Pope Francis greets the faithful before the Christmas day's Urbi et Orbi blessing on the main balcony of the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday December 25, 2016. Alessandra Tarantino AP Photo

Vatican City – Pope Francis has changed the Catholic catechism to declare the death penalty inadmissible, assuming the Church’s commitment to abolish it worldwide.

“In the light of the Gospel, the death penalty is inadmissible because it violates the inviolability and dignity of the person,” said the new text, which was announced in a statement by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Ladaria Ferrer .

In the earlier version of the catechism, the death penalty was admitted as “the only possible way to effectively defend human lives of an unjust aggressor”, considering that it was a response “adequate to the seriousness of certain offenses and an acceptable means , although extreme, for the protection of the common good “.

In the new text, it is emphasized that “today there is a growing awareness that human dignity is not lost, not even after very serious crimes”, with the Church showing “a new understanding of the meaning of criminal sanctions “applied by the States.

Now, there are “more effective detention systems that ensure the necessary defense of citizens, but at the same time do not deprive the prisoner of the possibility of redemption.”

For this reason, the Catholic Church “commits itself with determination” to achieve the abolition “worldwide” of capital punishment, considered “an attack on inviolability and dignity of the person.”


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