Pope Francis at his Angelus address at the Vatican, Dec. 11, 2022. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Dec 12, 2022 / 09:50 am (CNA).

Pope Francis will send a letter to the world’s heads of state asking them to pardon prisoners, the Vatican announced Monday.

The invitation to make a “gesture of clemency” will be sent “on the occasion of the upcoming Christmas,” a Dec. 12 communication said.

The Vatican said the letter will invite world leaders to grant leniency to “those of our brothers and sisters deprived of their liberty whom they deem fit to benefit from such a measure, so that this time marked by tensions, injustices, and conflicts may be opened to the grace that comes from the Lord.”

The latest figures from the World Prison Population List, published in December 2021, report that there are an estimated 11.5 million prisoners worldwide.