Pope Francis has said that life imprisonment is a 'hidden' death sentence and should be banned. He said that it offers revenge for victims instead of pursuing true justice.
"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 Mail online d him a saying at a meeting of International Association of Penal Law.
He said the media and politicians advocated "violence and revenge, public and private, not only against those responsible for crimes, but also against those under suspicion, justified or not".
Catholic teaching does not proscribe capital punishment, the pope said.
He said that Christians must also oppose life long incarceration as a "a hidden death penalty".
The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code.
"All Christians and men of good faith are therefore called upon today to fight, not only for the abolition of the death penalty - whether it is legal or illegal and in all its forms... and this, for me, is linked to life sentences. A sentence of life (without parole) is a hidden death penalty," the Pope said.