CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Catechism revision to say death penalty is inadmissible
VATICAN (CNS): Building on the development of Catholic Church teaching against capital punishment, Pope Francis ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assert “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and to commit the Church to working toward its abolition worldwide. 
 
The catechism’s paragraph on capital punishment, 2267, had already been updated by Pope St. John Paul II in 1997 to strengthen its skepticism about the need to use the death penalty in the modern world and, particularly, to affirm the importance of protecting all human life. 
 
Announcing the change on August 2, Luis Cardinal Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, “The new text, following in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.”
 
Sister Helen Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, who is a longtime opponent of capital punishment, said, “I am overjoyed and deeply grateful to learn that Pope Francis closed the last remaining loophole in Catholic social teaching on the death penalty.” 
 
Court ruling on withdrawing hydration morally wrong
MANCHESTER (CNS): The Supreme Court of the United ruled on July 30 that doctors can withdraw food and fluid from patients who are in a vegetative state or minimally conscious without seeking permission from judges. 
 
The ruling said that it was not necessary to apply for permission from the Court of Protection to dehydrate such patients to death when doctors and family members agreed that death was in their “best interests.” 
 
However, Auxiliary Bishop John Wilson of Westminster said it was morally wrong to withdraw food and fluids from anyone. 
 
“Artificial nutrition and hydration ... are not treatment,” Bishop Wilson said in a July 31 statement published on the website of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. 
 
“They do not cure anything. In whatever way they are delivered, food and water for a person in a persistent vegetative state fulfill the same purpose as for any other person. They keep them alive as part of their basic care. They prevent death by malnutrition and dehydration,” he said.
 
India’s Catholic leaders doubt death penalty will deter child rapists
NEW DELHI (CNS): India’s parliament passed a law on July 30 allowing the death penalty for people convicted of raping girls younger than 12, but Catholic Church officials expressed doubt that it will curb increasing sexual violence against children across the country. 
 
The bill replaces an emergency amendment to a criminal law adopted in April following national outcry over the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kashmir in January and other shocking attacks across the country. India’s penal code had provisions to punish rapists with a seven-year jail term but had no harsher punishment for those convicted of raping girls. 
 
The new law increases the minimum punishment for rape of women to 10 years of imprisonment. 
 
Those convicted of gang raping girls younger than 12-years-old will either be executed or jailed for life. Those convicted of gang rape of girls younger than 16-years-old will be jailed for life. 
 
The new law states that an investigation and trial should be completed within two months in the cases of sexual attacks on minors, while appeals should be resolved within six months. The law allows no provision for bail.
 
Listen to the pope? There’s an app for that
Vatican (VaticanNews): Vatican Audio is an app to help people tune in to Pope Francis on their mobile devices.
 
Developed by the Dicastery for Communications, the app is free and can be downloaded Apple’s App Store and Google Play.  Once installed, all you need to do is to choose your language and simply listen.
 
Pope Francis, who generally speaks in Italian, can be heard live in Spanish, English, French, German and Portuguese.  When he speaks in his native Spanish, the app also provides the audio in Italian.
 
Visitors attending papal events in St. Peter’s Square can also follow the pope in any of the five languages.  
 
This service is in addition to the live broadcasts in different languages already available online and on radio.

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