Codex Justinianus VERSUS Pope Francis On The Death Penalty: The Emperor Constantius to Florentinus.


2267 Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. 

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.  

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, [1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide." Source


The Emperor Constantius to Florentinus.

As soon as the defendant is produced in any case, whether an accuser is responsible for his appearance, or whether a public official has caused his arrest, his trial must at once proceed, so that if he is guilty, he may be punished, and if he is innocent, he may be discharged. When the accuser is absent, or the presence of the accomplices of the accused is considered necessary, they should be found as soon as possible. In the meantime, however, handcuffs should not be placed on the defendant, which bind him closely, but he should be placed in longer chains (if the nature of the offence demands the harshness of chains); so that he may not be subjected to suffering, but still remain in safe custody. He should not, however, be confined in a dark dungeon, but where he can be reached by light, and enjoy it; and, as night demands double vigilance, he ought to be lodged in the vestibule of a prison, or some other healthy place, and, when day returns, he should immediately be brought out into the light, as soon as the sun rises, in order that he may not die through imprisonment, which is considered unfortunate in the case of innocent persons, but not sufficiently severe so far as those who are guilty are concerned. The following rule must also be observed, namely, that it shall not be lawful for those who perform the duties of jailers, or their attendants, to sell their cruelty to accusers, by destroying innocent persons through confinement in narrow dungeons, or, by delaying the hearing of their cases, cause them to waste away with disease; for a judge is not only liable to loss of reputation, but he will also incur serious risk if he does not punish with the penalty of death any jailer or his attendants, who, through negligence, or for any other reason whatever, permit anyone to remain in prison a longer time than he should, or to punish by starvation.   

Given on the day before the Kalends of July, during the Consulate of Constantine, Consul for the sixth time, and the Caesar Constantius, 353.