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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis changes Church's position on death penalty: It's inadmissible

Pope Francis has authorized a modification of the Catholic Church Catechism regarding the death penalty. 

The change applies to section 2267, in which the Catechism assured the Church “does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” The same section recognized these cases are “very rare,” but established the death penalty as “an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.”

The revision made by the pope is a substantial one, and he had already mentioned it during this encounter in October 2017 in commemoration of 25 years of the latest Catechism. 

“However serious the crime committed may have been, the death penalty is inadmissible because it undermines the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

The new modification includes this petition by the Holy Father and assures that, from now on, the Church will work “with determination for its abolition worldwide.” Pope Francis has expressed this desire on many occasions, including before the U.S. Congress. 

September 24, 2015 (U.S. Congress)
“I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred.”

This change comes as a result of “more effective systems of detention, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”