Catholic Church Changes Doctrine To Oppose Death Penalty

Pope Francis

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. His father, Mario, vetoed legislation reinstating corporal punishment 12 times in 12 years as governor.

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.

This policy is incongruous with Catholic teachings regarding the dignity of human life, the pope proclaimed. In Summa Theologica, the Dominican scholastic said authorities had legitimate recourse to the death penalty: "It is lawful ('permissible') to kill an evildoer in so far as it is directed to the welfare of the whole community, so that it belongs to him alone who has charge of the community's welfare".

Pope Francis has changed church teaching about the death penalty, saying it can never be sanctioned because it "attacks" the inherent dignity of all humans.

"So whenever I teach on the death penalty, I'll say that the church is clear that the dignity of a human person, even if they're criminals, even if they're rightly convicted, that we ought not take life because of the circumstances we have today where we can incarcerate and hopefully rehabilitate criminals", said Fr. Sibley.

"Today is a capstone teaching moment for the Catholic Church".

"We can't claim anymore that's the only way you can defend society", she said.

He has also made prison ministry a mainstay of his vocation, and on almost every foreign trip he visits inmates to offer words of solidarity and hope. On nearly every of his foreign trips, the Pope has visited prisoners to offer words of support and hope.

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Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office, explained that the pope's directive is an evolution of the church's teachings in a letter to all bishops around the world, noted the Herald.

The Rev. Robert Gahl, a moral theologian at Rome's Pontifical Holy Cross University, agreed. The death penalty regardless of the means of execution entails cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

However, after he was elected as Senate President in May, he said he is only pushing for capital punishment for high-level drug traffickers.

Deters says that hasn't changed his mind that he must seek the death penalty in cases involving what he considers the worst slayings.

Other criticisms of the Catechism change center on the ambiguity of the text Francis inserted into the Catechism, the pope having cited himself in the revised Catechism text, and some speculate outright formal heresy on the part of Francis. "And no Catholic has any obligation of obedience to abuse of authority", tweeted the traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli.

The Catholic bishops serving in Nebraska - Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln and Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island - also issued a statement in response to the catechism revision.

The signal from the Papacy ought ideally to prompt a reflection on the issue, most particularly in the United States and China.

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