ASSOCIATED PRESS – NICOLE WINFIELD
Pope Francis marked the 25th anniversary of a landmark compilation of Catholic teaching by saying Wednesday it should be changed to address an issue close to his heart: the death penalty.
During an anniversary ceremony at the Vatican, Francis repeated his insistence that capital punishment is “inadmissible” under any circumstance. He said the death penalty violates the Gospel and amounts to the voluntary killing of a human life, which “is always sacred in the eyes of the creator.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, issued a quarter century ago by St. John Paul II to give Catholics an easy, go-to guide for church teaching, doesn’t exclude recourse to the death penalty.
While saying its need is increasingly rare “if not practically non-existent,” the Catechism says capital punishment is permissible if it’s the only way to defend life against an “unjust aggressor.”
The death penalty has been abolished in most of Europe and South America, but it is still in use in the United States and in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Mideast.