Pope Francis: Death penalty is contrary to the Gospel

Pontiff suggests Catechism should be changed to reflect the works and teachings of recent popes

Pope Francis at the general audience in the Paul VI Hall on Aug. 9, 2017. (Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

In an Oct. 11 speech to members of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Pope Francis said the topic of the death penalty should have “a more adequate and coherent space” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This topic “cannot be reduced to a mere memory of a historic teaching” without taking into account the works and teachings of recent popes, he said, adding that it must also consider the “mutual awareness of the Christian people, who refuse a consensual attitude toward a penalty which seriously undermines human dignity.”

“It must be strongly confirmed that condemning a person to the death penalty is an inhumane measure that humiliates, in any way it is pursued, human dignity.”

The death penalty, he said, “is in itself contrary to the Gospel because it is voluntarily decided to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of which God only in the final analysis is the true judge and guarantor.”

Pope Francis spoke to participants in a special day-long conference marking the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Saint John Paul II in 1992.

The Catechism currently explains that if “non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”

The Catechism says that cases in which execution is necessary, and therefore morally justified, are “very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

During their pontificates, Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly called for the abolition of the death penalty. Both popes encouraged nations to work towards just means of punishment and public order without recourse to the death penalty.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Comments are now closed for this article. 10/17/17.

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  1. Does this pope have amnesia or does he simply not read the Catechism? It already incorporates JPII’s prudential judgment in the text. The provisional text didn’t include it, but the final authoritative text did. Whoever writes this pope’s material has serious gaps in knowledge, even if that be the pope himself.

  2. Michael McDermott says:

    if “non-lethal means are sufficient”
    I agree – but if an imprisoned Gang Leader like Stanley Tookie Williams III – who is a “convicted murderer, who co-founded the West Side Crips, a street gang” Continues to Kill By Order while in Prison, what other option is available to Protect the Innocent?

    • Solitary confinement till natural death. No visitors.

      • The pope has said that solitary confinement is contrary to human dignity. Next he will claim that life imprisonment is contrary to human dignity. Then any prison sentence longer than ten years will be considered contrary to the Gospel. Eventually the pope will claim that sin doesn’t matter anymore. Essentially, he’s already said grave, habitual sin doesn’t matter anymore in the deplorable Amoris Laetitia. Everyone is good enough to receive Communion and everyone goes to heaven no matter what. Isn’t Catholicism 2.0 (Francis Edition) nifty?

      • Michael McDermott says:

        Solitary Confinement can be defeated with a mobbed up Lawyer having a ‘privileged’ conversation, as well as aspects of the ‘Prisoner Bill of Rights’

  3. So sorry, Pope Francis. You are mistaken. The death penalty is not contrary to the Gospels, and it was only recently, within the past fifty years that such a notion was introduced. St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Church, a saint, and one of the most brilliant persons who has ever lived, said the death penalty was not immoral. The person who commits the crime is the one responsible for the death sentence. While it is more charitable and merciful not to impose the death penalty, there is nothing wrong when it is imposed for a grave reason by the moral authority.

  4. This is the PERSONAL OPINION of Pope Francis and as faithful Catholics, we are not obligated to embrace it. Catholics can in good conscience support the death penalty and as jurors, make that recommendation.

    Interestingly, Jesus made no mention of the death penalty, even as He hung on the cross between two guilty men who had been given that sentence. Not contrary to the gospel at all, this fact appears in the gospels.

    • Panther Mom says:

      Kinda like how Catholics in good conscience support women who choose abortion.

      • Panther Mom, there is never a justification for abortion, ever, and only a conscience that is horribly malformed would support it. Can’t kill innocent life. Clear enough?

        Lots of Cal Catholic readers will want to virtue shame fellow Catholics who support the death penalty. That kind of spiritual self righteousness would be a good starting point in the confessional.

      • No comparison. A child in the womb is guilty of nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      So the death penalty is ok because corrupt religious people used the state to kill an innocent person that they were envious of.
      Seriously?

