Thursday, 23 October 2014

Pope Francis: Life in prison is a death sentence

Pope Francis received and addressed the International Association of Criminal Law. The Holy Father condemned Capital Punishment and life imprisonment. 

What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say about this?

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

What I find particularly inappropriate about what Pope Francis said is this statement:

“All Christians and people of goodwill are called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms, but also for the improvement of prison conditions in the respect of the human dignity of those who have been deprived of freedom. I link this to the death sentence. In the Penal Code of the Vatican, the sanction of life sentence is no more. A life sentence is a death sentence which is concealed”.

I will quote a few of the names of the most heinous serial killers in Canada and the United States.

Paul Bernardo
Clifford Olson 
Robert Pickton
Ted Bundy
John Wayne Gasey
Kermit Gosnell
Richard Ramirez
Charles Manson
Albert DeSalvo

Holy Father, with all respect we hear much from you about justice and mercy. Where is justice and where is mercy for the families of their victims  which will until they die, live a life sentence?

With all respect, Holy Father, you have the right to an opinion but to teach this, is another matter. Are you planning a rewriting of the Catechism of the Catholic Church because quite "frankly" you are clearly in disagreement with this magisterial document. 

Life in prison is like Hell. Those there put themselves in it.


Brian said...


I have said it before and I'll say it again. Francis sounds just like a Gregory Baum disciple at an OECTA conference. Every catholic doctrine, even De Fide doctrine, has an expiry date. He suffered a setback last week. But he knows that most of the "Catholic" world is in his corner. Like a spoiled child he won't stop until he gets his way.

Slick said...

In addition to justice issues, the pope is incorrect also because violent criminals need to stay permanently incarcerated to protect the public from harm.

Vox Cantoris said...

Indeed Slick; as the CCC clearly states, " defending public order and protecting people's safety."

He chooses to set aside that which he does not like. Holy Thursday's ritual as an example.

Caroline said...

Imagine how this made victims of violent crime feel...Many of (us) have our own form of a "life sentence." And in my case the crime was committed while the offender was released on parole..

While I have forgiven him, the offender changed not only my life forever, but my entire family. Were it not for my choice to pay the price, come forward and see him placed behind bars for 2 consecutive life sentences, he may have been freed (again) only to give another woman a life sentence.

Very hurtful this statement from the Holy Father: misplaced grace IMHO

Thank you for posting this.
Blessings and +

Vox Cantoris said...


I don't know the case or where you are but I will say a prayer for you right now. Thank you for posting this comment. It is a very sad time for our Church when our Pope can make such statements with no regard for the victims of the monsters listed above or the monsters known to people such as yourself.

God bless you this Christmas and may you find peace in Him who came to save us.

David (Vox)