Speaking to Congress, Pope Francis is calling for an end to the death penalty in the U.S. and across the world.

Francis says that every life is sacred and society can only benefit from rehabilitating those convicted of crimes. The pope noted that U.S. bishops have renewed their call to abolish capital punishment.

That idea is unpopular, however, with many American politicians. The pontiff did not specifically mention abortion – a particularly contentious issue in Congress at the moment that threatens to force the shutdown of the U.S. government next week. Still, his remarks referred to the Catholic church's opposition to abortion. He urged lawmakers and all Americans to “protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.