      • Understandably you are Anonymous because your twisting of the gospel facts is pathetic. You can oppose capital punishment for any reason, or none at all but the fact of the matter is that the Church has always maintained that the state has lawful recourse to it. The Deposit of Faith is protected from error, even in this matter.

        • That is not what you said in the post that people are responding to.
          I don’t want to get personal like you did to Kristin and Anonymous.
          The Deposit of Faith must be protected but I think you have misunderstood what it actually is.

    • Sorry but Kristin is very wrong. Her opinion goes against the teaching of Lumen Gentium, specifically article 25 which says that: “For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.”

      That is to say whenever the pope teaches according to his ministry as Supreme Pontiff, his words are to be adhered to: “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that…

      • his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will.” (article 25).

      • You should be sorry Jon, as you misrepresent Lumen Genitum 25, which relates to bishops teaching in communion with the pontiff. Now, back to my point about a pope’s PERSONAL OPINION. On on this particular issue, Pope Francis has departed from previous Catholic teaching which has always recognized legitimate recourse to the death penalty. Important to note that we as faithful Catholics are NOT bound to believe as he does on this topic, and if we do disagree, we are still perfectly within the teachings of the Church.

        • Anonymous says:

          No you are not PERFECTLY within the teachings of the Church.
          You want to present this as if it is just his opinion and that is not correct. He has the legitimate right to teach this. He is fully in keeping with Scripture and Tradition. The reason you don’t understand is because you are coming at it from the wrong side. Just like teenagers who ask “How far can we go in making out?”

          • No Anonymous. the interesting point is that the pope is NOT siding here with scripture and tradition, both of which are full of examples acknowledging capital punishment’s legitimacy. See Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:4 and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica among others. Certainly your bible toting Protestant friends can supply you with more by chapter and verse.

            When a pope continually voices his personal opinions on the issues of the day he causes the kind of confusion that seems to have gripped you and many others. “Make a mess” is what the current pontiff told the faithful, and by oversharing his own thoughts, is doing just that. Why do you refuse to see?!

        • Sorry again Kristin but I have quoted above the pertinent portion of the text of Lumen Gentium 25, and anyone can plainly read from it that your point is grossly MISTAKEN! The text is not only about bishops teaching in communion with the pope. ADDITIONALLY, contrary to your point: the truth is that to dissent from the teaching of the Magisterium is a sin. Beware!

          • Jon, all should read LG for their own instruction and edification, however, a pope’s personal opinion is not magisterial teaching! While it is important to adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, this is not the case with Pope Francis’ recent remarks. What he posits has not been divinely revealed, and it is contrast to scripture and tradition. Ease up Jon, there is room for disagreement here.

          • “There is room for disagreement here.” This is a wrong statement in light of the teachings in Lumen Gentium article 25: that the Roman Pontiff’s authentic magisterium be adhered to with a religious submission of mind and will. Kristin’s point contradicts this statement from the Second Vatican Council.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Um nooooo. It is not just the personal opinion of Pope Francis. It is the teaching from the Chair of Peter, to which all Catholic are to adhere.

      • Anonymous 2 says:

        Not an ex-cathedra teaching at all.

        Pastor Aeternus, 1870: The sovereign pontiff “cannot disclose new doctrine”. (#3)

      • Unless they don’t receive the teaching, as per Fr. James Martin. Then it’s not Church teaching. Two can play at that game.

        Don’t people see that Pope Francis, Fr. Spadaro, Fr. Martin, Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Cupich and all the rest in the gaggle of liberal prelates are disintegrating the Church by dissolving her perennial doctrine? Once they hollow out the Church’s doctrine, the Church will implode.

      • Anonymous says:

        No this is not ex cathedra.

      • Well “YFC”, you are wrong yet again. Get out your catechism and read up on papal infallibility. It is much more narrowly defined and invoked than you portray, and every utterance from the pope does not qualify as such.

