Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes Change in Catechism Calling for Abolition of the Death Penalty

August 3, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Followingthe publication of the revised section of the Catechism of the Catholic Churchregarding the death penalty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida,Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomedthe change and echoed the call to end the death penalty in the United States.

Thefull statement follows:

"Today,we welcome the Holy Father's decision to revise the Catechism and itsexplanation of the Church's teaching on the death penalty. All human beings are created in the image andlikeness of God, and the dignity bestowed on them by the Creator cannot beextinguished, even by grave sin, such that all persons, from conception untilnatural death possess inalienable dignity and value that points to their originas sons and daughters of God. The newsection in the Catechism is consistent with the statements of Pope Francis'teaching on the death penalty, including his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress,as well as the statements of his predecessors. Pope Benedict the XVI urged 'the attention of society's leaders to theneed to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty,' and Pope St. JohnPaul II observed that 'Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and Godhimself pledges to guarantee this."

"Fordecades the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the end of thedeath penalty in the United States.  Asthe revised Catechism states, 'more effective systems of detention…which ensurethe due protection of citizens' exist, ones that also maintain the humandignity of all. It is our hope thattoday's announcement will bring new attention to this critical issue, and speedalong the end of this practice, which, as Pope Francis has said in the lightof the Gospel, is 'inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolabilityand dignity of the person.'"

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Keywords:United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane,Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pope Francis, Catechism,death penalty, inalienable dignity, U.S. Congress, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope St.John Paul II

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