New Report Confirms Death Penalty is Dying, Energizing its Catholic Opponents

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2018 

For More Information
Katlyn Toelle
(202) 541-5290

New Report Confirms Death Penalty is Dying, Energizing its Catholic Opponents

Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, is invigorated by the 2018 Year End Report released today by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). 

The report confirms that use of the death penalty remains at generational lows, with a total of 25 executions and 42 death sentences expected by the end of the year. More than half of these executions took place in Texas alone.

“The DPIC report punctuates the many ways in which the death penalty continues to fall out of favor with the American public,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of CMN. 

Due to a growing awareness of the brokenness and barbarity of capital punishment, 2018 held several significant milestones for the abolition movement. One such milestone took place on October 11, when Washington became the 20th state to abolish capital punishment after its State Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional on grounds of arbitrariness and racial bias.

On August 2, Catholics and people of goodwill were emboldened in their abolition efforts after the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith revised official Catholic teaching to declare the death penalty “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” (CCC 2267)

In a reaffirmation of the August revision, just yesterday Pope Francis, speaking at Telepace, an Italian Catholic television and radio station, encouraged an audience of journalists to “be close to the imprisoned, to those condemned to death,” and remarked, “it is awful that there is still the death penalty.”

Increasingly, the nation’s courts, lawmakers, and voters recognize the grossly disproportionate population of condemned inmates who exhibit serious mental illness, brain damage, intellectual impairment, or chronic abuse and trauma. People living in poverty and minority populations, too, are vastly overrepresented on death row.

“As Catholics, we believe in the dignity of each human person, no matter the harm one has caused or suffered,” stated Vaillancourt Murphy. “While holding individuals accountable for their actions, our faith compels us to move away from harsh punishment and to embrace approaches that restore people and relationships.”


CMN is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices. 
CMN works in close collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and lives the Spirit of Unity of its sponsor, the Congregation of St. Joseph.