Pope Francis’s push to disavow the death penalty is a welcome change in the Catholic church’s stance, argues The Guardian editorial board. Society’s morals have come a long way from the times of stoning, burning and decapitation as acceptable capital punishments. Ending the death penalty is the next step along a path that Pope John Paul II started when he himself criticized it. In a world where Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte has encouraged the killing of at least 4,000 alleged drug dealers, fighting the death penalty is necessary. While many criticize his decision, Pope Francis is bringing the Catholic church into the modern age.
Pope Francis is going against the Bible’s own teachings with his criticism of the death penalty, asserts Steve Skojec of One Peter Five. The Catholic church never argued that the death penalty is immoral, nor did it say that it must always be used to punish certain crimes. It has historically deferred to the relevant legal authorities to decide whether to use it or not. Pope Francis is breaking with religious precedent, towing a line that is likely based on his personal opinion. The Catholic church’s stance is set in stone, even a Pope doesn’t have the authority to overturn this truth. The death penalty is a biblical and just way of punishing severe crimes.