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Duren, Pope Francis, and the Death Penalty: How Catholics Can Render the Capital Jury Selection Process Unconstitutional
American Criminal Law Review  (IF3.455),  Pub Date : 2020-09-01, DOI:
Dan Villalba

Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due pro-tection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, the Church teaches, in light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works for its abolition worldwide.