Pope Francis just eviscerated the morality of one of the GOP’s platform centerpieces: the death penalty. The Pope declared that anyone who believes in the Christian gospels can’t support the death penalty. And that means YOU, Republican party leaders.
During a conference with Catholic scholars on Wednesday, Pope Francis threw the gauntlet down. He declared that the death penalty is “contrary to the gospels.” He also said it’s time to leave this barbaric practice in the past where it belongs. Did you hear that, GOP?
“In past centuries, when faced with a poverty of instruments of defense and social maturity had not yet reached a positive development, recourse to the death penalty appeared as the logical consequence of the application of justice which had to be adhered to,” Francis said. “We assume responsibility for the past, and we recognize that those means were dictated more by a legalistic than a Christian mentality.”
“Today, however, to remain neutral [on the death penalty] in the face of new demands for the reaffirmation of personal dignity, would render us guiltier. It is necessary therefore to restate that, however grave the crime that may be committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person.”
“One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity,” he continued. “In whatever form it is carried out.”
“And [it] is, of itself, contrary to the Gospel, because it is freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator,” Pope Francis added. “And of which, in the final analysis, God alone is the true judge and guarantor.”
This marks a major shift from the standing Catholic catechism. As of 1997, church doctrine said the death penalty could be permissible, though very rarely. Even then, the church found that “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’”
And it also marks a powerful moral contrast with the mainstream Republican party. The GOP considers the death penalty to be as much of an American mainstay as apple pie. Indeed, these days it seems like the GOP is more preoccupied with spreading death than anything else.
The Republican party has NO moral leadership right now. So bravo for Pope Francis for using his incredible platform to spread true ethical wisdom when America needs it most.
Will the GOP’s support for the death penalty change at all? Surely not. But then again—they’re surely not real Christians, either.
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The Pope’s comments cut right to the heart of the GOP’s inhumanity. Their hearts are corrupt.
America must move forward into the future. We must leave the death penalty in the past.
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