Let Justice and Mercy Meet: Crime, Punishment and the Common Good in Light of Sacred Scripture and Catholic Teaching

September 26, 2011

By the Bishops of Louisiana


Justice involves right order. Restorative justice involves the return to right order, effected through the acceptance of responsibility, the assignment of appropriate punishment and the return or restoration of as many as possible to the human community. The appropriate punishment redresses the harm done to the victims, their families and the wider society and both rehabilitates offenders and restores them to their families. Restorative justice also calls on us to reject capital punishment as an effective and moral means of confronting crime. Death does not restore, heal, or make whole what was lost. Death only causes more death. When the state imposes death as a sentence, a further insensitivity to the loss of life is the result. The death penalty makes it easy to give up on others and neglect the underlying causes which yield violence and death. As a people of the Gospel of Life, we are called to build a civilization of life and love.

View the Statement