In yet another major shift for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has rocked the religious world by announcing the Church’s universal opposition to the death penalty in all cases. In the past, the Catechism allowed for the death penalty in certain situations, and Pope Francis himself has said that the Church’s position on the death penalty could evolve over time. But as of today, the Catechism says capital punishment is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and acknowledges “an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes.”
This means that the Catholic Church will be working to abolish the death penalty across the globe. No mean feat, particularly when it comes to the not insignificant number of Catholic politicians who have voiced their support for the death penalty. Here in the United States, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts are just a few practicing Catholic elected leaders who support the death penalty and now find themselves at odds with church teaching.