The Vatican raised the possibility Sunday of using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to try to save the life of an Iranian widow sentenced to be stoned for adultery.
In its first public statement on the case, which has attracted worldwide attention, the Vatican decried stoning as a particularly brutal form of capital punishment.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Catholic church opposes the death penalty in general.
It is unclear what chances any Vatican bid would have to persuade the Muslim nation to spare the woman’s life. Brazil, which has friendly relations with Iran, was rebuffed when it offered her asylum.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of adultery. In July, Iranian authorities said they would not carry out the stoning sentence for the time being, but the mother of two could still face execution by hanging for adultery and other offenses.
Our view: the death penalty is a barbaric form of punishment that should be rejected by all civilized nations — as should the Shariah. Islamic law is incompatible with Western civilization.