Death penalty is inadmissible in all cases, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis

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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.

Reversing long-held church doctrine and aligning himself with progressive Catholic advocates, Pope Francis said Thursday that the death penalty is "inadmissable" in all cases.

My father staked his political career on his opposition to the death penalty and never backed down, saying it 'demeans those who strive to preserve human life and dignity'.

The Church was working "with determination" for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, the new teaching says. The county, which includes Cincinnati, has a larger death row population per capita than the counties containing the cities of Los Angeles, Miami or San Diego, and has more people on death row than all but 21 of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, according to the newspaper.

Recourse to the death penalty, following a fair trial, had always been "an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good", it previously said.

The district attorney, Chilo Alaniz, in a statement says: "I respect the teachings of the Catholic church, however, my job is to protect the community". "In addition, a new understanding has emerged for the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state".

The Pope announced his decision to change Church teaching on the death penalty last October on the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism.

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Updated: In an appearance at the ABA Annual Meeting on Thursday, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich said revisions to the catechism on the death penalty reflect evolving church doctrine and an acknowledgement that the scales of justice can't be rebalanced after a murder.

As Governor, Mario Cuomo vetoed legislation reinstating the death penalty 12 times in 12 years.

The Times notes that Francis has previously spoken out against the penalty, and abolishing it "has been one of Francis' top priorities for many years".

"The death penalty is a stain on our conscience. For people in the pews, it is a challenge to actively build a culture of life by abolishing the death penalty, especially in the 31 states that still have it on the books in this country", stated Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of CMN.

"So whenever I teach on the death penalty, I'll say that the church is clear that the dignity of a human person, even if they're criminals, even if they're rightly convicted, that we ought not take life because of the circumstances we have today where we can incarcerate and hopefully rehabilitate criminals", said Fr. Sibley.

"He wants to comment on the United States' judicial system, a system that is by far the best, while ignoring the problems of all the other judicial systems around the world", Landry said.

Though I found myself agreeing with much of Elizabeth Bruenig's August 1 op-ed, "Can we trust the Catholic Church?". "Even people who do. repulsive things, we should to want to pray for their conversion and want them to repent for what they've done".

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