The death penalty has been a source of controversy for decades, with organizations like the ACLU opposing execution since the 1920s. While many people stand divided on the issue, Pope Francis recently declared that the death penalty was “unacceptable in all cases.”
According to CNN, the pope made the announcement on Thursday, August 2. Previously, the doctrine determined that the execution of another human being was admissible if it was “the only practical way” to prevent harm to other people. Subjectivity made this a religious gray area, and many people determined that the death penalty was allowed because of this rule.
However, Pope Francis made it very clear that he did not agree with the death penalty. He called execution an “attack” on human dignity, and declared that he would work with the church to abolish the practice worldwide. The doctrine has been changed since his announcement, pushing the death penalty from a gray area into a dark zone.
Since then, the issue has been brought up time and time again, and many Catholics find themselves questioning their opinion on the matter. While the pope has the final say for many people, some Catholics are having trouble adopting his stance.
One such person is Governor Pete Ricketts, a Republican and Roman Catholic. Despite the change in Catholic doctrine, he has made no move to stop the execution of Carey Dean Moore. Moore, who has been slated for execution for over 35 years, is “guilty and tired of death-row life,” according to Journal Star.
With his execution scheduled for August 14, Ricketts is put in an awkward position. Back in 2015, he fought to reinstate capital punishment and won, bringing the death penalty back to the state. Now, as a Roman Catholic, his beliefs are being pitted against one another. However, his opinion on the execution hasn’t changed, and he has no plans to halt Moore’s execution by the state of Nebraska.
According to the New York Times, he released a statement regarding the issue.
“While I respect the pope’s perspective, capital punishment remains the will of the people and the law of the state of Nebraska,” Gov. Pete Rickets said. “It is an important tool to protect our corrections officers and public safety. The state continues to carry out the sentences ordered by the court.”