- Apr 17, 2021
Father Jeff Kirby discusses the Vatican’s announcement about the death penalty.
The Aug. 2 announcement that Pope Francis had ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church calling the death penalty “inadmissible” was praised by Catholic death penalty opponents in the United States.
In the latest conversation between Pope Francis and legendary Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old non-believer says Francis cast doubt on the existence of Hell, while the Vatican insists the piece “should not be considered as a faithful transcript of the Holy Father’s words.”
Cardinal Bernard Law, who became the public symbol of the Church’s clerical sexual abuse scandals during his tenure in Boston, died on Dec. 20 at the age of 86.
“Now more than ever, people from across the political spectrum are uniting around the reality that death penalty is a failed public policy that denies the inherent dignity of the human person,” said CMN president Karen Clifton.
An increased number of materials in Spanish have been submitted by publishers to the U.S. bishops’ conference for review, with many texts aiming to capture the Spanish dialect used in the United States. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, the head of the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catechism, said his office does not “have the competency or the resources to date to review those cultural materials in those languages other than English.”
In his speech marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church Oct. 11, Pope Francis said the catechism is not only an important tool for believers to understand the faith, but also provides concrete answers to new challenges. Just as the challenges people face evolve, so does the Christian response since “the word of God cannot be preserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket to protect against insects,” he said.
Two stories about Pope Francis in the last few days have confirmed impressions of him as a maverick, break-the-mold kind of pope, one on the death penalty and the other on the Amazon. In both cases, however, there’s a good argument to be made that what the pope is up to represents not a revolution, but a natural evolution of where the Church was already moving.