Catechism of the Catholic Church
2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
In the name of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI I turn to you again, Your Excellency, to seek your intervention on humanitarian grounds, and in light of the particularity of the case, in order that an act of clemency might be granted to these three Catholic citizens of your nation. In adding my voice to others I would also note the position of the Catholic Church which on numerous occasions has spoken out against the death penalty.
MESSAGE OF CARD. ANGELO SODANO
TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA
ON BEHALF OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Among fundamental human rights, I would like to draw attention to three primary rights:
a) the right to life: the increasing recognition of the sacredness of life, witnessed also by the growing rejection of the death penalty, needs to be matched by a thorough protection of human life precisely when it is at its weakest, that is, at its very beginning and at its natural end;
INTERVENTION BY THE HOLY SEE
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 61st SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION
STATEMENT OF H.E. MONS. GIOVANNI LAJOLO
Wednesday, 27 September 2006
I would like to acknowledge joyfully the initiative of Mexico which, in 2005, eliminated capital punishment from its legislation, as well as the recent measures that some of its States have adopted to protect human life from its origins.
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
Mr. HÉCTOR FEDERICO LING ALTAMIRANO,
NEW AMBASSADOR OF MEXICO
TO THE HOLY SEE*
Friday, 10 July 2009
Africa needs good governance of States. This comes about through respect for Constitutions, free elections, independent judicial and penitential systems, and a transparent bureaucracy free from the temptation of corruption. The Exhortation, while underlining “the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty” (AM 83), exhorts the Church to organize pastoral care in goals and to promote restorative justice.
POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
Presentation by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic
Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops
Ouidah, 19 November 2011
The most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere. This fundamental right must be protected from conception until natural death. Therefore, we must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service. In this sense, the abolition of the death penalty should also be seen as a consequence of full respect for the right to life.
INTERVENTION BY THE HOLY SEE
AT THE 62nd SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
ADDRESS OF H.E. MSGR. DOMINIQUE MAMBERTI
Monday, 1st October 2007
This evening a demonstration will be held at the Colosseum as part of the world campaign for a moratorium on the death penalty. The Great Jubilee is an excellent opportunity to promote in the world ever more mature forms of respect for the life and dignity of every person. I therefore renew my appeal to all leaders to reach an international consensus on the abolition of the death penalty, since “cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2267).
JOHN PAUL II
Sunday 12 December 1999
For over two decades the international community has pursued the issue of restricting and abolishing the death penalty. The need for a moratorium on the death penalty is gaining momentum, as is reflected in the recent resolution adopted by the Commission on Human Rights ( 1999/61 ) of 28 April 1999. The Holy See Delegation welcomes the initiative for a resolution, under item 116a, on the reduction and possible abolition of the death penalty, and expresses its appreciation to all who contributed to this initiative.
It is well-known that Pope John Paul II has personally intervened on numerous occasions to appeal for clemency for individuals sentenced to death. He has appealed for a moratorium on recourse to the death penalty, at least on the occasion of the forthcoming Jubilee Year. On 27th January of this year in St Louis, he said:
“A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is cruel and unnecessary”.
All too often, in many societies, the carrying out of the death penalty is accompanied by unacceptable public signs of frightening vengeance and revenge. All too often it is persons who are poor or who belong to ethnic minorities who are more likely to incur this penalty. Even young people and people with limited mental capacity are executed. How many innocent people have been wrongly executed?
Intervention by H.E. Archbishop Renato R. Martino
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer
of the Holy See to the United Nations
before the Third Committee
of the 54th Session of the General Assembly
on Item 116A
Abolition of the Death Penalty
New York, 2 November 1999
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/documents/rc_seg-st_doc_02111999_death-penalTO THE JOINT SESSION OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).
This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.