Does the Bible condone the death penalty? Philippines bishops blast President Duterte

Bishops in the Philippines have rebuked President Rodrigo Duterte in a statement flatly rejecting the Bible condones the death penalty.

In a strongly worded statement the country's Catholic bishops said those who think the Bible permits capital punishment need to go and read scripture 'properly'.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has advocated reintroducing the death penaltyReuters

It comes as the radical President Duterte is advocating its return after the death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006.

'To the people who use the Bible to defend the death penalty, need we point out how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible?' the bishops asked in Sunday's pastoral statement.

'We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a progressive revelation of God's will to humankind, with its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, God's definitive Word to the world.'

They go on: 'Jesus was never an advocate of any form of "legal killing". He defended the adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her.'

Speaking of the early political stages in restoring the death penalty they add: 'It was Ash Wednesday when members of the lower House, on the second reading of the death penalty bill, outvoted by voice-voting the nays with their ayes. Ironically, they were captured on television shouting in favor of death with their foreheads marked with crosses made of ashes'

'Could they have forgotten what that cross meant?,' the bishops said.

'Even with the best of intentions, capital punishment has never been proven effective as a deterrent to crime,' they continued. 'Obviously it is easier to eliminate criminals than to get rid of the root causes of criminality in society. Capital punishment and a flawed legal system are always a lethal mix.'