    • Anonymous says:

      Acts 2:23

  5. Uh, not its not… just ask the Bible, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. This man is nothing less than a revolutionary dressed up as a pontiff.

  6. How are homosexuals going to punish the people who refuse to make homosexual wedding cakes and take homosexual wedding pictures if the death penalty is off limits? What if someone killed someone else for being a homosexual? What if someone used the wrong pronoun to refer to a trans-gendered person? How would that vicious bigot be punished? What if someone decided to donate money to a ballot proposition that limited marriage to opposite sex couples? How would that person be punished? What if a woman was bigoted enough to object to a man using the women’s restroom? How would she be punished? There are so many bigots in the world that the LGBTXYZ people need to be protected from.

    • I had to laugh out loud at that one. Yes, Jerry Brown himself will re institute regular executions as per the need to punish Californians not adhering to the PC agenda, just as you’ve outlined. Terrific, keep up the good lines.!!!! hahaha

      • Jerry Brown, the Jesuit seminarian, instituted Euthanasia in California only two years ago. Not a peep from Pope Francisco.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      That is a disgusting remark. You know perfectly well that the death penalty does not pertain to the question of cakes. You are telling a lie.

  7. Pope Francis is correct! Every time I pray to Jesus on the crucifix I am reminded of the injustice of the death penalty!

  8. Folks, the Holy Father is correct (and the comments thus far are WRONG). Francis is echoing the judgment not only of St. John Paul II, but also of the Pope Emeritus: and their judgment is that the use of capital punishment today is FLAT WRONG! This pontifical judgment of no less than THREE POPES binds Catholics in accordance with Lumen Gentium article 25.

    What you folks are forgetting is that the third font of morality–circumstance–(Catechism 1750) has so changed that the use of capital punishment in our time constitutes a violation of human dignity! Its use is disproportionate given the availability of other non-bloody means to deter a capital criminal short of ending his/her life! Peoples: October is Respect Life Month…

    • Therefore, listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

      • “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” As we listen to this” living Magisterium” have we not already stopped fearing him that can destroy both body and soul. Empty churches, no confession lines, bishops questioning Hells very existence or lack of population, the success of this “living Magisterium” negates the very existence of the need for this magisterium or Christ’s sacrifice. This respect for life has no room for a fear of Satan and hell. Score one for Satan!

      • Jon: There’s plenty of evidence that capital punishment is not a deterrent unless it is applied much more quickly and frequently, as in the “caliphate” and North Korea. That so many Catholics disagree with all the popes of this millennium and keep moral company with Kim Jong-Il and Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi on the topic should call all of us to pray for conversion.

      • THe know it all speaks and is wrong….

        • jon, since so many Catholics disagree with the prudential judgment of JPII that capital punishment is wrong, let’s have james martin, s.j. declare that JPII’s opinion is not binding because it has not been “received” by the faithful.

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      A very confused ‘moralist’ above states: “The third font of morality—circumstance (CCC 1750) has so changed” regarding capital punishment “it constitutes a violation of human dignity.”

      Circumstance does not make an act good or bad. 1754 CCC: “the circumstances of a moral act are secondary to the act” and “do not change the quality of the moral act. ” Capital punishment is not rendered ‘evil’ by circumstance.

      The problem with many “Catholics” today is that “circumstances have changed”, they say. So (they say), acts clearly condemned by Christ and tradition that were always intrinsically evil (divorce/remarriage, homosexual acts, abortion, etc) “have different circumstances today” and are now ‘good’…

      • Anonymous 2 says:

        .. If this is so, then there is no objective moral code. It’s whatever we make of it today, or next year, or in 10 years. The Church and its teaching, once a firm anchor, now becomes something constantly changing, and is merely shifting sand.

        • Anonymous 2: it is not right to only quote partially the Catechism. The teaching that you omit is from 1754 which plainly states that “[Circumstances] contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts.” In other words, the existence of non-bloody means to protect society short of killing the capital criminal has DIMINISHED the moral necessity and even benefit of capital punishment. This is supported by paragraph 2267 from the Catechism which PLAINLY points out what the circumstance was that is behind John Paul II’s judgement against the death penalty–a judgment that is continued by Benedict and Francis.

