Pope Francis declares death penalty inadmissible in all cases

Pope Francis. Photo by AP.
Pope Francis. Photo by AP.

Pope Francis has changed the teachings of the Catholic faith to officially oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, the Vatican has said.

The Catechism of the Church, a codified doctrine which sums up teachings, had previously stated that the death penalty could be used in some cases.

It now says it is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person".

Pope Francis has spoken out against executions in the past.

Last October, he had said the Church's policy on the death penalty was one area where teaching was not static and could change with modern concerns, bbc.com said.

The death penalty is still legal in 53 countries around the world.

In the United States, where 22% of the population are Catholic, execution is still legal in 31 states.

It is still also legal in Cuba, Dominica and Uganda - where about half of their populations are Catholic.

The only place in Europe where it is still legal is Belarus, which has a sizeable Catholic minority of about 7% of the population.

Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Benin, where significant chunks of the population follow Catholicism, have all outlawed the death penalty in recent years.

Book «Capital punishment in Belarus»


Death verdics in Belarus since 1990