In a statement marking the 25th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in France, the members of the Council of Christian Churches of France said,  “In a troubled and divided world in which executions are massively practiced, it is more important that, in a peaceful but firm way, Christians together denounce this punishment that is contrary to the mercy of God.”

In their statement, the Christian leaders said the country must be “twice as vigilant against the temptations to retract (this decision)” to abolish the death penalty, which took place on October 10, 1981.

“The excuse of the war against terror for the creation of special tribunals, the exploitation of peoples’ fear, the violence and arbitrariness in some parts of the planet in which there is no constitutional state, are situations we deem to be truly worrisome,” the statement indicated.

The declaration was signed by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux and President of the Bishops’ Conference of France; Pastor Jean-Arnold de Clermont, President of the Protestant Federation of France; and Metropolitan Emmanuel, President of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France.