Conservatives are hating the Pope right now. First he indirectly accuses Donald Trump of being a faux Christian for wanting to build a wall instead of “bridges” to the people of Mexico, and now he’s calling on the “pro-life” Christian lot to abolish the death penalty once and for all.
At his St. Peter’s Square Sunday gathering, Pope Francis reminded the congregates that the commandment of “thou shalt not kill” applies to all living beings, not just unborn fetuses:
The commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ has absolute value, and concerns both the innocent and the guilty. All Christians and people of good will are called today to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also in order to improve prison conditions, in respect for human dignity of persons deprived of liberty.
Look at that – the leader of the world’s largest Christian church telling those of good will to be decent, compassionate human beings. Someone should have told the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a devout Catholic and staunch supporter of the death penalty.
Pope Francis also called on Catholic politicians to intervene in pending death sentence cases, ensuring that no criminal be executed between now and November 20, the end of the Holy Year of Mercy in the Church.
Since the mid-1990s, the Catholic Church has taken a hard stance against capital punishment, with Pope John Paul II declaring the practice “cruel and unnecessary” unless in the most extreme cases. Even in those circumstances, the Church contends that such extreme cases are virtually nonexistent. The church also teaches that an “eye for an eye” attitude regarding the death penalty is “reprehensible” in the highest degree.
Currently, all (relevant) GOP candidates – Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – support the death penalty as well as 80 percent among registered Republicans. In comparison, only 47 percent of Democrats support capital punishment.
Hopefully Republicans (and Hillary Clinton) will listen to the wise words of the Pope and open their hearts to a more compassionate position.
Featured image via Wikipedia