It is, of course, the visible-from-space right thing to do and an obvious development of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person. It will be interesting to see how Catholic death penalty zealots will cope with this challenge and what ingenious ways they will concoct to defy Holy Church on this. I expect most of the defiance will continue on in the traditional vein of using the unborn as human shields with the old “abortion is intrinsically immoral but the death penalty isn’t and besides the pope has not defined this dogmatically” blah blah.Hopefully, at least *some* of them will acknowledge they are beaten and try obeying instead of searching for excuses to disobey. But since, at present, it is those who boast of being “faithful conservative prolife Real Catholics” who are the loudest enemies of the Church’s social teaching, I expect much more rebellion than docility from the “prolife” death penalty zealot.
Meanwhile, bravo to the Holy Father for making explicit what was implicit.