VATICAN CITY (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – Pope Francis has declared that the death penalty is never admissible, “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” the Catholic Church formally announced on Thursday.
The change, which has been added to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, makes official a position that the Pope has articulated since he became pontiff.
The Church will now “work with determination towards its abolition worldwide,” the Vatican said.
Vatican spokeman Greg Burke said that the change was important, but had long been expected. “The key point here is really human dignity,” Burke said. “The Pope is saying that, no matter how grievous the crime, someone never loses his or her human dignity.”
Texas has already put eight people to death this year, most recently on July 17. Seven people were executed in Texas last year.
The Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson responded to the Pope’s declaration with the following statement on Thursday afternoon.
“The death penalty is the law and an authorized punishment for capital murder cases in the state of Texas. As the District Attorney for Dallas County I am sworn to uphold the law. In Dallas County, the death penalty is only sought in the most severe and violent cases. In making the decision whether to seek the death penalty, we take several factors into consideration including the seriousness of the charged crime or crimes, the future dangerousness of the defendant, the criminal history and background of the defendant and the defendant’s intellectual capacity. These decisions are always extremely serious and difficult. We will continue to give careful and deliberate consideration in each case and in every decision that I make regarding this critical issue.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)