Sun. 7:45 pm: Hamilton prosecutor disagrees with pope over death penalty

Clay Curtis
August 10, 2018

But now things are changing, and the famous Pope Francis of Roman Catholic Church has announced to start a movement to oppose the death penalty punishment and to consider the capital punishment as an inappropriate act to save lives.

The Community of Sant'Egidio, an association that represents Christians in 70 countries and a long-time campaigner against the death penalty, expressed "joy" at the move. The US president has also called for terrorists and "perverts" to be put to death.

What has it changed from?

The Catholic Church's teaching on the death penalty has slowly evolved since the time of Pope John Paul II, who served from 1978 to 2005.

Now, the Church says it recognizes that "the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes".

The church's updated teaching states that capital punishment is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person".

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Thirty-one states in the US allow the death penalty, including Nebraska, where the issue could soon become front-and-centre: The state is scheduled to carry out an execution on August 14, its first in more than two decades. In its letter to bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that Francis's decision followed logically from developments introduced by his two predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II. The death penalty is morally indefensible and has no place in the 21st century. "By definition, the lives of nearly all those on death row are not 'innocent'". He did so by revising the relevant text in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative volume containing Church doctrines.

The death penalty has been a source of controversy for decades, with organizations like the ACLU opposing execution since the 1920s. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

While the catechism contains the infallible doctrines proclaimed by popes and ecumenical councils in church history - called dogmas - it also presents teachings not communicated and defined in those terms.

His son, Nicholas Hinkle, studies philosophy and theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, where he said he discusses capital punishment with professors and peers. A significant proportion of Catholics in the United States are immigrants, many of them Hispanic.

"Modern society has the ability to punish crimes effectively without definitively taking away the possibility of redemption for those who commit them", he said.

Although it's "rare" that Catholic countries have the death penalty, the Times reports, this new revision will leave "no trace of ambiguity". The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in 2005, which ultimately led to the formation of CMN. As recently as January 11, 2017 the Diocese of Toledo held a prayer vigil to bring an end to the death penalty in view of a pending OH execution. "The death penalty is a failed practice that perpetuates the cycle of violence and disproportionately targets marginalized populations, especially people of color, those living in poverty and people suffering with mental illness".

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