Abolishing the death penalty

va_electric_chair(Dear Friends for Life):   Pope Francis has called on us to expand our fight for the “Culture of Life” by abolishing the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and he attacked a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishment instead of pursuing social justice.

“All Christians and men of good faith are therefore called upon today to fight, not only for the abolition of the death penalty – whether 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.” Francis went on say that sentencing individuals to life in prison wasn’t any better, calling such penalties “a hidden death penalty.”

Another crime against humanity emphasized by Francis was what he called “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments and sanctions,” and compared detention in maximum-security prisons to a “form of torture”. The isolation imposed in these places causes “mental and physical” suffering that result in an “increased tendency towards suicide”. Torture, he pointed out, is used not only as a means to obtain “confession or information”, but it is an authentic ‘surplus’ of pain that is added to detention.

Torture in this sense is used not only in illegal centres of detention, but also in a limited way against older people, sick people, pregnant women, disabled people as well as parents if they are the sole guardians of minors or persons with disabilities.

joshua-heldreth-mdThe Washington Post reports that the United States still puts more children and teenagers in juvenile detention than any other developed nations in the world, with about 70,000 detained on any given day. And as it turns out, this is very likely a bad idea. Many people who end up behind bars end up making friends with other offenders and building “criminal capital.” Prison turns out to be excellent training for a life of crime.

Education-over-mass-incarceration_-BIG-ADA change must take place in the world’s current system in handling prisons and punishments. The outdated approach today appears to be creating criminals, not stopping them. Improvements will only take place when the international community firmly commits to recognizing the principle of placing human dignity above all else. Example: change the word “prison to school” and “punishment to education”. The new concept may not only save money but also produce interesting results.

God Bless
Jerry Novotny, OMI



(The Difference is LIFE)  “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”  – St. John Paul II



Websites by Fr. Jerry


Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in English)

Japan-lifeissues.net (in Japanese)

Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in Japanese)






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