First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Helen PaytonFollow

Mentor/s

Professor Brian E. Stiltner

Participation Type

Paper Talk

Abstract

In 2018, Pope Francis updated the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that the death penalty is “inadmissible”(2018). His action-cheered by progressive Catholics and by human rights activists regardless of religion, but chided or outright rejected by Catholic conservatives-raises the question of whether Church doctrine has been wrong for twenty centuries or if this teaching is a legitimate development of doctrine. Either way, there are thorny theological issues at stake. This essay will argue that Pope Francis’ revision of the death penalty teaching is both necessary and legitimate. The change is necessary because the key reasons for supporting the death penalty have failed-in particular, the deterrence rationale. The change is legitimate because the Pope’s move builds upon new insights into the morality of the death penalty offered by the late St. John Paul II and because the new teaching is the best modern expression of Scripture and the Church’s consistent traditions on the dignity of life and the proper use of political force.

College and Major available

College of Arts and Sciences, Theology & Religious Studies

Course Name and Number, Professor Name

Human Rights, TRS-342-A, Brian Stiltner

Location

Digital Commons

Start Day/Time

5-5-2021 1:00 PM

End Day/Time

5-5-2021 4:00 PM

Students' Information

Student: Helen A. Payton

Major: Theology and Religious Studies

Honors student

Year of graduation: 2021

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May 5th, 1:00 PM May 5th, 4:00 PM

The Necessity and Legitimacy of Pope Francis' Complete Ban of the Death Penalty

Digital Commons

In 2018, Pope Francis updated the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that the death penalty is “inadmissible”(2018). His action-cheered by progressive Catholics and by human rights activists regardless of religion, but chided or outright rejected by Catholic conservatives-raises the question of whether Church doctrine has been wrong for twenty centuries or if this teaching is a legitimate development of doctrine. Either way, there are thorny theological issues at stake. This essay will argue that Pope Francis’ revision of the death penalty teaching is both necessary and legitimate. The change is necessary because the key reasons for supporting the death penalty have failed-in particular, the deterrence rationale. The change is legitimate because the Pope’s move builds upon new insights into the morality of the death penalty offered by the late St. John Paul II and because the new teaching is the best modern expression of Scripture and the Church’s consistent traditions on the dignity of life and the proper use of political force.

 

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