Pope Francis calls for worldwide ban on death penalty

Pope Francis calls for worldwide abolition on death penalty, saying neither innocent nor guilty can be killed according to commandments

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican June 17, 2015.

Pope Francis called for a worldwide ban on the death penalty on Sunday, reciting the commandment “You shall not kill” applies not only for the innocent but for the guilty as well.

"The commandment "You shall not kill," has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty," Francis told the crowd.

The pope also called on Catholic politicians worldwide, while speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, to work for a suspension on any executions during the Catholic Church's current Holy Year, which ends in November.

"I appeal to the consciences of those who govern to reach an international consensus to abolish the death penalty," he said.

The 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church allowed the death penalty for centuries in extreme cases but the point of view began changing under the former Pope John Paul, who died in 2005.

The pope added on the subject that even it was for the legitimate defence of society, there was a growing opposition to the death penalty, providing the reason as modern means by giving a possibility of rehabilitation to the people who confess the committed crimes without definitively denying it.

TRTWorld and agencies