GCL welcomes Pope Francis’ decision to revise the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Death Penalty

The Greater Caribbean for Life (GCL) welcomes Pope Francis’ decision to revise the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Death Penalty. This decision is linked to the Catholic Church’s belief that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.

A letter to all Bishops from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, dated 1 August 2018, includes the new text of the n. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as approved by Pope Francis. The letter, (see link below), also outlines the development of the doctrine on the death penalty that has taken place in recent times.


Inter alia, the revised text, which “centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life”, reads as follows:

Today…there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption…the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and {the Church} works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

Leela Ramdeen, Chair of GCL says: “To date 141 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.  As Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, stated in 2014: ‘As long as the death penalty exists, there will be a need to advocate against it.’  GCL will continue to be a tireless advocate, not only for the abolition of the death penalty in the Caribbean region and worldwide, but also for effective systems to be put in place to reduce crime and to support the victims of crime. States have a duty to protect the common good, but we agree with Pope Francis that they can do so without resorting to lethal means. ALL lives matter!”

For further information contact Leela Ramdeen, Chair, GCL at: leela_ramdeen@hotmail.com

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