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On Thursday, Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress as part of his first visit to the United States.

During his prepared remarks to the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Holy Father discussed abolishing the death penalty and criminal justice reform.

The Pontiff began his comments regarding the death penalty and criminal justice saying, “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

His Holiness continued, “This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since 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.”

“Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

NewsOne Now panelist A. Scott Bolden explained politicians are struggling with Pope Francis’ stance on many issues regardless of party affiliation.

Bolden told Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now that as a result of the Holy Father using “soft power,” speaking with integrity and authenticity, “world leaders who have bombs and go to war and have economic and all the trappings of wealth and power have a hard time dealing” with the Pontiff.

Watch Martin and the NewsOne Now discussion panel discuss Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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