Pope’s Year of Mercy Plea: Stop the Death Penalty

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“The commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ has absolute value and concerns both the innocent and the guilty,” he said. Even criminals “maintain the inviolable right to life, the gift of God.”

 02/22/2016

VATICAN CITY — Christians must work to abolish the death penalty and improve prison conditions, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

After praying the Angelus on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis called on all Christians and people of goodwill to work “not only for the abolition of the death penalty,” but also to improve the conditions in prison. These efforts would respect the human dignity of prisoners, he said.

He appealed to the consciences of government leaders to join “the international consensus for the abolition of the death penalty.” He asked Catholic leaders not to hold executions during the Year of Mercy. This would be as a “courageous and exemplary act,” he said Feb. 21.

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