Many news outlets and social media posts are getting this wrong. While the Pope has called for abolition in the past, his most recent statement was urging Catholic leaders to place a moratorium on execution to mark the Holy Year of Mercy. (The Holy year of Mercy was also the reason given for Mount St. Mary’s Pres. Newman to reinstate the professors he fired in a reprehensible act of dictatorial caprice.)
CNN gets it right.
It’s unfortunate that the Pope refers to the absolute right to life, which is a fairly incredible principle, unless you are a radical pacifist or a certain kind of Buddhist (both very respectable positions in my view.) An absolute right to life would render many acts of self-defense (at the individual or national levels) morally impermissible.