Did the Pope Really Say the Death Penalty is Always Wrong?


Is there any proof that he actually said this? Yes, I know that he said that it is “inadmissible,” but it is possible that it he simply failed to specify. Did he actually announce that he will change the Church teaching? Since when has the Church changed its teachings? I think that people have made too many assumptions from this one word. It is far more likely that Pope Francis meant that the death penalty is inadmisssable in any country with a sufficiently advanced prison system. I have not yet verified that this alleged “teaching” has actually been taught, so I do not believe this news. Is there proof?


Inadmissable ≠ inherently evil


It would be far, far better if we didn’t have to guess and parse terms.


Does it only apply if they’ve been taken into custody?


This is only a mild development of the previous teaching in the Catechism (already controversial in some quarters), which stated that there are few imaginable situations in a modern nation where the death penalty is the only option. It has now changed from few to none.

The Church cannot rule that capital punishment is intrinsically evil or even always unjust, but she can certainly teach against its actual use. As Christians, we have all been spared the sentence of death and damnation we deserve, and Jesus had a pointed parable about people who receive mercy and then insist on strict justice for others. One would think, after that time we executed God, we would be leery of taking on such momentous and irreversible judgments if there is any alternative.

It should never be a question of who we get to kill, but who we reluctantly have to kill, just as in unavoidable war or self-defense. If living in modern society allows us to avoid killing, that is a cause for rejoicing, not complaint!


Killing an active threat is not execution. This is talking about having a person helpless at our mercy and choosing to kill when we could refrain and still protect people from the offender.


I don’t think anyone really knows what Pope Francis said. I’m just assuming that the former teaching is still valid and reconcilable with the new.


Okay. Hard labor for 30 years should be sufficient.


The Pope said that capital punishment is contrary to human dignity, which certainly seems to say that it is intrinsically evil.


I don’t know. What is the exact change?

To me, the idea of physical punishment has always coincided with the belief in hell as the ultimate physical punishment for one’s deeds. If one is bad as a child, their parents might spank them. If one did something as a kid to a good friend that was deserving of a punch in the face, one might have received one. Later in life if continuing to act up one might have got roughed up by a policeman and perhaps by that point changed their ways as a result. The ones who didn’t may have continued to decline on such a path, eventually ending up on death row and given a chance at repentance before death which is something they might not have got otherwise.


In the few cases when the death penalty has [formerly] been permissible, it is not about killing the criminal because they deserve it, but because there is absolutely no other way to keep innocent people safe.


That’s actually fairly lenient for the sorts of crimes that normally prompt calls for execution!


I agree. Given our increasingly precarious lack of law and order, Pope Francis has made another curious statement, it seems to me, that causes more consternation. We are now in a position of denouncing our knowledgeable civil authorities and overriding our judiciary just like the hard left, further eroding institutional trust in our free republic.




We do have the letter from the Vatican to the bishops on the issue that was approved by Pope Francis.



The Pope makes a statement, and suddenly everyone jumps on it with “THE POPE CHANGED THE CATECHISM!!”

I’ll believe it when the hardcopy of the approved Catechism sold on Amazon reflects the changes. Until then, it’s click bait.


In this case he literally did change the Catechism, though. :stuck_out_tongue:




Literally? He told the publisher to make the changes?


You haven’t bothered to read anything official on this, have you?

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