ERLC President Russell Moore on Why He Disagrees With Pope Francis’ Declaration That the Death Penalty is Wrong in All Circumstances

Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore has expressed disagreement with Pope Francis’ recent declaration that the death penalty is wrong in all circumstances.

The Vatican announced Thursday that Francis had changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church to state that the death penalty is wrong in all circumstances, replacing the previous stance that it was acceptable in some cases.

“The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” stated the new Catechism, as quoted by Crux.

In response to the news, Moore wrote in an entry on his website that while he agreed with the pope’s reasoning on the value of human life, he “cannot agree with Pope Francis that the death penalty is, in all circumstances, a violation of the command not to murder.”

“The Pope is here making more than just a prudential argument. He is applying the commandment against murder to every application of capital punishment. On that, I believe he is wrong,” wrote Moore.

Moore pointed to the many instances in the Bible in which the death penalty was considered acceptable, even if one excludes the Mosaic Law.

For example, Moore pointed out that in the New Testament book of Romans, the Apostle Paul spoke positively of ruling authorities “bearing the sword” against “evildoers.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski