Pope Francis came out squarely against the death penalty on March 20, calling it “unacceptable” regardless of the seriousness of the crime of the condemned. Pope Francis met with a three-person delegation of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty and issued a letter on the occasion urging worldwide abolition of the penalty. The pope called capital punishment “cruel, inhumane and degrading” and said it “does not bring justice to the victims, but only foments revenge.” Furthermore, in a modern “state of law, the death penalty represents a failure” because it obliges the state to kill in the name of justice, the pope said. Rather, it is a method frequently used by “totalitarian regimes and fanatical groups” to do away with “political dissidents, minorities” and any other person deemed a threat to their power and to their goals. Just a few days earlier, on March 17, the bishops of Nebraska had called for repeal of their state’s death penalty and reform of the criminal justice system.
Death Penalty ‘Unacceptable’