The Pope has called on Catholic leaders to seek a ban on the death penalty exclaiming that 'Thou shall not kill applies to the guilty as well as the innocent'. Speaking to thousands at St. Peter's Square, in the Vatican, Pope Francis asked politicians around the world to make 'a courageous and exemplary gesture' during the Church's current Holy Year.
The Pontiff said: 'I appeal to the consciences of those who govern to reach an international consensus to abolish the death penalty. 'The commandment 'You shall not kill,' has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty.'
The pope added that there was now 'a growing opposition to the death penalty even for the legitimate defence of society' because modern means existed to 'efficiently repress crime without definitively denying the person who committed it the possibility of rehabilitating themselves.'
Francis made the comments to throw his weight behind an international conference against the death penalty starting on Monday in Rome and organised by the Sant'Egidio Community, a worldwide Catholic peace and justice group.