Greenbelt Interfaith News
    World Brief

    September 25, 1997

    New Catholic Catechism Limits Use of Death Penalty
    Greenbelt Interfaith News

    The new Catechism of the Catholic Church provides more narrow limits as to when governments may make use of capital punishment, Catholic World News reports. The catechism, which was presented to the press by a Vatican representative on September 9, contains the Catholic Church's authoritative teachings on matters both traditional and modern. The latest Latin edition, while noting that the Catholic Church allows the use of the death penalty where necessary to defend human lives, goes on to say, "Today, in fact, given the means at the state's disposal effectively to repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'" (The final words are a quotation from Pope John Paul.)

    The catechism also revises sections dealing with terrorism, family planning, organ transplants, and experiments on animals.

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson