Catholic Archbishop in Angola Laments Poor “conditions for inmates”, Cautions against “institutional revenge”

Archbishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias of Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese at the Luanda Central Prison (CCL). Credit: Luanda Archdiocese

Archbishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias of Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese has urged authorities in the Southern African nation to ensure the welfare of inmates by improving their working and living conditions.

In his address at the Luanda Central Prison (CCL), Archbishop Dias called on the prison authorities to “act in such a way that punishment and imprisonment do not serve only as a retributive measure, nor as institutional revenge, but that they only have to reaffirm the demand for justice that discourages crime.”

“Permit me to ask the civil authorities to improve living and working conditions for inmates. It is very difficult to work in these conditions,” the Angolan Archbishop said Tuesday, March 26.

He added, “Punishment and imprisonment make sense if, while affirming the demands of justice and discouraging crime, they serve the renewal of man, offering those who have erred a chance to reflect and change their lives, in order to integrate fully into society.”

Archbishop Dias appealed to the inmates to “aim for a new life in Christ and inner change for the good of society, so that the people to whom they have caused harm feel justice in this change.”


“Let no one, by their attitude, make the life you already have even heavier,” the Angolan-born Archbishop, who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 2004 as Auxiliary Bishop of Luanda said.

He added, “This journey of yours to the whole of society cannot be without joy. The very people to whom you have caused suffering will perhaps feel that they have received more justice by looking at your inner change than at the pity you have inflicted.”

Archbishop Dias said, “It is necessary that the Spirit of God penetrates this prison in which we find ourselves and all the prisons throughout the world. Christ, the Son of God, made himself a prisoner, let his hands be tied and then nailed them to the Cross, precisely so that his spirit could reach the hearts of all people." 

“I wish for each one of you, as you experience the love of God who sets you free, that the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who renews all things and instills hope and trust in your hearts, may descend among you and among the imprisoned throughout the world,” he told the inmates at CCL.

He implored, “May the gaze of Mary accompany you.”

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João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.