Pope declares death penalty inadmissible, changing Church's stance

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Recourse to the death penalty, following a fair trial, had always been "an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good", it previously said.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7 Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich has weighed in on a major change in Catholic teaching after Pope Francis said the death penalty is never acceptable.

At the Pope's direction, the Catholic Catechism has been revised, and now calls the death penalty "inadmissible".

Critics of the American justice system argue that the deterrence value of capital punishment is debatable.

She wrote a 1998 law review article suggesting that Catholic judges should consider recusing themselves in some death penalty cases that might conflict with their religious beliefs. The revision situates itself in continuity with the preceding Magisterium, including the teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, thus bringing forth a coherent development of Catholic Doctrine.

Significantly, the amended text does not state that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, calling it instead "inadmissible", while referring to changed circumstances that would make it so in the current social context.

Restoring the death penalty remains a priority of the Duterte administration, despite the Vatican's pronouncement that it is "inadmissible" in any circumstance.

One can not but observe, however, that Pope Francis' strong stance allows us to grasp the advancement that is being made. It is a perceptive glance that recognizes that conversion, repentance and the desire to start life anew can not be taken away from anyone, not even from those guilty of the most serious crimes.

In the United States, 23 people were executed, a slight increase from 2016 but a low number compared to historical trends, Amnesty said, adding that it was the only country in the Americas that carried out executions.

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Four months after the declaration of martial law in September 1972, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos ordered the execution of notorious drug lord Lim Seng to serve, Marcos said, as a deterrent against the growing drug menace.

Previously, the catechism said the church did not exclude recourse to capital punishment "if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor".

Catholics have been encouraged by Papal and Church authority to seek abolition of the death penalty for over 20 years.

"Would that he had lived to be here today, to see what the pope has done, because I think it would cause him to rethink that", Cupich said. My father staked his political career on his opposition to the death penalty and never backed down, saying it 'demeans those who strive to preserve human life and dignity'.

"When the state imposes the death penalty, it proclaims that taking one human life counterbalances the taking of another life".

Faulhaber says the new wording is consistent with the Vatican's "womb to tomb" defense of all life. The most recent Gallup poll finds that 55 percent favor the death penalty and 41 percent oppose it.

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished capital punishment in June 2006 when she signed Republic Act 9346, also known as An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines.

A new draft of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Aug. 2, after Pope Francis approved it in May.

Pope Francis requested the change to the catechism's section on the death penalty in October 2017, during a speech at the Vatican commemorating the 25th anniversary of the catechism's creation.

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