Pope Francis on Sunday urged for the worldwide abolishment of death penalty, saying that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill’ has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty”.
At the weekly Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square, the Pope also appealed to Catholic leaders around the world to suspend executions during the Church’s current Holy Year. The Jubilee Year of Mercy is part of the Church’s push for mercy and forgiveness, which ends in November.
The pontiff also added that there is growing opposition to capital punishment in modern societies, and that today’s criminal justice system ought to offer hope of redemption for offenders. His speech also gives weight to an international conference that is set to place in Rome on Monday against the death penalty.
This is not the first time that the Pope has touched on this issue. In his 2015 trip to the US, he told Congress to ‘never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.’ He is following in the footsteps of his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and the late Pope John Paul II in speaking out against this issue.