Pope changes Catechism teaching: Death penalty deemed ‘inadmissible’

  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::element_type() should be compatible with views_handler_field::element_type($none_supported = false, $default_empty = false, $inline = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 23.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 23.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
Pope Francis changes Catechism teaching: death penalty deemed ‘inadmissible’

Pope changes Catechism teaching: Death penalty deemed ‘inadmissible’

By Iacopo Scaramuzzi/ lastampa.it

Ladaria states the new revision “situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine”.

Pope Francis has ordered the modification of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to establish that the death penalty, hitherto not excluded in absolute terms, “is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and the dignity of the person”. A reformulation that, said Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine”.

This sentence was pronounced by Jorge Mario Bergoglio at a meeting last October on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the new Catechism wanted by John Paul II, during which he had announced his intention to reformulate the text of this section of the Catechism. And now the Vatican Press Office has released a rescript that explains that the Pope, in an audience granted last May 11 to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Francisco Ladaria, approved the “the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

This is the new text of the paragraph concerning the death penalty: “Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, 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’, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.” The rescript, signed yesterday and issued today, provides that the new text ‘be translated into the various languages and included in all editions of the aforementioned Catechism’.

The original version of the Catechism, in paragraph 2267, stated that “assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of 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. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offence incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent’”.

In a letter sent to all the bishops of the world, Cardinal Ladaria explains that “if, in fact, the political and social situation of the past made the death penalty an acceptable means for the protection of the common good, today the increasing understanding that the dignity of a person is not lost even after committing the most serious crimes, the deepened understanding of the significance of penal sanctions applied by the State, and the development of more efficacious detention systems that guarantee the due protection of citizens have given rise to a new awareness that recognizes the inadmissibility of the death penalty and, therefore, calling for its abolition.”

The cardinal at the head of the former Holy Office points out that it is a “development” in which “the teaching of the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitæ of John Paul II is of great importance”. The Holy Father “enumerated among the signs of hope for a new culture of life ‘a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of «legitimate defence» on the part of society’”. The teaching was then included in the Catechism, Ladaria continues, according to which “the death penalty is not presented as a proportionate penalty for the gravity of the crime”.

After recalling other subsequent speeches by Karol Wojtyla against the death penalty (the Christmas Message of 1998 and a trip to the United States of the same year), Ladaria recalls how “the motivation to be committed to the abolition of the death penalty was continued with the subsequent Pontiffs”, and emphasizes, in particular, that Benedict XVI recalled “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty” and he later wished that the commitment of a group of faithful encouraged initiatives “to eliminate the death penalty”. “In this same perspective”, underlines Ladaria quoting the relative texts, Pope Francis has reiterated on several occasions that the death penalty is “inadmissible”, it “entails cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment”, it is to be rejected “in the face of the possibility of judicial error”.

The new revision “situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine” explained Ladaria, recalling that “it remains the duty of public authorities to defend the life of citizens, as has always been taught by the Magisterium and is confirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church in numbers 2265 and 2266”. In this regard, the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.

The new revision, a result of an understanding grown “in the light of the Gospel”, “desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favour a mentality that recognizes the dignity of every human life and, in respectful dialogue with civil authorities, to encourage the creation of conditions that allow for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect”.

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 22:19
Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.