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Church speaks out against death penalty

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 02.12.2011 09:52
Poland's Roman Catholic church is opposing calls by the conservative opposition for the reintroduction of the death penalty.


The Polish episcopate has released a statement that reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty, after the Law and Justice (PiS) called for the reintroduction of the punishment for the most heinous murders.

The statement was released by Father Jozef Koch, chief press spokesman for the episcopate.

“The path that the Church encourages is not in the taking of lives, but a life sentence,” Father Koch declared.

He stressed that this was the standpoint taken by Polish pontiff Pope John Paul II, as well as that of his successor, Benedict XVI, who reaffirmed the Vatican's stance this week.

Koch condemned politicians who had claimed that the Bible supported capital punishment.

“It would be worthwhile for certain politicians to read a little more than one catechism,” he wrote.

“I appeal to the members of all political parties, not to treat the teaching of the popes selectively, and not to cut up the comments of bishops,” Koch stated.

Law and Justice's stance was echoed by Solidarity Poland, the breakaway conservative block under the leadership of former PiS Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro.

“I'm a supporter of the death penalty for the cruellest murders,” Ziobro said earlier this week.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the reintroduction of the death penalty cannot occur.

“Unfortunately,” he concluded, “it is not possible to enact this punishment in Poland.”

Members of the EU are forbidden to use the death penalty as is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. (nh/pg)

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