The Vatican considers the death penalty is unacceptable

Posted August 10, 2018

The Roman Catholic Church says it has changed its teaching to declare the death penalty "inadmissible" to reflect that all life is sacred and there is no justification for state-sponsored executions.

Francis announced his intention to change church teaching on capital punishment in October.

"The key point here is really human dignity", Vatican Spokesman Greg Burke said.

The decree is also unlikely to slow the nation's busiest death chamber in Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott - a devout Catholic - has previously said there was no conflict between his faith and support for the death penalty.

What has it changed from?

The new teaching says the previous policy is outdated because there are new ways to protect the common good, and the church should instead commit itself to working to end capital punishment. "For people in the pews, it is a challenge to actively build a culture of life by abolishing the death penalty, especially in the 31 states that still have it on the books in this country", stated Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of CMN.

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But Hinkel said he believes life in prison without parole serves the same objective and is the moral choice for him as a Catholic. "She urged all States that still apply the death penalty to introduce a moratorium leading to its final abolition", the document reads.

By the end of a year ago, 106 countries worldwide had banned the death penalty.

Leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, where 80 percent are of the faith, have been strongly opposed to government's move.

The only place in Europe where it is still legal is Belarus, which has a sizeable Catholic minority of about 7% of the population.

Archbishop Fisichella said the Church recognizes the "mixed feelings in the face of such violent and inhumane crimes" that can lead to the decision to pass the death penalty. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

In March 2017, the House of Representatives passed a draft law on restoring capital punishment, which is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's electoral promises as part of his war on drugs.

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Some on social media questioned the timing of the announcement, given that the Vatican and the Catholic Church are under extraordinary fire over clerical sex abuse and how bishops around the world covered it up for decades.

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. 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.

"This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty", Francis told top USA elected lawmakers.

"Given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems", Ladaria wrote, "the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people".

Although it's "rare" that Catholic countries have the death penalty, the Times reports, this new revision will leave "no trace of ambiguity".

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