Image of Jesus in a prison cell © N.N. (CBA)
Every person, "no matter how evil he is," has the right to resocialization. At the start of the deliberations of the Philippine parliament on the reintroduction of the death penalty, the Catholic bishops have thus reiterated their rejection.
"The death penalty violates the dignity of the human person, which is not lost despite crimes committed," the Asian press service Ucanews quoted from a statement ied by the Philippine Bishops’ Conference to prison chaplains.
Central campaign promise of Duterte
Immediately after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address two weeks ago, Parliament had begun deliberating the bill to reinstate the death penalty. Advocates accuse the church of defending the human rights of criminals while disregarding the rights of victims.
The reintroduction of the death penalty, abolished in 2006 under President Gloria Arroyo, was one of Duterte’s key campaign promises. It should be imposed in cases of rape and murder, but also in serious drug offenses, they say.
Catholic Church officially condemns death penalty
The Catholic Church had officially ruled out the death penalty in its teachings. An amendment to the Catechism published by the Vatican in 2018 said the death penalty is "inadmissible because it violates the inviolability and dignity of the person". The Church is therefore "resolutely" committed to the abolition of the death penalty throughout the world. The previously valid catch stated that the Church would not exclude the death penalty under certain conditions if this were the only way to protect people from an aggressor.
The updated Catechism Article 2267 states that today there is "a growing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even when someone has committed the most serious crimes". In addition, the understanding of the meaning of punitive sanctions has changed. In addition, there are now more effective systems of imprisonment, which both guarantee the safety of the citizens and allow the offender to be reformed.
The catechism text points as its source to an address by Pope Francis on 11. October 2017. In a speech to curia representatives on the occasion of the publication of the Catechism 25 years ago, he spoke in favor of an official condemnation of the death penalty.