Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun, testified in the trial of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and asked that he be spared the death penalty.
Prejean, famous for counseling inmates on death row, spoke with Tsarnaev and claimed he showed remorse for the suffering he caused the victims of the bombings.
Sister Helen Prejean
“I had every reason to think he was taking it in and was genuinely sorry for what he did,” Prejean testified, according to CNN.
“He said emphatically, ‘No one deserves to suffer like they did,’” she said, according to the New York Times.
Prejean is known as an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, writing a bestselling book on the subject called “Dead Man Walking.” She met with Tsarnaev five times over the past year at the request of Tsarnaev’s defense lawyers, according to Yahoo News.
Prejean’s testimony came in light of the battle over Tsarnaev’s sentencing. Found guilty on 30 counts, including setting off weapons of mass destruction, it is to be decided whether or not he will receive the death penalty.
If Tsarnaev is spared the death penalty, he will spend his sentence at a supermax penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. There he would serve 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.
Amidst last week’s progressive announcement that evolution and the Big Bang Theory are compatible with intelligent design, Pope Francis held firm in his conservative pro-life position.
Known as a reformer of traditional religious ideology, Francis previously challenged views on poverty, interfaith relations, and church formality. Nonetheless, he voiced his strong pro-life viewpoint last week.
The pope told the International Association of Penal Law that “all Christians and people of goodwill” should advocate for “the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms.”
This statement came days after Pope Francis declared that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are not incompatible with Christianity. In fact, according to Francis, the scientific theory of evolution necessitates divine intervention.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origins to something else, but it derives directly from a supreme principle that creates out of love,” he said. “The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary it requires it. Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of divine creation.”
Francis’s comments build on the progressive views of his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and John Paul II.