As many of you know, Pope Francis has changed the official teaching of the Catholic Church on capital punishment. The Church now opposes capital punishment in all cases. John Gehring of Faith in Public Life reflects on this change in his recent piece at the New York Daily News. Here is a taste:
If Pope Francis’ effort to abolish the death penalty is simply cheered by those who agree with him and ignored by more than half of American Catholics who support capital punishment, we’ve missed a rare opportunity to have a more expansive dialogue about what it means to protect human life in all cases. Conservative Catholic politicians — and Christian evangelicals who rally behind President Trump — too often get a free pass in declaring themselves “pro-life” if they oppose abortion, while supporting a policy agenda that perpetuates extreme inequality, environmental degradation, and that tears immigrant children from the arms of their parents.
A few months ago, Francis described the lives of migrants as “equally sacred” as the lives of the unborn in the womb. Some Catholics think immigration is a “lesser issue” compared to abortion and euthanasia, the pope acknowledged, a position Francis said might be understandable for a politician fishing for votes, but never acceptable for a Christian who claims to follow the Gospel.
Pope Francis inconveniently reminds us that the sacred image of God is in everyone: the unborn, the undocumented immigrant, and even the death row prisoner. It’s time for our political leaders to play catch up.
Read the entire piece here.