Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Catholic Politicians and the New Church Stance On The Death Penalty

As previously reported, last week the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church so that it now rejects capital punishment in all cases. An AP report now looks at the impact this change may have on politicians in the United States who are Catholic, saying in part:
Pope Francis' decree that the death penalty is "inadmissible" in all cases could pose a dilemma for Roman Catholic politicians and judges in the United States who are faced with whether to strictly follow the tenets of their faith or the rule of law.
Some Catholic leaders in death penalty states have said they'll continue to support capital punishment. But experts say Francis' change could shift political debates, loom over Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and make it difficult for devout Catholic judges to uphold the law as written.
The question of whether or not Catholic political and judicial leaders would be sinning if they continue to support the death penalty is up for interpretation.
"It's going to be a matter of conscience," said the Rev. Peter Clark, director of the Institute of Clinical Bioethics at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "Judges may have to recuse themselves from many cases, if they truly think it's in conflict with their conscience."