Pope Francis Urges Countries to End Death Penalty: 'Even a Criminal Has the Inviolable Right to Life'
Vatican City: February 24, 2016. Pope Francis is asking all Christians to fight to end the death penalty, which the pope said goes against the biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”
“Even a criminal has the inviolable right to life, a gift of God," Francis said during a speech marking the Year of Mercy at the Vatican.
"This issue has to be considered within the perspective of a penal justice, which is more and more in compliance with human dignity and God's plan for humanity and society," the pope said, according to Catholic News Service.
According to The Christian Post, the pope asked that the world abolish the death penalty.
"All Christians and people of goodwill are called today to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also to improve the conditions of life in prison, in the respect of human dignity of people deprived of freedom," Francis said.
In past statements, Francis has said that life imprisonment is a “hidden death penalty.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 22 countries carried out death penalties in 2014.
China leads the number of judicial executions with more than 1,000. The U.S. is in the top six countries.
An October 2015 Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans support the death penalty.