"Pope Francis blasts life sentences as ‘hidden death penalty’," is the AFP report, via the Guardian.
Pope Francis has branded life-long prison terms “a hidden death sentence” in an attack on “penal populism” that included severe criticism of countries that facilitate torture.
In a wide-ranging speech to a delegation from the International Association of Penal Law, the pontiff said believers should oppose life-long incarceration as strongly as the use of capital punishment.
“All Christians and men of good faith are therefore called upon today to fight, not only for the abolition of the death penalty – whether it is legal or illegal and in all its forms – but also to improve the conditions of incarceration to ensure that the human dignity of those deprived of their freedom is respected.
“And this, for me, is linked to life sentences. For a short time now, these no longer exist in the Vatican penal code. A sentence of life (without parole) is a hidden death penalty.”
Catholic News Service posts, "Pope Francis calls for abolishing death penalty and life imprisonment," by Francis X. Rocca, via National Catholic Reporter.
Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a "penal populism" that promises to solve society's problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.
"It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," the pope said Thursday in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law.
"All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment," he said. "Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty."
The pope noted that the Vatican recently eliminated the death penalty from its own penal code.
"Pope Francis Defends Prisoners' Rights, Calls For Abolition Of Death Penalty," is by Carol Kuruvilla for HuffPost.
Pope Francis is speaking up for some of the most outcast members of society -- the prisoners.
The pontiff issued a call for the abolition of the death penalty on Thursday, harshly criticizing prison systems around the world for overstepping boundaries, mistreating inmates, and failing to recognize the sanctity of human life.
“All Christians and men of good will are called today to fight not just for the abolition of the death penalty in all its forms, whether it be legal or illegal, but also the goal of improving prison conditions, out of respect of the human dignity of people deprived of their freedom," the pope said during a meeting with the International Association of Penal Law.
News.VA posts, "Pope to Association of Penal Law: Corruption is Greater Evil than Sin."
Today, the Holy Father received delegates from the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP), addressing them with a speech focusing on the issues in their subject area that have recourse to the Church in her mission of evangelization and the promotion of the human person.
The Pope began by recalling the need for legal and political methods that are not characterized by the mythological “scapegoat” logic, that is, of an individual unjustly accused of the misfortunes that befall a community and then chosen to be sacrificed. It is also necessary to refute the belief that legal sanctions carry benefit, which requires the implementation of inclusive economic and social policies. He reiterated the primacy of the life and dignity of the human person, reaffirming the absolute condemnation of the death penalty, the use of which is rejected by Christians. In this context he also talked about the so-called extrajudicial executions, that is, the deliberated killing of individuals by some states or their agents that are presented as the unintended consequence of the reasonable, necessary, and proportionate use of force to implement the law. He emphasized that the death penalty is used in totalitarian regimes as “an instrument of suppression of political dissent or of persecution of religious or cultural minorities”.
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