Jury selection for the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started on Jan. 5, 2015 at Moakley Federal Court. A jogger runs past police vehicles in front of the courthouse
John Tlumacki—Boston Globe/Getty Images
January 25, 2015 11:09 PM EST

There is a distinct possibility that many of Boston’s 2 million Roman Catholics won’t be able to perform jury service in the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without violating their faith.

The criteria for selecting jurors requires them to be able to sentence the accused to death should that eventuality arise, USA Today reports.

According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, however, the death penalty must not be used if “nonlethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor.”

“It is both ironic and unfortunate that Catholics who understand and embrace this teaching will be systematically excluded from the trial,” the Rev. James Bretzke, professor of moral theology at Boston College, told USA Today.

Read more at USA Today.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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