12:28, August 02 238 0 abajournal.com

2018-08-02 12:28:04
Pope changes catechism to say the death penalty is ‘inadmissible’ in all cases

Pope Francis announced a change to the catechism Thursday that says the death penalty is “inadmissible” in all cases “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

The change was announced Thursday with the release of a letter to bishops that said the change stemmed from a new understanding of modern punishment, which should aim to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes, report the National Catholic Reporter, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and the Associated Press.

The letter by the head of the Vatican’s doctrine office said the new text was an evolution of prior teaching.

The pope has previously called for abolition of the death penalty, and he requested a change to the catechism during a speech in October.

The revised text now reads: “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 text says the imposition of the death penalty by a legitimate authority after a fair trial “was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.”

“Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes,” the text says.

Amnesty International reports that more than 20,000 people are on death row worldwide. Vatican expert John Thavis told the New York Times that the revision “will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world.”