After Pope Francis' declaration, CBCP says 'no reason' to justify death penalty

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2018 10:50 AM

MANILA - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Friday said Pope Francis' declaration clears any vagueness on the Church's position on death penalty.

The Vatican said Thursday Pope Francis declared the death penalty "inadmissible" in an update of Catholic believers' most important guide to Church teaching, the catechism.

"The change should now put to rest the ambiguity regarding death penalty. No reason exists to justify its imposition. In the mind of the church, death penalty shouldn’t be considered in all cases and under different circumstances," CBCP Executive Secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

The change to the catechism, as approved by Pope Francis, now states: "The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that 'the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'."

Pope Francis approved the update during a meeting in May with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church's doctrinal watchdog, according to the Vatican.

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte promised to reimpose the death penalty during the 2016 elections as part of his anti-crime campaign.

The House of Representatives last year approved final reading a bill on this, but only for drug-related offenses.

Several capital punishment proposals for different crimes are pending in the Senate, but discussions on these were not prioritized.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish death penalty in 1987, but it was reinstated under President Fidel Ramos in response to increasing crime rates. It was abolished again under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.

-- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News