The federal government resumed the practice of capital punishment after a 17-year hiatus in July 2020. Thirteen people were executed under the Trump administration over the span of seven months.

The resumption of executions is notably out of step with the progress much of the United States has made toward abolishing capital punishment. Ten states have abolished the death penalty since the federal government's last executions in 2003, and public support for the practice is at a historic low.

The Jan. 2020 inauguration of President Joe Biden marked the first time in U.S. history that a presidential administration was openly opposed to capital punishment. President Biden, a Catholic, spoke publicly in favor of death penalty abolition throughout his campaign and loudly condemned the Trump administration's hasty and unnecessary backslide into executions. 

Today, CMN encourages Catholics and all people of goodwill to urge President Biden to make good on his anti-death penalty promises and honor the sanctity of human life. Learn how you can take action below.



Hear From Church Leaders

Those in Catholic leadership loudly condemned the Trump administration's backslide into federal executions. Learn more below.

Public Statements

Jul. 2019 | USCCB Committee Chairman Issues Statement Condemning Resumption of Federal Executions
Oct. 2019 | Indiana Bishops Call for Renewed Moratorium on Federal Executions
Jun. 2020 | Archbishop Charles C. Thompson concerned about upcoming federal executions in Indiana
Jun. 2020 | Bishop Chairman Calls on Administration to Reverse Course on Federal Execution
Jul. 2020 | Iowa bishops ask President Trump for clemency in Honken death penalty case
Aug. 2020 | U.S. Bishop Chairmen Lament Additional Federal Executions
Sept. 2020 | Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen on Federal Executions Scheduled This Week
Nov. 2020 | U.S. Bishop Chairmen Renew Call to Stop Executions
Dec. 2020 | Recalling the Meaning of Advent, U.S. Bishop Chairmen Call for End to Executions
Dec. 2020 | Statement from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson calls again for end to federal executions in Indiana
Dec. 2020 | Maryland Bishops: Stop Federal Execution


Oct. 2019 | Bishops Roundtable on the Death Penalty
Aug. 2020 Reflection from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann on Federal Executions

In the Media

Dec. 2019 | "We've Been Bishops in 3 Death Penalty States. It's Time to Stop Federal Executions."
Jul. 2020 | Cardinal Tobin asks Trump to grant clemency to federal death-row inmate
Dec. 2020 | Federal Executions Pit The Trump Administration Against The Catholic Church
Dec. 2020 | US Federal Executions: Archbishop Paul Coakley Shares his Response


Write a Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (LTEs) are critical tools for advocacy, especially when it comes to ending the death penalty. Since the announcement to restart federal executions, the need for high-impact LTEs has become even more urgent. Get started crafting your own letter to the editor with the help of CMN's tools and resources:

Speak Out on Social Media

Amplify the call to #StopFederalExecutions and say #NoFedExecution on social media. Download and share these attention-grabbing graphics, or scroll down to use CMN's sample tweets to make your voice heard.



Sample Tweets 

Pro-life values are meaningless if they're inconsistent. The federal government needs to act now to #StopFederalExecutions and start honoring the God-given dignity of all life. Learn more: #ProLife #Catholic #HopeOverDeath #NoFedExecution
Click to Tweet

We cannot build a culture of life in a nation that still puts people to death. That's why the federal government needs to act NOW to #StopFederalExecutions. Learn more: #ProLife #Catholic #HopeOverDeath #NoFedExecution
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Hold a Prayer Vigil

Intended for use in the days and hours surrounding an execution, CMN's Prayer Vigil for an Execution can be used in groups of various sizes to allow participants to reflect on the themes of forgiveness and mercy in the face of the death penalty.

Download the Prayer Vigil