Catholic Mobilizing Network Encouraged by U.S. Catholics Including Death Penalty in Respect Life Month Conversations

For Immediate Release
October 1, 2018

For more information:
Katlyn Toelle
(202) 541-5290

Catholic Mobilizing Network Encouraged by U.S. Catholics Including Death Penalty in Respect Life Month Conversations

Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, joins the U.S. Catholic Church in its annual observance of Respect Life Month this October. 

“Respect Life Month is a time for Catholics to raise their collective voice for the dignity of all human life,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of CMN.  “Following the Catholic Church’s August revision to the Catechism, people in the pews are eager to include capital punishment in their pro-life conversations, both in the month of October and beyond.”

The recent revision to the Catechism calls the death penalty “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and has resulted in a surge in U.S. Catholic interest around the issue. In response, CMN launched its #HopeOverDeath Campaign to offer new tools for death penalty education, advocacy, and prayer.

Fr. Keith LaBove, pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lafayette, Louisiana hopes to use Respect Life Month as an opportunity to educate his parishioners about what it means to be unequivocally pro-life.

“I have long believed that ‘Respect Life’ simply has to mean ‘respect for every life,’” Fr. LaBove said. “The devil is in the exceptions. If we can make an exception over a criminal act, or the color of one’s skin, or one’s country of origin, or the fact of being sick or elderly, thus allowing unnecessary killing, then why can’t someone else make an exception regarding the unborn child?”

In Texas, a state which saw two back-to-back executions last week and has two more scheduled for this month, Catholics are ready to engage in conversation around the collateral damage of capital punishment.

“There is an increased interest in learning more about the Church’s teaching on this topic,” said Becky Visosky, Pro-Life Director for the Diocese of Dallas.

The diocese will host a Respect Life Sunday Pro-Life Mass on October 6th that includes a focus on capital punishment, as well as a “Dialogue on the Death Penalty” event on Tuesday, October 16th. Visosky is encouraged by the questions she has received from Catholics asking how to get more involved.

“First, we would advise [Catholics] to take up the issue in prayer,” Visosky said. “Second, open their hearts to learn more about the issue of the death penalty – from the Church’s teachings to the practical concerns about its application – so they can become informed advocates in their own communities; and third, reach out to [their] local respect life ministry or death penalty advocacy group and ask how [they] can help.”

CMN is eager to support these efforts to proclaim the Church’s new teaching on capital punishment.

“The clarified Catechism language says the Church ‘works with determination for [death penalty] abolition worldwide,’” stated Vaillancourt Murphy. “One powerful way for Catholics to proclaim that all life is sacred is to advocate for an end to the death penalty in state houses and with governors. These acts of faith hold real potential to move the U.S. ever closer to the goal of abolishing capital punishment once and for all.” 


Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that works in close collaboration with United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, proclaims the Church’s pro-life teaching and prepares Catholics for informed involvement in the public debate to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice.