Pope Francis today asked all States that continue to apply the death penalty, "to adopt a moratorium with a view to the abolition of this cruel form of punishment."
Francisco made this appeal in a speech delivered to the members of the International Commission against the death penalty, with whom he held a private meeting today.
In the message he gave them, since he preferred to improvise his speech, the pontiff invited all the states that have not abolished the death penalty, but do not apply it, "to continue fulfilling this international commitment and that the moratorium not apply only to the execution of the sentence but also to the imposition of death sentences ".
"The moratorium can not be lived by the condemned as a mere prolongation of the wait for his execution," he said.
While the States that continue to apply this penalty, he added, "I beg you to adopt a moratorium with a view to the abolition of this cruel form of punishment."
"The suspension of executions and the reduction of crimes punishable by capital punishment, as well as the prohibition of this form of punishment for minors, pregnant women or people with mental or intellectual disabilities, are minimum objectives with which leaders throughout the country the world must commit, "he added.
And he indicated that the resolutions of the United Nations on moratorium on the use of the death penalty, "which aim to suspend the application of capital punishment in member countries, are a path that must be traveled without implying to give up on the initiative of universal abolition ".
The pontiff recalled that in the new wording of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is declared "inadmissible" in any case the application of the death penalty.
He admitted that "even in the papal State, this inhuman form of punishment has been resorted to, ignoring the primacy of mercy over justice."
Therefore, "the new wording of the Catechism implies taking responsibility for the past and recognizing that the acceptance of this form of punishment was the result of a mentality of the time, more legalistic than Christian, that sacralized the value of laws lacking in humanity and mercy. "
"No one can take his life or the hope of his redemption and reconciliation with the community," he insisted.
The members of this International Commission against the death penalty explained in a meeting with the press that they would ask the pope to become spokesman for the abolition of said condemnation in their interreligious meetings or in the meetings held with other Heads of State and Government of all the world.
One of its members, the ex-governor of New Mexico (USA) Bill Richardson, explained that they would inform the Pope of his petition to the governor of California, Jerry Bronw, that before the end of his term, he should adopt a moratorium on the punishment of the 740 condemned in the death row of his state.