By Katie Ascough - 25 April, 2020
Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton in England, has welcomed figures showing a continued decrease in executions around the world and has repeated his calls for the UK government to help continue momentum towards the global abolition of the death penalty.
Speaking following the release of figures which showed a further 5 per cent drop in recorded executions last year, Bishop Lang who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs said that Catholic teaching on the death penalty is “clear” and “inadmissible” and that the Church works “with determination for its abolition”. This applies, said the bishop, regardless of what offence someone may be convicted of and where they are in the world.
“I am very encouraged that global use of the death penalty has decreased for another year. However, hundreds of people are still being executed by their governments and in some countries, the number has increased dramatically.
“I urge our own government to put working towards global abolition of the death penalty at the forefront of its foreign policy. Through committed, diplomatic and economic pressure, the UK can help maintain the momentum towards ending this gross violation of human dignity where it still exists,” Bishop Lang concluded.
Pope Francis himself has been known to speak out strongly against the death penalty which he declared unacceptable in 2018 and amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church accordingly. In an address to members of the International Commission against the Death Penalty he said that capital punishment is “contrary to the Gospel as it implies suppressing a life that is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator, and of which only God is the true judge and guarantor”.