Opponents of the death penalty in Kansas are hoping the pope’s words can spur some action on the issue. Pope Francis called for ending capital punishment during a speech before a joint session of Congress Thursday.
Mary Sloan, with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, had hoped Pope Francis would talk about the issue during his visit to the U.S., and she’s especially pleased it came during his high-profile speech.
“I think he’s a great source of inspiration and leadership. I do think it puts it on the public agenda, makes it something that people will talk about and consider,” says Sloan.
It’s been several years since an effort to repeal capital punishment has made much headway in the Kansas Legislature. Sloan hopes the issue will get a hearing next year. Kansas reinstated the death penalty in the 1990s, but no executions have been carried out since then.