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1 October 2018
October: Respect Life Month

Catholic Mobilizing NetworkThe journey toward restorative justice is one of both heart and mind.
Over and over, it asks us to choose hope over death and redemption over vengeance.

When we succeed, we learn that we can foster healing, transform relationships, and build a culture of life, just as our Catholic faith compels us to do.

I can hardly think of a better time to embrace this call than in October for Respect Life Month.

Read more about Hope Over Death>

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3 August 2018
Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes Change in Catechism Calling for Abolition of the Death Penalty'

WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the revised section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's (USCCB's) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the change and echoed the call to end the death penalty in the United States.

"As the revised Catechism states, 'more effective systems of detention...which ensure the due protection of citizens' exist, ones that also maintain the human dignity of all."

Read the Full USCCB Statement>

Visit the USCCB's Website for more news releases>

3 August 2018
Archbishop Fisichella: 'Death penalty against human dignity'

Following Pope Francis' decision to revise the CCC to say the death penalty is inadmissible, Archbishop Rino Fisichella says the move clarifies a content of the faith and safeguards the dignity of the person.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, says Pope Francis' change to the Catechism regarding the death penalty is true progress in continuity with previous Church teaching.

Archbishop Fisichella said the Church recognizes the "mixed feelings in the face of such violent and inhumane crimes" that can lead to the decision to pass the death penalty.

"In defending the abolition of the death penalty,
one does not forget the suffering of the victims involved,
nor the injustice that has been perpetrated.

Rather, it is expected that justice take its own decisive step, not taken out of rancour and vengeance, but from a
sense of responsibility beyond the present moment."

Read Full Article by Devin Watkins/Vatican News>

2 August 2018
Pope Francis: 'Death penalty inadmissible'

Pope Francis has approved a new revision of paragraph number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, according to which "a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state," thus "the death penalty is inadmissible". The text now reads:

Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person",[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide".

[1] FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L'Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017.

Read Full Article by Linda Bordoni/Vatican News>

Vatican City, 11 October 2017
Death Penalty is 'contrary to the Gospel' pope says

The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, "is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel," Pope Francis said.

Capital punishment, he said,
"heavily wounds human dignity"
and is an "inhuman measure."

"It is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor," the pope said.

Read Full Article by Cindy Wooden/Catholic News Service>

Read Update by Cindy Wooden/Catholic News Service>

OSLO, 21-23 June 2016
Video Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
to the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty

I greet the organizers of this World Congress against the death penalty, the group of countries supporting it, particularly Norway as its host country, and all those representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society taking part in it. I likewise express my personal appreciation, along with that of men and women of good will, for your commitment to a world free of the death penalty.

One sign of hope is that public opinion is manifesting a growing opposition to the death penalty, even as a means of legitimate social defense. Indeed, nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God's plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice. Nor is it consonant with any just purpose of punishment. It does not render justice to victims, but instead fosters vengeance. The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty.

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is an
auspicious occasion for promoting worldwide
ever more evolved forms of respect for
the life and dignity of each person.

It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and
God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal.

Today I would encourage all to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also for the improvement of prison conditions, so that they fully respect the human dignity of those incarcerated. "Rendering justice" does not mean seeking punishment for its own sake, but ensuring that the basic purpose of all punishment is the rehabilitation of the offender.

The question must be dealt with within the larger framework of a system of penal justice open to the possibility of the guilty party's reinsertion in society. There is no fitting punishment without hope! Punishment for its own sake, without room for hope, is a form of torture, not of punishment.

I trust that this Congress can give new impulse to the effort to abolish capital punishment. For this reason, I encourage all taking part to carry on this great initiative and I assure them of my prayers.

Source: The Holy See



Stop Death Penalty


The commandment
"Thou shalt not kill"
has absolute value
and applies both
to the innocent and
to the guilty.



The dignity of
human life
must never
be taken away,
even in the case
of someone who has
done great evil.

Modern society
has the means
of protecting itself,
without definitively
denying criminals
the chance to reform.

Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995


Hope Over Death

Safeguarding Life for
Human Dignity

Letter to the Bishops regarding the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty

Catholic Social Teaching
and the Death Penalty

Restorative Justice


Contact your U.S. Elected Officials

Submit a Letter to your Governor

Take the Pledge to End the Death Penalty

Mercy in Action Project



Read more about Marist JPIC: Human Dignity>


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