What was once a common part of 19th-century life is depicted in the color engraving “An Execution in Rome for Murder, 1820,” by Richard Bridgens (1785-1846).

In this issue’s cover story, Peter Jesserer Smith traces the development of the Church’s teaching on capital punishment in light of Pope Francis’ revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church declaring the death penalty “inadmissible.”

Archbishop José H. Gomez explains why the revision is an “authentic development” of doctrine championed by St. Pope John Paul II, and longtime death penalty abolition advocate and LA priest Father Chris Ponnet weighs in on the change.

A different direction

By Archbishop José H. Gomez

The death penalty divide

By Peter Jesserer Smith

Capital punishment in California

By R.W. Dellinger

A city of young saints

By Clara Fox

Getting with the summer program

By R.W. Dellinger

Playing it forward

By Tom Hoffarth

No longer unthinkable

By John L. Allen Jr.

Catherine's letters to the future

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

Clerical pitfalls

By Russell Shaw

Words of wisdom

By Ruben Navarrette

A different kind of bomb

By Carl Kozlowski

From Pico to Pulitzer

By Heather King