Pope Francis has approved a new revision of paragraph number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, according to which “a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state,” thus “the death penalty is inadmissible”.
Revision in continuity with preceding Magisterium
In the Letter to the Bishops Cardinal Ladaria explained that the revision of n. 2267 of the CCC “expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium” and said “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”.
Pope John Paul II’s appeal to abolish death penalty
Ladaria recalled that John Paul II asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated to better reflect the development of the doctrine that centers on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life affirming that “Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.” Ladaria said that in many occasions John Paul II intervened for the elimination of capital punishment describing it as “cruel and unnecessary.
Pope Benedict XVI
In the letter Cardinal Ladaria also recalled Benedict XVI who appealed for “the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty” and encouraged “political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”
Responsibility of authorities to defend the life of citizens
The new revision of number 2267 of CCC approved by Pope Francis, Ladaria said, !situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium while bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic doctrine” taking into account the new understanding of penal sanctions applied by the modern State”.
Its new revision, he continued, “desires to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favor 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”.
Source : Vatican News