Nullified Capital Punishment Finally Removed From Vatican Law

Nullified Capital Punishment Finally Removed From Vatican Law

Pope Paul VI
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Although Pope Paul VI had declared the provision for capital punishment in the Vatican City-State null in 1969, it is not formally removed from the Fundamental Law until now. Traditionally the Catholic Church has supported the use of the death penalty, but over the years it has narrowed the circumstances under which it would be licit.

In 1995, for example, Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae that punishment:

"ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

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Pope Benedict XVI backs initiatives to abolish the death penalty

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