Pope Francis yesterday called on Catholic leaders worldwide to show “exemplary” courage by not allowing executions this year, while expressing hope that eventually the death penalty will be abolished everywhere, reported the Boston Herald.
Francis told tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that “the commandment ‘do not kill’ holds absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty.”
He added that there is “an ever-more widespread opposition in public opinion to the death penalty, even only as an instrument of legitimate social defense.”
“I appeal to the conscience of those who govern so that international consensus is reached for the abolishment of the death penalty,” the pope said. “And I propose to all those among them who are Catholic to make a courageous and exemplary gesture: May no execution sentence be carried out in this Holy Year of mercy.”
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