The Roman Catholic Church and the death penalty

The Catholic News Agency reports that a new draft of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, condemning the death penalty, has been issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 2 August, after its approval by Pope Francis. The new paragraph states in part that

“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 Catechism had earlier stated that the death penalty was “an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good”; however, the new text says there is “an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes”.

All of which is in accordance with Protocol No. 13 to the ECHR, which declares: “The death penalty shall be abolished. No one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed.”

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