Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'
Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'


The Holy Father Pope Francis has approved the following revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church recommended by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (August 1, 2018).  It reflects the gradual development of the Church’s teaching that the death penalty is “inadmissible” and should be abolished.  Here is the new text:  

The death penalty

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. 

Consequently, 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.

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The Holy Father Pope Francis has approved the following revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church recommended by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (August 1, 2018).  It reflects the gradual development of the Church’s teaching that the death penalty is “inadmissible” and should be abolished.  Here is the new text:  

The death penalty

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. 

Consequently, 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.

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