Pope Francis changes Catholic teaching on death penalty

Elias Hubbard
August 10, 2018

But times have changed, he said. "They really can't answer those questions if they're going to be objective when judging those cases".

Cardinal Ladaria also noted that the popes were not the only Catholics to become increasingly aware of how the modern use of the death penalty conflicted with church teaching on the dignity of human life; the same position, he said, has been "expressed ever more widely in the teaching of pastors and in the sensibility of the people of God".

Pope Francis approval of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with "a new understanding.of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the State", now says "the death penalty is inadmissible".

While many people stand divided on the issue, Pope Francis recently declared that the death penalty was "unacceptable in all cases". "That's no longer true now", said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Program for Research on Religion. "I think that it's well beyond time for the state to take steps to make it part of our actual state laws".

The Enquirer earlier this year reported Hamilton County is now responsible for more executions in any county in OH since the death penalty was re-instituted in 1981.

The Vatican's change to the catechism, the church's guidance on interpreting Holy Writ (the Bible), was approved in May and published Thursday, as Yahoo News and other outlets reported Thursday.

His son, Nicholas Hinkle, studies philosophy and theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, where he said he discusses capital punishment with professors and peers. He said the pope's decree doesn't change his stance. "I was elected to serve and enforce the laws as they are stated by our government". "It is an important tool to protect our corrections officers and public safety". In Paris also welcomed the intention of the Catholic Church to abolish the death penalty worldwide. The next execution in Texas is set for September 12.

Faulhaber, who teaches at the seminary and has written on a book on Catholic politicans, says the Vatican's shift will support legislative efforts.

"The death penalty is morally indefensible and has no place in the 21st century", Cuomo said.

"There is no doubt the pope wants politicians to pay attention to this", said John Gehring, the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington. It's an issue that certainly will come up for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is Catholic.

The death penalty was reinstated in NY under the Pataki administration but halted by the courts in 2004.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Catholic and a Republican, said his support for the death penalty hasn't wavered.

Francis announced his intention to change church teaching on capital punishment in October, when he marked the 25th anniversary of the catechism itself. But it is still legal punishment in the United States and in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Mideast.

A spokesman for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards did not return messages seeking comment. Despite the change in Catholic doctrine, he has made no move to stop the execution of Carey Dean Moore.

Other civil rights groups have always been opposed to the death penalty because of its irreversible nature.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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