Pope Francis often spoke out against the Death Penalty. In an address to the US Congress in 2015, he called for the global abolition of capital punishment. Popes before him have spoken out against the Death Penalty: When visiting St. Louis in 1999, Pope John Paul the II called the death penalty “cruel” and “unnecessary”; Pope Benedict XVI also appealed for an end to the Death Penalty.
Bishops in every state that has the death penalty have spoken against it.
This month Pope Francis took a decisive step against Capital Punishment declaring that it is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” This a change to the Catechism which is the official body of the Church’s teachings. Many will object that is a “punishment” so that makes it right. The Catholic Communication Campaign says that “the death penalty represents the failure of our modern society to fulfill the theological and moral demands of justice. Justice demands that society begin with the recognition that each human person is created in the image and likeness of God and must work in all its endeavors towards the benefit of the human person. The use of the death penalty denies our call to true discipleship.
Sister Helen Prejean, advocate and author of Dead Man Walking always said: “people are more important than the worst thing they have done in their lives.” When actress Susan Saran heard that a man who she had been writing to on death row had received an execution date, she was shaken for she had gotten to know him as a person, she asked Helen what she should do. Helen answered: “Just what you have been doing. Be his friend. You give him dignity.”(From The Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean, 2005.)
When Bud Welch’s daughter was killed in the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing, he was all for the death penalty. But then he remembered that his daughter told him that she was against it and so he began to work against the death penalty for Timothy McVey. All the other families who had members killed in the bombing left him alone in his work against the death penalty until after McVey was executed. Then they started attacking him for his objections. When he asked a therapist why they were coming at him now after the execution he was given this answer – they had McVey to place their anger on but after he was executed and the anger and pain did not subside they went after Bud Welch.
Activists against the Death Penalty often say: “Why do we kill someone to prove that killing is wrong.”
Some people are kept on death row for so long that they are different people by the time they are executed.
More blacks are executed than white offenders which is racism.
Death Penalty is against respect for life – a life that God created.
In 2001, we Oldenburg Franciscans, affirmed a corporate stance where we stated that “we…strongly oppose the death penalty as contrary to the Gospel and to our particular Franciscan call to peacemaking and justice for the poor.” To renew this commitment sign the National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty at www.catholicmobilizing.org