  9. Texas just executed a criminal who was already serving a 99-year jail sentence for murder: the inmate murdered a prison guard while in the jail. Anyone who claims that locking up hardened criminals is sufficient to protect innocent people and that therefore the death penalty is unnecessary is completely wrong. Justice and goodness were served by executing that murderer on Thursday. The death penalty is not contrary to the Gospel; it is one facet of the state’s obligation to exact justice and protect society.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/inmate-executed-in-texas-for-prison-guards-death/ar-AAtjkYb?OCID=ansmsnnews11

    • The prison guard’s murder is in no small part a result of overcrowding and under-staffing in the prison. This arises from underfunding and other failures of justice and human dignity that are much worse in Texas than California. If your standard for “justice” is to protect all innocent people from harm by anyone who has probably committed murder, we’ll need a lot of executions in short order. We still wouldn’t protect 100 percent of the innocent, and we would be executing even more people who are innocent.

      • Typical liberal: blame the victim or the system. The inmate murdered the prison guard because the guard wouldn’t let the inmate take a peanut butter sandwich out to the recreation yard.

        By the way, swifter executions would increase the deterrent value of capital punishment.

        By the way, capital punishment is legitimate, moral and necessary, sanctioned by God in Scripture, by the Church Fathers and by the universal, constant Magisterium of the Church, not just as a means to protect society: as a valid punishment in itself in the interest of retributive justice. Pope Francis is flirting with doctrinal error. Some pope we have.

        • Covefe: If you re-read my comment, you might notice that I did NOT blame the prison guard. I assert that the prison system in Texas is grossly underfunded and over crowded. How did the perpetrator get the murder weapon in the first place? Though I wasn’t there at the time, I’m pretty sure the guard didn’t give it to him.
          I agree with you completely that swifter executions would increase the deterrent value of capital punishment. Killing even a few people swiftly and publicly is one of the most cost-effective ways to control a population. However, morality has absolutely nothing to do with efficiency.
          As for “a valid punishment in itself,” the whole point of the Resurrection is that all of us are all released from retributive justice.

          • Anonymous says:

            francis— “all of us are . . . released from retributive justice” in our earthly life by the Resurrection? really? where did you come up with that notion? cite “chapter and verse”, please.

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      Mike:

      Eloquent argument, but the absolutist against capital punishment could care less about the victims that are murdered by those that deserve what the Church has always taught is a just and fair punishment that fits the crime.

      The absolutist against capital punishment is engaged in serious virtue-signaling and self-approving, self-congratulatory behavior.

    • Wrong argument from Mike there. The solution to the problem you pose is to continue to strengthen and bolster the penal system so that crimes in prison are rare to non-existent. Condoning capital punishment is NOT the solution to the problem Mike poses.

  10. Peggy Bartley says:

    CCC 2267 says “…does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor”. Jon, I respect life, especially those of the innocent. Given the number of prison escapes (google and see the great number), prison doesn’t always protect the innocent.
    1) https://nostalgia049.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/recalling-richard-mcnair-escape-in-2006/
    2) https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/13/world/americas/mexico-drug-kingpin-prison-escape.html
    3)https://nostalgia049.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/recalling-richard-mcnair-escape-in-2006/
    4)https://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/sep/06/steven-russell-elizabeth-day-jim-carrey

    • This information from Peggy Bartley is false. The number of prison escapes is actually GOING DOWN! According to a report in June 2013 by Mark Fahey and Nick Wells, “Nationally, the number of escapes from prison has dropped more than half in the past 15 years, to a rate of 10.5 escapes per 10,000 prisoners in 2013.” And it continues to drop. The fact is that our prisons for the most part are able to contain the vast majority of the capital criminals in them.

