Hope for inmates on death row as Pope condemns all executions

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Hope for inmates on death row as Pope condemns all executions

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich already had agreed to serve on a panel Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in Chicago to discuss changing laws, standards and attitudes about capital punishment.

Previously, the church didn't exclude capital punishment "if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor".

Pope Francis has approved changes to the Catechism that clarify that the Catholic Church views the death penalty as being "inadmissible" in all circumstances.

"However grave the crime that may be committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person", Francis said in 2017.

In addition, plenty of Catholic organizations are active in the anti-death penalty campaign, including the Sant'Egidio Community, which together with Italian authorities always lights up Rome's Colosseum whenever a country abolishes capital punishment. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: "'Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this'".

In his reversal of the church's stance, Pope Francis noted that convicted criminals can be incarcerated with the potential for rehabilitation.

In the United States, 23 people were executed, a slight increase from 2016 but a low number compared to historical trends, Amnesty said.

"I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world", John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author, told the Times.

No longer does the Catholic Church allow for the possibility that the death penalty may be legitimately imposed.

In his 1995 encyclical letter Evangelium Vitæ, John Paul had 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 defense" on the part of society", the letter notes. On the other hand, he said, it is a method frequently used by "totalitarian regimes and fanatical groups" to do away with "political dissidents, minorities" and any other person deemed a threat to their power and to their goals.

Indeed eliminating capital punishment is a precondition for entrance into the European Union.

In a letter to bishops August 2, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, 'The new revision. situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine'.

Speaking at an exhibition in the Phoenix Park yesterday, Dr Martin said he had no response from the Vatican on whether or not Pope Francis will make time to meet abuse survivors.

Amnesty International, which has long campaigned for a worldwide ban on the death penalty, welcomed the development as an "important step forward".

New catechism calling for end to death penalty...

"He's saying that the death penalty is inadmissible because the dignity of a human person at all stages of life", said Fr. Sibley.

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