On the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the catechism that took place on October 1, Pope Francis declared that the death penalty is ‘contrary to the Gospel.’
Speaking to a congregation made up of cardinals, Bishops, priests, nuns, catechists, and Ambassadors from many countries, the Pope added:
“One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is carried out. And [it] is, of itself, contrary to the Gospel, because it is freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator, and of which, in the final analysis, God alone is the true judge and guarantor.”
The pope’s comments and the timing of them suggest that a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church may be forthcoming to reflect this new development in the church’s understanding.
Referring to his Letter to the President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty dates March 20, 2015, the Pope said:
“No man ever, not even the murderer, loses his personal dignity, because God is a Father who always awaits the return of the son who, knowing that he has done wrong, asks pardon and begins a new life.” For this reason, he said, “life cannot be taken away from anyone” and there must always be “the possibility of a moral and existential redemption that will be to the favor of the community.”
Many Christian faithfuls around the world are certain to welcome his statement regarding this issue, having waited for the church’s position on it for a long time.
Photo Credit: Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA