Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Vatican changes teaching to oppose death penalty in all cases

Vatican changes teaching to oppose death penalty in all cases

On Thursday the Pope announced that the Catholic catechism will no longer teach that the death penalty is acceptable in some cases, as it did before.

The new provision is expected to face stiff opposition from Catholics in countries such as the United States, where many support the death penalty.

Spokesman Greg Burke says popes going back to St. John Paul II have called for the abolition of capital punishment. On nearly every of his foreign trips, the Pope has visited prisoners to offer words of support and hope.

Cupich has voiced his opinion on the death penalty in the past.

The House of Representatives where Duterte supporters enjoy a super majority unanimously approved a bill for the return of the death penalty for heinous crimes which, aside from illegal drugs, also include murder, kidnap-for-ransom, treason and homicide with rape.

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Fr. Greg Faulhaber of Queen of Heaven Parish in West Seneca says he has yet to finish his homily for Sunday's mass, however, he expects to talk about the update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the book of official teachings of the church. There may never have been a more poignant time for an announcement like this: With a disgraceful abuse tempting many to leave the church, the Vatican's clarity on capital punishment offers a well-timed reminder of what is pure and holy in the Christian tradition.

"These upcoming executions are a stark reminder that the death penalty is active in the United States, and it violates our commitment to the dignity of all life", she said.

"Today, in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of my father, I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty from NY law once and for all", he tweeted on Thursday.

The Catechism of the Church, which sums up the teachings, previously stated that death penalty could be used in some cases. For Catholic lawyers, judges and governors in those countries they now have to contend with a Church teaching on a topic which runs counter to their law of the land. "And no Catholic has any obligation of obedience to abuse of authority", tweeted the traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli.

That lead to a dispute between the governor and attorney general, when Landry announced his office would no longer defend challenges to the state's execution protocol.

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The signal from the Papacy ought ideally to prompt a reflection on the issue, most particularly in the USA and China.

"Coming in the midst of the sex abuse revelations, the timing is curious... and more fury is not what the Church needs at this moment", noted Raymond Arroyo, host of the Catholic broadcaster EWTN.

While the catechism contains the infallible doctrines proclaimed by popes and ecumenical councils in church history - called dogmas - it also presents teachings not communicated and defined in those terms.

Aside from Sotto, Senators Manny Pacquiao, Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian and Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito have filed bills seeking to either fully reimpose death penalty or impose it for selected crimes only. "Today they are saying it in an even clearer way".

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