"Cautela in poena"

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] "Cautela in poena"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Following the letter to the 2014 AIDP Congress, published and commented in this Review, pope Francis further proposes his reflections on punishment with a speech to an AIDP delegation (October 2014) and with a letter to the President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty (March 2015). These contributions are by now clearly tracing the pope’s approach to the ‘criminal issue’. The pro homine principle stands as the core, demanding that punishment, in its structure and essential elements, promotes the human dignity of the convicted criminal. Therefore, punishment cannot be established as mere proportionality to the negativity of crime, but –on the contrary— as aiming at the achievement of a restorative justice, while leaving detention as extrema ratio. The use of criminal law to create scapegoats in order to avoid facing social problems that would, instead, deserve real attention is remarked. Similarly, the involvement, in many states, of the political power into the commission of serious crimes (torture, trafficking, corruption) is well underlined. In addition, death penalty is labelled as absolutely unacceptable and by no means considerable as a form of self-defence, also highlighting that capital punishment is often in practice applied also in countries that have officially abolished it. As a consequence, such a religion-founded reflection, rooted on the idea of cautela in poena, emerges as a crucial cultural contribution to the reform of the role and intervention mechanisms of criminal law.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] "Cautela in poena"
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • carcere come "extrema ratio"
  • corruzione, tortura, tratta
  • pena di morte
  • pena e papa Francesco


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