Pope Francis on Sunday said the death penalty should be outlawed all over the world, and called for Catholic politicians to stop executions during the Church’s ongoing Holy Year, which ends in November. The pope said the commandment “You shall not kill” was absolute, applying to both the guilty and the innocent, Reuters reported.

The pope said that the penalty seeks to repress crime without giving the person a chance to be rehabilitated. He also called for better conditions in prisons and denounced life imprisonment, calling it a “hidden death penalty”.

The pope was speaking at St Peter’s square when he appealed to world leaders to end the practice. His comments come ahead of an international conference on the death penalty that will begin in Rome on Monday. The conference will be organised by Sant'Egidio Community, a Catholic peace and justice group. The Catholic Church has historically allowed death penalties in certain cases, but has toughened its stand on it in recent years.