Rome – Pope Francis asked Catholic leaders around the world on Sunday after his weekly Angelus prayer to work to stop executions during this year, and said death penalty should be abolished permanently.
Francis told the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he appealed to the conscience of the rulers so that we achieve an international consensus for the abolition of the death penalty. He also appealed to those among them who are Catholics to make a courageous and exemplary gesture that no sentence is executed in this Holy Year of Mercy.
“The commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value, and covers both the innocent and the guilty; even the criminal keeps the inviolable right to life, a gift from God.” The pope said.
The pontiff also condemned the current justice system, saying that it needs to be ever more in line with human dignity and to God’s plan for man and society, calling for a justice system that gives hope for social reintegration.
He said during his visit to Mexico that we have already lost many decades thinking and believing that everything will be resolved by isolating, separating, incarcerating, and ridding ourselves of problems.
What is the Holy Year of Mercy?
The Pope launched the Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II. It is set to continue until November 20.
The church’s formal yearlong push for mercy encourages Catholics to show mercy in every aspect of their lives.
A World without the Death Penalty
Francis voiced his support Sunday for an international conference organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a new movement in the Catholic Church, being held in Rome Monday and Tuesday.
The conference is called A World Without Death Penalty, and it hopes to bring renewed energy to the mission to end capital punishment.
The pontiff said everyone deserves the chance for redemption.