  11. Suppose bigot A was imprisoned for denying Global Warming. Despite his imprisonment, bigot A continues to deny Global Warming. What else can be done to stop bigot A from denying Global Warming?

  12. The Real Ralph says:

    Pilate: “Did you not know that I have the power of life and death over you?”
    Christ: “You would have no power if it were not given you from above.”
    Apparently there is support for the death penalty in the scriptures, and that the death penalty was ordained by God, and so definitively that God allowed it to be imposed on His only Son.

    • Guess what Ralph, in the time of Pilate, the death penalty is permitted and lawful. But the last three Vicars of the same Christ Whom you just quoted—have judged that IN OUR TIME, such a punishment is no longer morally permissible as long as there are other means to defend society short of killing the capital criminal. And guess again, those three Vicars (John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis) speak in the voice of Christ for our time.

      • Anonymous 2 says:

        More “circumstances-have-changed” confused moral reasoning.

        The intrinsic evil or good of an act can never be changed by circumstance. Circumstances only increase or a lesson the intrinsic good or evil. Even the Catechism reaffirms this timeless Catholic moral reasoning principle (CCC 1754).

        Don’t expect, say, Fr. James Martin SJ, or Papa Bergoglio, or other confused moralists at CCD, to affirm this timeless Catholic moral truth.

        • There’s nothing confused about the recognition that circumstances have changed. Permit me to offer an example:

          Before antiseptics and modern surgical technique, if a man had an infected extremity, the proper, merciful and ethical response was for a surgeon to amputate it before it lead to general sepsis and the man died. Now that we have aseptic surgery and antibiotics, CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED and that is no longer the merciful or ethical response. Instead, the hope that the man will recover and keep the use of his limb outweighs the risk of antiseptic failure and death.

        • You point about circumstances have been addressed at length above. Catechism 1754 actually contradicts Anonymous2’s point!

          The fatal flaw in your reasoning Anonymous2 is by your saying that “the intrinsic evil or good of an act can never be changed by circumstance.” Why is this a fatal flaw? Capital punishment is not an intrinsic good. The Church HAS NEVER taught that! It is not good in and of itself to kill another human being! Even St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the only reason why a prisoner may be executed is to defend society (ST II-II, q 64, aa. 2-3). If others means are available to defend society, the execution of a prisoner becomes “cruel and unnecessary” as Pope St. John Paul II taught. Anonymous2,…

          • listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

          • Anonymous 2 says:

            Wrong thinking again.

            The intrinsic nature of an act as clearly defined in CCC 1754 and as has always been taught by the Church, is that circumstances do not change the moral nature of an act.

            Amputation of a limb, is a good, in appropriate circumstances: neither doctrine nor medical science have ever treated it as an intrinsic evil. The taking of a life, either in just war, or a just execution, is a good thing, to protect others. Neither have ever been defined as intrinsically evil.

            Abortion, contraception, or homosexual sex? Those are defined intrinsic moral evils.

          • “The taking of a life, either in just war, or a just execution, is a good thing, to protect others. Neither have ever been defined as intrinsically evil.” HOWEVER, neither is capital punishment an “intrinsic good” (at all times and in all circumstances). In fact, Catechism 2267 teaches that the permissibility of capital punishment is CONTINGENT upon circumstance: “The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, WHEN this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.” [emphasis mine]

    • Anonymous says:

      “For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

  13. Father Karl says:

    Liberalism is contrary to logic because liberalism is all about emotion. An excellent treatise on the morality of the death penalty is BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED, A CATHOLIC DEFENSE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, by Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette, published by Ignatius Press.

