[… because what would a Year of Mercy be without it?]
Angelus text: zenit.org/articles/full-text-of-angelus-address-on-the-trip-to-mexico/
Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, Monday, an international conference begins in Rome that is titled “For a World Without the Death Penalty,” promoted by the Sant’Egidio Community.
I desire that this conference might give new strength to efforts to abolish the death penalty. An increasing strong opposition to the death penalty, even as an instrument of legitimate social defense, has developed in public opinion, and this is a sign of hope. In fact, modern societies have the ability to effectively control crime without definitively removing from the criminal the possibility of redeeming himself.
The issue lies in the context of a perspective on penal justice that is ever more conformed to the dignity of man and God’s design for man and for society. And also penal justice open to the hope of being reintegrated in society. The command “thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and refers to the guilty as well as the innocent.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a good occasion to promote in the world a growing maturity in forms of respect for life and the dignity of each person. Because even a criminal has the inviolable right to life, a gift of God.
I make a call to the consciences of those who govern, so that they come to an international consensus aimed at abolishing the death penalty. And to those among them who are Catholic, that they carry out a gesture of courage, giving an example: that the death penalty not be applied in this Holy Year of Mercy.
All Christians and men and women of good will are called today to work for the abolition of the death penalty, but also for improving the conditions of prisons, in respect of human dignity and of those people deprived of freedom.