Reaction has been varied. Here’s a sampling, below.
“Already in the past, the church had expressed its aversion to the death penalty, but with words that did not exclude ambiguities. There seems to be also a desire to see the Catholic Church take an active role in the global abolitionist movement.”
— Riccardo Noury, Amnesty Italia
“Coming in the midst of the sex abuse revelations, the timing is curious… and more fury is not what the Church needs at this moment.”
— Raymond Arroyo, EWTN
“[Pope Francis] is in open violation of the authority recognized to him. And no Catholic has any obligation of obedience to abuse of authority.”
“It becomes binding for bishops, defense of life from the initial state through all its phases to the very end, even for those who are guilty. If you don’t accept this, you are disobedient, as you would be if you didn’t accept other teachings. There is no margin for disagreement.”
— Mario Marazziti, the Community of Sant’Egidio, Rome.
“This didn’t come out of nowhere. John Paul II and Benedict laid the ground work; he’s taking the next logical step. I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world. 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.”
— John Thavis, author and Vatican observer
— John Zmirak, The Stream
“It’s a happy day, I’m clicking my heels. What I’m particularly delighted about is there’s no loopholes, it’s unconditional. This is just a change in the doctrine and it’s on paper. We’ve still got to move it into the pews and make it active.”
— Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking”