CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio prosecutor says a new Catholic Church ruling stating the death penalty is always inadmissible hasn't changed his stance that it is sometimes necessary to seek the death sentence.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who is currently seeking the death penalty in the resentencing case of a convicted serial killer, said he long ago reconciled his faith with the idea that the death sentence should be sought in certain cases, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
In a new policy published last week, Pope Francis changed the Catholic Church's teaching on the death penalty, which previously said the church would not exclude recourse to capital punishment if it was the only way to defend human lives.
The new policy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is now stringently against the death penalty with no exceptions.
"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," the new policy reads.
Deters says that hasn't changed his mind that he must seek the death penalty in cases involving what he considers the worst slayings.
"My dear friends who are priests don't understand what we're dealing with," Deters said. "There is evil in this world and there comes a point where society needs to defend itself."
The death penalty has been abolished in most of Europe and South America, but it is still in use in the United States and in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Mideast.
The Enquirer earlier this year reported Hamilton County is currently responsible for more executions in any county in Ohio since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1981. The county, which includes Cincinnati, has a larger death row population per capita than the counties containing the cities of Los Angeles, Miami or San Diego, and has more people on death row than all but 21 of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, according to the newspaper.