Pope Francis and Barack Obama

Things We Saw Today: Pope Francis Says the Death Penalty Is Completely Unacceptable

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Pope Francis is a longtime critic of the death penalty, and the Catholic Church has now updated its Catechism on capital punishment. According to Vox, it will read:

“Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”

Quoting a 2017 speech given by Pope Francis during a pontifical council, the document continues: “Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

I’m not what you might call a big fan of a religious doctrine or massive religious organizations that have a lot of their own crimes to answer for, but in this case, I’m giving the emendation two big thumbs-up. The death penalty is an abhorrent practice, and in America, it is undeniably racist in its application. It should be abolished worldwide.

OK, Francis, update the Church’s teachings on contraception and LGBT+ issues next. The Vatican under Francis has made a few positive moves in the LGBT arena, but not nearly enough.

(via Vox, image: Wikimedia Commons/Pete Souza/Official White House photo—remember when this man was our president??? Sometimes I can nearly recall what it was like)

  • Resident Gollum/Ulysses Klaue/Supreme Leader Snoke, Andy Serkis, will be directing Netflix’s adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm. Guy knows his way around the whole performance-capture thing. (via CBR)
  • For some reason, a Rick & Morty pop-up bar is coming to Washington, D.C. Cue the cocktail Pickle Rick jokes. (via Twitter)
  • The real-world science behind sci-fi/anime mecha-robots. (via SyfyWire)
  • J.J. Abrams has joined Twitter (run, J.J., while you still can), and his tweet is about Star Wars, Carrie Fisher, and George Lucas. (via Yahoo)
  • Spotify removed pustulent windbag Alex Jones’ podcasts for violating their ‘hate content’ policy. Remove Alex Jones from everything, everywhere. (via Time)

So what did you see today, preciouses?

Andy Serkis as Gollum

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.