Pope Francis has called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and attacked a "penal populism" that promises to solve society's problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice, the Catholic News website reports today (October 23, 2014).
"It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," the Pope said yesterday in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law.
"All Christians and people of goodwill are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment," he said.
"Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty." The Pope noted that the Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code.