Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict both expressed opposition to the death penalty, but upheld what the Church taught.
Abolishing the death penalty has been one of Francis' top priorities for many years, along with saving the environment and caring for immigrants and refugees.
"When you have a priest on Sunday talking about how we don't believe in the death penalty, I think that will matter to people", she said in an interview.
The pontiff argues that a person's dignity "is not lost even after committing serious crimes." .
The letter added: "It entails cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment".
Archbishop Fisichella highlighted three reasons given in the new text of the CCC for the change.
St. John Paul II maintained that capital punishment should be reserved only for "absolute necessity". "The death penalty is a failed practice that perpetuates the cycle of violence and disproportionately targets marginalized populations, especially people of color, those living in poverty, and people suffering with mental illness".
"The key point here is really human dignity", Burke said.
"Simply put, the death penalty is no longer needed or morally justified in Nebraska", the bishops said.
While it is still noteworthy, this is by no means a reversal of prior Catholic doctrine.
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At issue in Christian considerations of the death penalty is whether the state has the obligation to punish criminals and defend its citizens. They did not approach in calling it intrinsically evil - a label applying to abortion, euthanasia, and other attacks on human life such as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Francis in a 2015 speech to the US Congress said that human life must be defended "at every stage of its development".
While in the USA the death penalty is still legal, nearly all countries in Europe have abolished it.
For Pope Francis, the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life are the core values of Christianity, regardless of the circumstances.
But as thrilled as she was by the pope's announcement, the author of "Dead Man Walking" - about her experience helping a death-row inmate - also said the revision is "still just words on a page".
Dr McAleese also highlighted the warning of the former editor of The Tablet, Catherine Pepinster, who said the Pope is "failing" to tackle the abuse issue.
Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, in that order, it said in a report published in April. In the United States, executions have been on the decline for years.
In the United States, 23 people were executed, a slight increase from 2016 but a low number compared with historical trends, Amnesty said.
"Dead Man Walking" was made into a 1995 film that starred Susan Sarandon as Prejean and fueled the debate in the US over capital punishment.
This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could bring back the death sentence. Among Americans as a whole, 54 percent are in favor and 39 percent opposed.
Sotto earlier said senators would be more likely to support the bill if the death penalty only targeted high-level drug traffickers.
Roughly one in five U.S. adults say their primary religious affiliation is with the Catholic Church, according to a 2015 Pew report.