Washington, DC — 9/24/15 — Death penalty abolitionists were thrilled to hear Pope Francis, in his speech before the US Congress this morning, call for an end to the death penalty, citing the “Golden Rule” which, said the Pope, “reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.” Hearing the Pope’s words, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty called on the 90 million Americans who oppose the death penalty to mobilize their fight to end the practice once and for all.
Noted Pope Francis, “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.”
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director Diann Rust-Tierney stated, “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 National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. We are comprised of an extensive network representing more than 100 state and national affiliate organizations and thousands of advocates and volunteers. Our members include families of murder victims, people across the political and religious spectrum, past and present law enforcement officials and prominent civil and racial justice organizations working to end the death penalty forever.
In January 2014, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty launched the 90 Million Strong Campaign to partner with and mobilize a growing number of national organizations and individuals who believe that it is time for the death penalty to end.