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Catholic Church Now Formally Opposes Death Penalty In All Cases

10 August 2018

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.

The Vatican said the pontiff approved a change to the catechism, which gives worshippers a go-to guide for official Catholic Church teachings on subjects ranging from the sacraments to sex.

In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI renewed Pope John Paul II's appeal to end the death penalty, and in his historic speech before the US Congress in September of 2015, Pope Francis called for a global abolition of capital punishment.

She also said more than 2,800 people are now on death row in the United States and 14 executions are scheduled for the remainder of 2018, including three in August.

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"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", Pope Francis explained in his letter, "and had developed in an environment in which it was more hard to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime".

"Two years ago, in October 2016, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for the abolition of the death penalty, denouncing its effects not only on victims and others immediately affected, but also on society". In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. States, he added, now have more effective systems of detention, "which exclude the danger and trauma of violence being done to innocent people" and allow for the possibility of a guilty person's conversion and redemption. The teaching on capital punishment, while important enough to be included in the Roman Catechism, is not part of the Church's dogma, or the set of infallible articles of faith, such as the divinity of Christ or the Trinitarian God.

A big reason for the death penalty not coming back was Governor Andrew Cuomo's father, Mario, who vetoed a push to bring it back 12 times when he was governor.

The death penalty is still legal in 31 states, but the Pope's highly visible statement may provoke a re-evaluation of the policy in some of them.

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Muhamad Juanda, who narrowly escaped the mosque collapse, said 100 people were praying inside when the earth began to roll. The main tourist areas of Lombok in the south and west of the island appear to have been spared the worst of the damage.

Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo removed capital punishment in June 2006 with her signature on Republic Act 9346, or "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines". This was the justification for the capital punishment by Catholics in many cases.

Ladaria said the change "centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life". "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".

Francis has long denounced the death penalty and even opposes life sentences, which he has called "hidden" death sentences.

Is Pope Francis' change a substantial deviation from previous teachings?

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Catholic Church Now Formally Opposes Death Penalty In All Cases