POPE URGES THE NEW YEAR TO BE A HOLY YEAR OF AMNESTY FOR PRISONERS
Pope Francis continues to bring the attention of the world to the plight of the poor and the imprisoned. In his annual peace message he urged policy-makers to overcome what he called the “globalization of indifference”.
In his Annnual Peace Message just released, the Pope has urged all governents to consider granting a Holy Year of Amnesty for the most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, migrants, prisoners and the elderly.
“On the institutional level, indifference to others and to their dignity, their fundamental rights and their freedom, when it is part of a culture shaped by the pursuit of profit and hedonism, can foster and even justify actions and policies which ultimately represent threats to peace,”
Specifically he urged governments to consider urgent measures to improve conditions of prisoners, especially those awaiting trial. He called for governments to abolish the death penalty and consider alternatives to incarceration as well as a Holy Year amnesty., In the message, Francis called for concrete and “courageous gestures” from governments in this, his Holy Year of Mercy, to find jobs for the unemployed, to review laws so that migrants are welcomed, to relieve the debt of poor countries and to ensure that the sick receive necessary treatment.
[A previous Commentary has given voice to the Pope’s views on crime and imprisonment]