On Sept. 23, in the hours between green-lighting two federal executions, Attorney General William Barr, a Catholic, received an award from an independent entity known as the “National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.” The Christifideles Laici award — named after St. John Paul II’s postsynodal exhortation — is said to honor those who “serve the Church so well.”
As Catholics, we are called to live with justice and mercy and uphold the value of all life. Our Catechism states that the death penalty is "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the 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.