Bishop Fisichella: the change of catechism shows “real dogmatic progress”

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Bishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, celebrates the Eucharist with Pope Francis during a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on April 10. capital punishment is inadmissible shows how the church can grow in its understanding of the basic tenets of the faith. (SNC photo by Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis’ review of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say capital punishment is morally inadmissible shows how the Church can grow in its understanding of the implications of fundamental tenets of the faith, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

“Keeping the sacred deposit of faith does not mean mummifying it,” the Archbishop wrote in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Safeguarding the Church’s long-standing teachings means enabling them to answer the new questions of each new generation, the Archbishop said in the article published on August 2, the same day the Vatican released the revised text of the section of the catechism on the death penalty.

Announcing the revision, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared: “The new text, following in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in ‘Evangelium Vitae’, affirms that to end to the life of a criminal as a punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it undermines the dignity of the person, a dignity which is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.

The revised text recognized the Church’s earlier acceptance of the death penalty when imposed by a “legitimate authority, following a fair trial,” but noted that “there is a growing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. crimes ”and that governments do not have to execute murderers to prevent them from killing again.

Cardinal Ladaria and Archbishop Fisichella noted that the revised text is based on the development, especially under Saint John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI, of the Church’s teaching on the death penalty .

“A careful reading allows us to verify how the Church over the last decades has made real progress in understanding its teaching on the dignity of the person and, consequently, in reassessing its reflection on the death penalty” , writes the archbishop.

With the revised text, he said, “the church takes a decisive step in promoting the dignity of every person, regardless of the crime they may have committed, and explicitly condemns the death penalty” .

“This movement,” writes the Archbishop, “shows that it is about a real dogmatic progress with which a content of the faith is clarified, which has not ceased to mature to the point of making understand the unsustainability of the death penalty in our time. “

At the same time, he said, the church “does not forget the suffering of the victims involved, nor the injustice that has been perpetrated.”

But he insists that “justice takes its own decisive action, not out of spite and revenge, but out of a sense of responsibility beyond the present moment,” Archbishop Fisichella wrote.

Affirming that the death penalty is morally inadmissible, he said, “recognizes that conversion, repentance and the desire to start life anew cannot be taken away from anyone, not even those who have been guilty of crimes very serious ”.


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