Pope Francis says the death penalty is “inadmissible” under all circumstances. The Vatican announced the change Thursday what the Catholic Church has maintained for centuries. Until now, Catholic teaching has left some room for support of capital punishment.
Within hours of the announcement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’d introduce legislation to end the death penalty in his state. However, it’s not clear whether the same could happen in here. Texas has used the punishment the most over past decades – by a wide margin. And the Pope’s statement isn’t a major change of course.
“The catechism prior to yesterday had stated that the death penalty was not allowed except in the rarest of circumstances, so in some ways substantively it’s not that major a change,” says John Francis Burke, who teaches political science at Trinity University in San Antonio, specializing in Catholic social teaching, Religion and Politics.