that use capital punishment has decreased. The attitudes of Catholics mirror those of the nation, with 53 percent favoring the death penalty.

The old text in Paragraph 2267 stated: "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor". That gave politicians a way to honour their faith and the law.

"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.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Friday said the Pope's declaration clears any vagueness on the Church's position on death penalty. "I think that it's well beyond time for the state to take steps to make it part of our actual state laws". The penalty was most recently reinstated in 1995 by Republican Governor George Pataki - authorizing death by lethal injection only - although it was later struck down by the State Supreme Court in 2004 as being unconstitutional.

Cuomo says his proposal is made in solidarity with the pope and in honor of his late father, Mario Cuomo, a staunch death penalty opponent during his three terms as NY governor from 1983 to 1994.

"It was expected for a long time, starting with John Paul II", he said. "It is an important tool to protect our corrections officers and public safety".

He was responding to a question from The Tablet about whether a shift in the Church's position was occurring after the Pope used a speech to call for the "global abolition" of the death penalty while talking about the "right of the environment" when addressing the the United Nations in NY. His spokeswoman did not return messages about whether the pope's statement might shift Abbott's view.

What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church? "We have all sorts of people who do that on any wide range of issues, we are a pilgrim people", Cupich said.

But Hinkel said he believes life in prison without parole serves the same goal and is the moral choice for him as a Catholic. They did not approach in calling it intrinsically evil - a label applying to abortion, euthanasia, and other attacks on human life such as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

"In defending the abolition of the death penalty, one does not forget the suffering of the victims involved, nor the injustice that has been perpetrated".

The change addresses several sentences of the catechism, the Catholic compendium of its beliefs, and it clearly elaborates the church's opposition to a policy that is heavily debated around the world and used in parts of the United States, The Washington Post reported.

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