The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has approved a revised passage on the death penalty for the American Catholic Catechism for adults. The full bishops approved the revised passage by a vote of 194 to eight with three abstentions at their Spring General Assembly, which was held in Baltimore, June 11-14.
On August 2, 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the Holy Father’s revision of the teaching on the death penalty in the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2267).
The revised statement on the death penalty will replace the current USCCA text (pp. 394-395).
Pope Francis’ review teaches that the death penalty is “inadmissible” and says that the Church is “working with determination for its abolition throughout the world”.
In a rescript, or decree, the pope replaced the previous version of n. 2267 of the Catechism read:
The death penalty
‘2267. The use of the death penalty by legitimate authority, after a fair trial, has long been considered an appropriate response to the seriousness of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is a growing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the importance of state-imposed criminal sanctions.
Finally, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the protection due to citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Therefore, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination to its abolition worldwide.
In an explanatory letter to bishops, in August last year, CDF prefect Cardinal Ladaria said the change was an “authentic development of doctrine”, drawing on the teaching of Pope John. -Paul II and Benedict XVI.
According to Amnesty International, in 2018 there were 25 executions in the United States – 23 by lethal injection and two by electrocution. As of May 2019, there were 2,636 “death row” inmates awaiting execution in America.