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Pope urges Congress to respect life and treat it as sacred. The death penalty must be stopped worldwide.

In his address to the Congress on Thursday, the Pope urged the U.S to end the death penalty.

Pope Francis has been a vocal opponent of capital punishment and death penalty. According to him, each life is sacred and that every individual possesses an inalienable dignity. The Pope also stresses on the belief that convicts must be rehabilitated and that society can benefit from this approach.

The death penalty has recently been an issue among many U.S. Bishops and priests, who are demanding that it be done away with. The move has gained plenty of support from the pontiff who states that a “just punishment should never forget hope”.

In his address, this is what the Pope had to say:

We are reminded that it is our responsibility to defend and protect human life in all stages of the development. This is the Golden Rule. The conviction of this has led the Pope, right from the initial stages of his ministry to strive hard for the abolition of death penalty at different levels. He supports his statement by saying that he is convinced that life is sacred and every human being is endowed with dignity which never (and should not) be taken away from them. By doing away with death penalty, the society stands to benefit from such rehabilitated human beings. He also says that his fellow bishops in the US also vowed for the abolition of death penalty. He says that not only do they have his support, but his encouragement will be everyone who opines that a necessary punishment should also be just and never ignore the 'hope' and 'goal of retaliation.'

Capital punishment is legal in 31 U.S states and according to statistics produced in mid-2015, there are 3,002 inmates in line for execution.

Apart from focusing on the death penalty issue, Pope Francis also addressed the problems of fundamentalism and anti-immigration policies. The immigration issue has been a hot topic among politicians with Republican in favor of anti-immigration.

The Pope told the audience that foreigners must not be feared and that he too, was the son of immigrant parents.

He also warned about fundamentalism requiring vigilance. The pontiff reminded that fundamentalism of any kind must be curbed; however, there must be a “delicate balance” in order to protect religious freedom.

He said governments, including the U.S., must fight religious, economical, and ideological fundamentalism without stomping on people’s rights to intellectual and individual freedom.

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