Catholic Mobilizing Network rejoices in the good news of the stay of execution for Marcellus Williams. We applaud this decision by Governor Greitens and celebrate this victory for life. In refusing to allow the execution of a likely innocent man, Missouri has demonstrated that life and mercy must take precedence over vengeance.
As Catholics, we are called to live with justice and mercy and uphold the value of all life. Our Catechism states that in a modern society where the death penalty is not needed to maintain public safety, punishment must “correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and [be] more in conformity to the dignity of the human person,” (2267). The death penalty violates both the Church’s pro-life teaching and the teaching on the inherent dignity of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God. Not only does the death penalty target innocent life, but also those with mental illness, intellectual disability and people of color. It also redirects funds that could be used to help victims families harmed by violence heal.