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Thursday, August 02, 2018

The Pope and the death penalty

So, Pope Francis has changed the catechism and the official church teaching on the death penalty ... Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'

This really is quite a change, given that in the past Catholic popes themselves had people put to death - here's a list of people executed in the Papal States.

- Giovanni Battista Bugatti, executioner of the Papal States between 1796 and 1861, carried out 516 executions

I think this change to church teaching is a good thing - I'm against the death penalty.

But why change this and not other stuff? The pope believes he can alter this teaching based on changes in our thinking and our society, but on other issues like women priests, LGBT marriage, contraception, divorce, abortion, married priests, he will not consider change. Why not?

And timing is everything - this change in doctrine seems a convenient distraction from all the current news about clergy sex abuse. Here's just some of it ....

- Pennsylvania investigating sex abuse by priests in six Catholic dioceses

- Catholic Church Faces Reckoning in Chile as Sex Abuse Scandal Widens

- Catholic sex abuse scandal stretches to South Bend, drawing in Bishop Rhoades, Notre Dame

- Australian Bishop Convicted of Covering Up Sexual Abuse Resigns

- Victims of Montana clergy sex abuse vote on $20M settlement

Perhaps I've become too cynical where the church is concerned, but in a church that keeps women and gay people down, while doing all it can to evade responsibility for clergy sex abuse (US Catholic church has spent millions fighting clergy sex abuse accountability), it's hard not to be.


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