There is “much more work to do” in order to abolish the death penalty throughout the world, England and Wales’ lead Bishop for International Affairs has said.
Bishop Declan Lang welcomed news that use of the death penalty has continued to decline across the world but urged its complete abolition.
During 2020, there were 483 executions in 18 countries – down 26 per cent on 2019 and 70 per cent down from 1,634 executions in 2015.
However, the true number is likely to be far higher as this does not include states that keep information about executions secret – including China. There remain at least 28,567 people under sentence of death.
“Pope Francis has called upon all Christians to work for the abolition of the death penalty,” Bishop Lang said. “We pray for everyone involved in this struggle.
“Across the world, progress is being made. However, there is much more work to do. Even those of us living in countries where the death penalty has been consigned to history have an important role to play in the global movement for abolition.
“In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis reiterated the Church’s opposition to the death penalty. There can be no stepping back; the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition.”
Picture: Protesters opposed to the death penalty are seen in this illustration photo. (CNS photo/Tami Chappell, Reuters).