Pope calls for jubilee moratorium on death penalty

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February 22, 2016

The shackled feet of a bombing suspect in Bangkok, Thailand, are seen as he is escorted by officers and prison personnel to Military Court Feb. 16. Pope Francis asks world leaders for a Jubilee Year moratorium on the death penalty. (CNS photo/Diego Azubel, EPA)  See POPE-ANGELUS-DEATH-PENALTY Feb. 22, 2016.

The shackled feet of a bombing suspect in Bangkok, Thailand, are seen as he is escorted by officers and prison personnel to Military Court Feb. 16. Pope Francis asks world leaders for a Jubilee Year moratorium on the death penalty. (CNS photo/Diego Azubel, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for a moratorium on executions during the Year of Mercy and said the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” applies not only to the innocent but to the guilty as well.

“Even a criminal has the inviolable right to life, a gift of God,” he said Feb. 21 after reciting the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Marking the beginning of an international conference “For a world without the death penalty,” sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the pope expressed hope that it will strengthen efforts to abolish the death penalty.

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