Pope Francis has changed the Catholic Church's stance on the death penalty. The catechism — a collection of the church's teachings — now reads, "The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." Previously, the church said the death penalty was acceptable in extreme circumstances. The church says it will work to abolish capital punishment worldwide.
Class discussion: Do you think the pope’s new teaching will change the opinions of the 53 percent of U.S. Catholics who favor the death penalty? Do you think the pope’s stance will affect any politicians’ positions on capital punishment? Most of the world’s nations have abolished the death penalty and even more have simply stopped executing anyone. Why hasn’t the United States ended executions? Which nations execute the most people? What have other religious leaders said about capital punishment?