Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Video of Interview With Khristian Oliver Set For Execution Nov. 5 in Case Where Jury Consulted Bible

In the first of five executions scheduled in Texas in November, Khristian Oliver is scheduled for execution on Thursday, November 5, 2009. He was sentenced to death by a jury whose members consulted the Bible during their deliberations on whether Oliver should receive the death penalty.

If someone is to be sentenced to death, the decision of the jury should be based on the laws of the State of Texas and not the Bible. Khristian Oliver had a right to be sentenced in accordance with the laws of Texas, not those of the Bible. People can of course pray and consult their faith values individually whenever they want, but jurors should not read scripture to each other in the jury room to justify a death sentence, they should only consult the laws of Texas as explained to them by the judge.

During deliberations on sentencing, one of the jurors apparently read the following passage aloud to his fellow jurors: “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.” Another juror, a death penalty supporter, later told the media that “about 80 per cent” of the jurors had “brought scripture into the deliberation”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. And he said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom.”

In recent weeks, a new juror has also come forward to acknowledge the role that the Bible played in their deliberations. Juror Teresa L. Short (formerly Schnelzer) has confirmed that jurors consulted the Bible at the very outset of their deliberations on the question of whether Oliver should be sentenced to death. Like the others, she recalls which Bible passages were read, and she specifically notes that jurors looked to and took comfort from the Bible in reaching their decision. (A copy of her affidavit has been provided to the Governor’s office by Mr. Oliver’s counsel.)

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