Pope Francis said capital punishment attacks the dignity and inviolability of a person.
Pope Francis declared the death penalty to be “inadmissible” and said the Catholic church will work to get it abolished all over the world. He said capital punishment attacks the dignity and inviolability of a person. This change will pitch the Vatican against a number of countries where death sentences are legal, like China and the United States.
The Vatican has confirmed a change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The latter compiles official teachings of the Catholic Church. The catechism, in its previous version, included the option of capital punishment if it represented the sole option of “effective defense” against unjust aggressors. The new version is found in Catechism Number 2267. The logic behind the change is there now exists multiple methods to protect any common good. The new definition informs that as per the Gospel, the death penalty cannot be imposed as it attacks the dignity and inviolability of the person. The church should now thus try to abolish such a penalty all over the world. This new text was approved by the papacy in May but was published only on August 2.
As per the Vatican, there has been a rise in awareness that the dignity of any person does not get lost even after that person commits serious crimes. The church said that better detention systems are now available which could protect citizens and dole out justice without depriving the guilty any chance of a possibility of redemption. The pope has earlier spoken forcefully against the death penalty, saying that this action “heavily wounds” any human dignity and described it as a kind of inhuman measure. The pontiff said that capital punishment was contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. On August 2, he went a step further by making formal changes to church teaching or universal catechism.
This move by the Vatican will pit the Catholic Church against the Trump administration. President Donald J. Trump of the United States has emphatically said that he prefers drug dealers to be given the death penalty. Trump has also recommended that “perverts” and terrorists be given the death punishment.
Pope Francis has long opposed the death punishment. He announced the intention to change the teachings of the church in October 2017, the time he marked the catechism’s 25th anniversary of its publication by his wish to update the same. The text was initially promulgated by an earlier pontiff, St. John Paul II.