Earlier today, Pope Francis gave a historic speech to the United States Congress covering a wide range of social justice issues. As part of his address, he specifically called on the U.S. Congress and the world to abolish the death penalty, stating:
Let us remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Mt 7:12).
"This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."
In response to the Pope's remarks, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director, Diann Rust-Tierney, provided the following statement:
“The Pope’s speech before Congress was nothing less than historic, and his words are a critical endorsement of our fight. Pope Francis speaks on behalf of more than 90 million Americans who know that the reasons to end capital punishment aren’t just about ending a broken, biased system that doesn’t ultimately make us safer as a country. Rather, ending the death penalty is the moral thing to do, a recognition that all human life has dignity, and that even the most seemingly irredeemable souls can be rehabilitated. The 90 Million Strong who seek to abolish the death penalty will redouble our efforts in the hope that someday, the death penalty can be a distant memory in this tortured chapter of American history.”
The Pope's remarks come at a time, when more and more people in the United States are recognizing that the death penalty is an absolute failure. It does not deter crime, it prolongs the suffering of the families of murder victims, and it perpetuates the cycle of violence.
The time is now to join the movement to finally abolish death penalty. Please take the 90 Million Strong Pledge to #HaltAllExecutions today.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has created the 90 Million Strong Campaign to unite the voices of those who believe the death penalty is wrong. We need to demonstrate that the broad public support to end this practice is already here in America, and 90 million people speaking up can make a difference.
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