I wrote two pieces on the change to the catechism on the death penalty in rapid succession. I put them here as one.
1. Capital Punishment: Francis & the Tradition Before Him Are Both Right
In the past two days, Capital Punishment has been a hot topic. Some claim previous Church teaching was wrong while others saying Pope Francis is a heretic. Neither of these positions holds water. Instead, both have their place to play and work in harmony using a hermeneutic of continuity. As Fr Thomas Petri, OP, noted, “I think Pope Francis’ change further absolutizes the pastoral conclusion made by John Paul II.” Fr Jay Scott Newman seems to agree in principle: “Do not be dismayed or misled by the headlines which scream that Pope Francis has fundamentally changed a doctrine of the Catholic Church. He has not done that, and such a thing is an impossibility.”
At issue is the change of Catechism 2267 to indicate capital punishment is INADMISSIBLE (that’s a key word). I will include the textual differences at the end, but first, let’s talk some principles.
2. The Death Penalty Is Wrong But Not Intrinsically Evil or Infallible
People have been repeatedly saying that Pope Francis changed Church teaching on capital punishment on Thursday. They claim he infallibly declared the death penalty is intrinsically evil. This has two errors, it was neither infallible nor declared intrinsically evil. For reference, the key words in the statement from the Vatican are:
“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 for its abolition worldwide.”
Read this piece on Patheos.