The Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty stems from its view on the sacredness of human life and the value of mercy, said U.S. bishops in a roundtable discussion about capital punishment Oct. 10.
The July 25 announcement by the Justice Department that it is reinstating the federal death penalty for the first time in 16 years was unwelcome news for Catholic leaders who have advocated against capital punishment.
During their June 11-13 meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops are looking at what the U.S. church teaches its adult members about the death penalty and they will vote about adding a revised passage to the U.S. Catechism for Adults about this.
The Supreme Court is sending a death-row case back to the lower courts to determine if the inmate’s dementia, brought on by strokes he suffered while on death row, should prevent him from being executed.
In a video message to participants at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty Feb. 27, Pope Francis said the death penalty is a cruel violation of the basic right to life and robs people of the chance to repent and make amends for the crimes they have committed.