On the first day of his trip to Bahrain, Pope Francis admonished the death penalty and called for religious freedom.

“I think in the first place of the right to life, of the need to guarantee that right always, including for those being punished, whose lives should not be taken.” 

Pope Francis has made the right to life a focus of his papacy.

His prayer intention in September was for the abolition of the death penalty. In 2018, he changed the Catechism to make the death penalty “inadmissible.”

During his meeting at the Sakhir Royal Palace, he explained: “I am here, as a sower of peace.”

In embracing “encounter between civilizations, religions and cultures” we must “work together” to serve “togetherness and hope,” he said.

He also brought attention to protecting workers from “dehumanizing” work and the need to end “the monstrous and senseless reality of war” which “brings in its wake the death of truth.”

“I am here today as a believer, as a Christian, as a man and as a pilgrim of peace, because today, more than ever, we are called, everywhere, to commit ourselves seriously to peacemaking.”

Bahrain’s king thanked Pope Francis for his “tangible faith, which we share, in the role of dialogue and communication.”

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says of the country:

“Bahrain’s use of torture and the death penalty have drastically escalated (600%) since the Arab Spring protests in 2011, despite the government’s promises of human rights reform.”

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