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Vatican Removes Death Penalty
    A revamped Vatican constitution coming out next month officially takes the death penalty off the Holy See's books.
    Pope Paul VI abolished the death penalty within the walls of the Vatican in the 1960s. However, capital punishment remained in the text of the constitution, which dates to the 1929 creation of the modern Vatican city-state, a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said on Friday.
    Under the modern state, ``It was never put into effect,'' Benedettini said.
    The revised constitution is the first since 1929, and removes anachronisms like the death penalty from the code, Benedettini said.
    ``After so many years, something must be reviewed,'' he said. ``Being such a small state, we don't need to do it very often.''
    The revised constitution takes effect on 22 February.
    While the Vatican under Pope John Paul II is strongly anti-death penalty, Vatican use of the death penalty persisted into the 19th century, with hangings under Pope Pius IX.
   
AP
   
29-Jan-01

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