Catholic Church Now Formally Opposes Death Penalty In All Cases

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The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible whatever the circumstance, a move likely to be criticized in countries where capital punishment is legal.

"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"," the new text states.

Calling them "delusional", she warned that ignoring an issue "is not going to make it go away".

In an August 3 statement, he stressed: "All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and the dignity bestowed on them by the Creator can not be extinguished, even by grave sin, such that all persons, from conception until natural death possess inalienable dignity and value that points to their origin as sons and daughters of God".

Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, celebrates today's revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that, in all cases, the death penalty is "inadmissible" (Revised Catechism of the Catholic Church 2267).

After a contentious and emotional battle across this deep-red state, voters restored the death penalty in 2016. Nebraska's Catholic bishops urged people to contact state officials to stop the scheduled execution of Moore, 60, and cited the pope's teaching.

The reimposition of capital punishment in the country is still the priority of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, Malacañang said on Friday.

Pope Francis has altered the church's stance on issues before, including the handling of divorced and remarried couples, and to a lesser extent, homosexuality, among other changes.

In an accompanying letter explaining the change, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office said the development of Catholic doctrine on capital punishment didn't contradict prior teaching, but rather was an evolution of it.

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In a tweet, Sister Helen Prejean said Francis' decision to change church teaching on capital punishment "has closed the last remaining loophole in Catholic teaching on the death penalty".

Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before - including in 2015 in an address to Congress - added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Speaking in Dublin last night, Dr McAleese said the resignation of Irish bishop Dr John McAreavey in March over his mishandling of child abuser Fr Malachy Finnegan, as well as the clerical abuse scandals in Chile, suggested that Pope Francis was facing a "gargantuan endeavour".

Amnesty International estimates that more than 20,000 people are on death row worldwide and that more than 80 percent of the 993 executions carried out in 2017 occurred in the Arab world.

Pope Francis has previously spoken out against the death penalty, saying previous year it "heavily wounds human dignity" and is an inhuman measure.

In the United States, however, today's ruling is already receiving a mixed response given that 31 out of its 50 states maintain the death penalty.

"Evangelium Vitae" ("The Gospel of Life") was St. John Paul's 1995 encyclical on the dignity and sacredness of all human life.

He affirmed the pope's assertion that it violates human dignity and called the new teaching "an authentic development of the Church's doctrine that started with St. John Paul II and has continued under emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis".

If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the fifth Catholic on the Supreme Court, which regularly opines on death penalty cases and hears requests for stays of execution. There are also studies showing that, in the United States, capital punishment is unfairly applied, especially to African-Americans.