Pope Francis Abolish The Death Penalty

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In September 2015, Pope Francis urged the United States to abolish the death penalty during an address to Congress. Similar to the previous pope, Pope Francis advocated abolition because “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” (“Address of the Holy Father”). Although the Roman Catholic Church now opposes capital punishment, their strong stance for abolition is fairly recent, starting around the 1980s. Almost all religious groups and denominations have a passionate view on the morality and the legality of death penalty. This fervor incited an abundance of political and religious debates, spurring both religious leaders and parishioners into action to defend their beliefs. The main argument deals with the question of whether an individual still has the right to his or her own life after committing a heinous crime, such as taking the life of another. Policy makers must attempt to …show more content…
Among those influenced by Beccaria was Dr. Benjamin Rush, who led Pennsylvania to become the first state to consider varying degrees of murder and only allow execution in the case of first degree murder in 1974. By the mid-1800s, many states reduced the number of capital crimes dramatically, built statewide prisons, and Rhode Island and Wisconsin even abolished capital punishment entirely. Because of the growing opposition, some states tried to make the death penalty seem more appealing by enacting discretionary laws instead of mandatory ones in 1838. The mandatory statutes required the death penalty for anyone convicted of a capital crime, regardless of circumstances. The abolitionists viewed this legal change as a success (“History of the Death

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