Papal Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” Denounces Death Penalty

In “Fratelli Tutti,” the latest papal encyclical released by Pope Francis on Oct. 4, 2020 on the topic of “fraternity and social friendship,” the Holy Father makes an unequivocal reaffirmation of the inadmissibility of capital punishment in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

“There can be no stepping back from this position,” Pope Francis writes.

Building upon the context set by St. John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” Francis notes in “Fratelli Tutti” that “it is impossible to imagine that states today have no other means than capital punishment to protect the lives of other people from the unjust aggressor.”

In a notable expansion, Pope Francis also addresses the proclivity toward vengeance that fuels the practice of capital punishment. As pastor and Pontiff, he advises against becoming “obsessed with taking revenge and destroying the other” and reminds the faithful that “nothing is gained this way and, in the end, everything is lost.” In addition, the Holy Father addresses even those who “remain hesitant on this point.”

Click here to read the full death penalty section of “Fratelli Tutti.”