Pope says death penalty 'inadmissable'

Endeavour Mary McAleese

Endeavour Mary McAleese

Archbishop of Dublin Dr Martin has said he is urging the Vatican to arrange a meeting between Pope Francis and survivors of industrial schools, Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes and those who suffered from clerical sex abuse, but fears the pontiff won't have time during his two-day visit later this month.

Reporting from Rome, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says the catechism change is "likely to be opposed by Catholics in the US and other states where capital punishment is legal".

The Catholic Church now formally considers the death penalty "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person", and is pledging to work for its abolition worldwide.

The change will be reflected in the most important guide to church teaching, the catechism. It also praised the Roman Catholic Church for its commitment to end the death penalty.

In an explanatory letter to bishops, Ladaria says that the update highlights "the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life".

It now says it is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person".

At that 2017 ceremony, the Pope said the death penalty violates the Gospel and compared it to the voluntary killing of a human life.

More news: MGM inks deal to become NBA's official betting sponsor

"Given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems", Ladaria wrote, "the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people".

He also cited John Paul II who taught that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes.

While the change does not represent a teaching made ex cathedra where the pope exercises the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium - the Catechism is not a magisterial document, rather a summary of magisterial documents - some regard Francis' move as a way of opening the door to bigger changes down the road.

"This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty", Francis told top USA elected lawmakers.

Cuomo says his proposal is made in solidarity with the pope and in honor of his late father, Mario Cuomo, a staunch death penalty opponent during his three terms as NY governor from 1983 to 1994.

"We always have to hope that even the worst criminal can experience a change of heart and have a conversion as long as they have life and breath in this world", Blair added. We await a comparable statement on the death penalty. In the letter, the pope called capital punishment "cruel, inhumane and degrading" and said it "does not bring justice to the victims, but only foments revenge".

Over the past decades, Catholic leaders appear to have grown less comfortable with selectively supporting the death penalty.

Latest News