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A matter of life and death: Pope’s stance on capital punishment draws mixed reaction from local religious leaders

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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2018 11:30 am

Pope Francis on Aug. 2 declared the death penalty unacceptable in all cases because “it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and non-lethal forms of punishment are widely available, and called upon the church to work toward abolishing it around the world.

Kim Fuentes, director of the Catholic Diocese of Stockton’s Life and Dignity Ministry, said the church began shifting its attitude toward capital punishment much earlier, with former Pope St. John Paul II declared in 1995 that the death penalty should only be used as a last resort.

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