Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Archdiocese of Lafayette has released a statement in support of Pope Francis’ stance that governments should be working to eliminate the death penalty.
“Media are reporting that Pope Francis has called the death penalty for capital crimes ‘inadmissible’ and that states should be working to abolish the death penalty,” Deshotel said Thursday afternoon. “His statement reiterates the teaching of the last two popes, St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict.
“In his encyclical, ‘The Gospel of Life,’ St. John Paul II writes that the state has an obligation to protect innocent life from an unjust aggressor. In our modern states, that can be accomplished by incarceration. Also, given the culture of death in our times, abortion, murder, euthanasia, the state should opt for incarceration instead of the death penalty.
“Pope Francis also adds that the opportunity for conversion, redemption, and rehabilitation exists even for one who has committed a heinous crime. Opting for incarceration instead of capital punishment also makes a statement for the sacredness of human life, even of a person who has committed a serious crime.”
Deshotel’s statement comes on the heels of on Pope Francis’s change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding capital punishment.