Pope Francis has officially updated Catholic doctrine to state that the death penalty is inadmissible. 

The Pontiff, who has made the pursuit of international peace and mercy a hallmark of his papacy thus far, has previously spoken out against the death penalty. 

The Catechism of the Church, which officially spells out the Catholic Church's doctrine and teachings for its 1.2 billion members around the world, now states that the death penalty is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."

The church also stated that it will work towards the abolition of the death penalty. 

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Pope Francis has declared the death penalty ‘inadmissible’ for Catholics pic.twitter.com/LEC2ml2Gt7

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Whereas the catechism under Pope John Paul II described the death penalty as "an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good," calling for imprisonment instead when at all possible, the updated catechism now describes "an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes."

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In an address to the US Congress in 2015, during Pope Francis' visit to America, he expressed his support for abolishing the death penalty. 

"I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes," he said. 

Currently, the death penalty is legal in 53 countries around the world. In the United States, it is legal in 31 states. 

Ireland, where Pope Francis will visit later in August, fully abolished the death penalty in 1990, having already outlawed it in all cases except murder in 1964.

On April 20, 1954, Michael Manning, a 25-year-old man from Limerick found guilty of rape and murder, became the 29th and last person to be legally executed in Ireland.

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