In the Catholic Church in the United States, pastoral statements are offered by individual bishops in particular dioceses, state Catholic conferences of bishops, regional synods of bishops, or the national conference (USCCB) when seeking to apply universal church teaching to particular circumstances or issues. In the case of the death penalty, U.S. bishops have often been strong anti-death penalty advocates for persons sentenced to be executed.  The list below includes more recent pastoral and state conference statements relating to Catholic teaching on the death penalty and its application to particular laws and state-sponsored executions.

Archbishop José H. Gómez: Statement on Changes to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

"For some years now, I have expressed my concern that the death penalty is both cruel and unnecessary and I have called for its abolition. So, I welcome the changes to The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty and I am grateful for Pope Francis’ leadership in working for an end to judicial executions worldwide."

Tennessee Catholic Bishops Urge Governor to Halt Future Executions

Three Bishops from Tennessee recently wrote the Governor to seek mercy for the 63 death row inmates of the state. Tennessee's last execution took place in 2009. This letter comes amidst a civil trial over Tennessee's lethal-injection protocol. It also comes just weeks before the scheduled execution of Billy Ray Irick on August 9th.

A letter from Catholic Bishops of Tennessee urging the Governor to halt executions through the end of his term

A Statement by the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey on the 10th Anniversary of the Elimination of the Death Penalty in New Jersey

10 years ago on December 17, 2007, New Jersey was the first state in 40 years to abolish the death penalty. Read the statement below from New Jersey Bishops commemorating this important anniversary.

A Statement by the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey

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