  14. Pope seems to be flirting with doctrinal error

    ““When Pope Francis says that capital punishment is ‘in itself contrary to the Gospel,’ and ‘inadmissible … no matter how serious the crime,’ he seems to be contradicting traditional teaching,” he said. “If that is what he is doing, then he is flirting with doctrinal error, which is possible when a pope is not speaking ex cathedra.” Feser said that if Pope Francis is reversing past teaching on capital punishment, then he is “implicitly saying that every previous pope and scripture itself were wrong.”.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-seems-to-be-contradicting-traditional-teaching-on-death-penalty-cathol

  15. President Trump calls false reports “fake news”. I call this false statement from Pope Francis “fake doctrine”.

  16. An old Latin proverb states: “What has been believed everywhere, always, and by all, cannot be changed.” Like Almighty God, who does not change His mind, the Magisterium cannot reverse itself and suit the views of a particular pope. The Holy Father himself is bound to the Catholic Church’s universal teaching. Ave Maria Purrissima !

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      Yes, Jesusita, what you observe you likely know was also the timeless principle of S. Vincent of Lerins (d. 450), writer, teacher, doctor, accepted in Eastern and Western Churches for centuries:

      [to paraphrase], “What is truly Catholic teaching is what has always been taught, everywhere, and accepted by all.”

      True Catholic teaching on the death penalty has already been defined. It cannot now be redefined and reversed. Sorry, Papa Bergoglio.

    • Jesuita: It isn’t the belief that has changed, but the circumstances and the means we have to deal with them. The illegitimacy of capital punishment today does not necessarily invalidate the judgement or doctrine of an earlier time.

  17. Yes, we may recognize that means and circumstances do change, but a sin is a sin, and a punishment is a result of that sin. Capital punishment is not illegitimate; those who wish to rewrite history and morality are the ones who are illegitimate. If a navigator is even an iota off course, soon he will be lost. By dumping all traditional Catholic teaching and morality, the pope is causing many souls to be lost. Ave Maria Purrissima !

    • Anonymous says:

      The Pope is not dumping traditional Catholic teaching and morality. He’s standing up for the sanctity of human life. Do you not see that capital punishment is part of the Culture of Death?
      If you are the survivor or the family member of a victim of a heinous crime, I give you my condolences. We have a bishop in the Catholic Church who lost two family members to violent crime and he is in agreement with the Pope. Pope John Paul II was almost killed by violent crime and he was strongly opposed to the death penalty.
      The Pope is not causing souls to be lost. And he is a special son of Maria Purirssima. Can you imagine Holy Mary, Mother of Mercy, condoning the death penalty?

  18. YFC, I am talking about people committing crimes against the precious Government. Don’t you love the Government?

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      No Ski Ven, the things you are talking about are not even crimes. Let alone crimes against government. You are making things up and telling lies.

  19. Joseph Shaw pointed out today what Pope Pius XII said in 1952: “Even when it is a question of the execution of a condemned man, the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. In this case it is reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned person of the enjoyment of life in expiation of his crime when, by his crime, he has already deprived himself of his right to live”. In other words, if the Church was right for nearly 2000 years, it is right now. If it is incorrect now, then it was incorrect then. Pope Francis is wrong as he is going against the infallible magisterium of the Church concerning faith and morals.

  20. Anonymous 2 says:

    Regarding the long-defined tradition on capital punishment, the doctrine-changers fall into
    one of the following errors:

    1. There is no such tradition.
    2. There is such a tradition, but it does not apply today
    3. There is such a tradition, but it can be ignored
    4. There is such a tradition, but it can be disobeyed
    5. There is such a tradition, but it must be disobeyed
    6. There is such a tradition, but it can and must be reinterpreted today
    7. There is such a tradition, but a pope can countermand it anytime he wants.
    8. Social justice, recent research, and/or the changing times, demand an end to the tradition.

  21. Anonymous 2 says:

    Everyone should take a moment to read all of the CCC 1750-1754, but especially 1754 on “circumstance” and the intrinsic morality of an act. Circumstance does not change the essential inner moral nature of an act. An act is good or an act is evil based on its essence. Basic Thomas Aquinas 101.

    So, when someone above says, “circumstance–Catechism 1750- has so changed that the use of capital punishment in our time constitutes a violation of human dignity”—they are essentially arguing Protestant doctrine—which believes any teaching can change, “because circumstances have changed.”

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