August 2, 2018
Today, I commend Pope Francis for his clarification on Catholic Church teaching on the death penalty, declaring it inadmissible in all cases. In 1995 Pope John Paul II said that execution is only appropriate “when it would not be possible to defend society,” but he pointed out that such cases were “very rare, if not nonexistent.” Today Pope Francis has made even clearer the Church’s consistent life ethic.
While it has become popular for people to accept capital punishment as a just consequence for heinous crimes, the death penalty is an act of revenge. Taking someone’s life, regardless of the reason, is an attack, as the Holy Father said, “on the dignity of a person.” Capital punishment destroys the sanctity of life and diminishes us as a society.