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Rome Reports

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Pope confirms opposition to death penalty and calls for end of life sentences

The pope confirmed today the Church's opposition to the death penalty because "every life is sacred and human dignity must be guarded without exception."

This was during his meeting with representatives of the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

However, the pope also criticized sentencing someone to life in prison because it "removes the possibility of moral and existential redemption" and is a covert death penalty. 

It was a 45-minute meeting from which they left very satisfied. 

President, International Commission against the Death Penalty
“He was concerned about populims, which is not necessarily the popularism of people, and he felt that certain streams of thought were moving away from what the people wanted. I raised with him what some governments tell us, that they dare not abolish the death penalty in their countries because the people want the death penalty. He was interested in that and saw the importance of the Church playing a role in educating people.”  

Bill Richardson abolished the death penalty in New Mexico. He says the pope's support will help more countries join the movement against the death penalty, or abolish these laws.

Former Governor of New Mexico
“When I abolished the death penalty in New Mexico it wasn't popular, but the American people are moving in favor of abolition. Although, not totally, it's something like 55-45. But if the pope takes a stand with the Catholic community, especially in the U.S., that's going to help persuade Catholic voters in many states.”

President, International Commission against the Death Penalty
“Today, at the UN General Assembly, the UN is adopting a resolution for the moratorium against the Death Penalty. I'm very happy to say that we expect the largest number of yes votes. Yes in favor of the moratorium.”

The pope also asked them to address another issue along the lines of humanitarian justice. This is the problem of those who do not help others in need, when they are able to do so. As is the case with those turning away refugees.