The state of Georgia plans to execute Virgil Presnell, Jr. on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 for the murder of eight-year-old Lori Ann Smithy and the rape of her ten-year-old companion.
The Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases because it is "an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." (Catholic Catechism 2267)
As part of the legal strategy enacted by Virgil Presnell’s attorneys, no clemency letters are being solicited at this time. Catholic Mobilizing Network will send an update if anything changes and letters are requested.
In a moment such as this we may feel at a loss of what to do while preparations are made for this unnecessary act of state sanctioned violence. The most important thing we can do right now is pray. Please pray, on behalf of Virgil, that he may come to know God’s peace and ever-present mercy.
You breathe the gift of life into each person, bestowing upon them an undeniable and unchangeable dignity, regardless of our actions.
Give us strength as we commit ourselves to upholding this sacred value of life and continue working for the abolition of the death penalty. We pray for a world that prioritizes healing over retribution, and mercy over punishment.
Ignite in our imaginations more restorative approaches to harm and violence that embody Your vision of right-relationship. For any person who is a victim of, responsible for, or witness to crime, may we be vessels of Your hope, healing, and redemption.
Fill our hearts with the zeal to build a culture of life. Sustain our pursuit of reconciling justice, that we may model your compassion and mercy with our lives.
In these final days, may Virgil know your comforting presence. Cast out all doubt and fear and replace it instead with your truth and love.
In Your name we pray.