Restorative justice is so drastically different from America's adversarial and retributive approach to justice that it can be difficult to envision another way. It was this dilemma that inspired CMN to develop our small group educational modules. Hear about the impact it had in three pilot groups.

CMN is encouraged as the use and support of the death penalty continues to dwindle. Despite positive trends, there remains an insidious underlying current of attempts to strengthen the death penalty's relevance. This backsliding is a somber reminder of our need to maintain and spread the Church's Pro-Life teaching.

Legislative efforts to end the use of the death penalty in key states have proved active and energized during the first half of 2018.

A Catholic movement for restorative justice is underway.

CMN's Associate Director of Community Engagement, Emma Tacke, reflects on two powerful documentary screenings she attended this month, "Both of these films effectively use the vehicle of personal stories to narrate the moral questions and high-stake consequences the death penalty forces us to consider."

With only a week to go until our long-awaited conference and book launch, Redemption and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Restorative Justice, we wanted to share a bit more about what to expect from this day-long event. Including a preview of three of the panel discussions and ways we are inviting attendees to participate, this is your guide to CMN's upcoming conference!

The Louisiana Interchurch Conference released its stance on the death penalty, calling this act of state sanctioned violence "The most draconian of all punishments which violates the dignity and sanctity of human life and diminishes us all."

Joe Cotton, the Director of Pastoral Care and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Seattle, explains how restorative practices are being used throughout the King County juvenile justice system to transform the healing process for all who have been impacted by crime. The country-wide effort has created a team of people of faith and goodwill who "stand ready to accompany people impacted by crime, allowing them to transform their pain, rather than transmit it."

2018 is off to a promising start for efforts to end the use of the death penalty! Numerous state houses are considering legislation to either repeal or limit the use of the death penalty, and several others are gearing up for active legislative sessions. 

CMN's Director of Restorative Justice reflects on her call to issues of criminal justice and how Catholic Mobilizing Network is seeking to enliven Catholics to become a part of this national conversation on restorative justice. We believe that responses to harm and crime must honor each person’s God-given dignity and offer opportunities for restoration, whenever possible.

Death penalty repeal is on the horizon for Washington state! Since 2014, Washington has been in a Governor imposed moratorium, and there have been calls from the Governor and Attorney General to pass repeal legislation. This month two bills were filed in the House and Senate calling for an end to Washington’s death penalty.

For the first time, CMN has received written correspondence from someone on death row. Clinton Lee Young, whose October 2017 execution was stayed thanks to the efforts of so many CMN supporters and people of goodwill, recently sent CMN a letter thanking us and all people of faith for raising our voices on his behalf, "I am grateful for all those who are Catholic or from other faiths that spoke out for me." 

Catholic Mobilizing Network is pleased to have been invited to be the creative voice for Education for Justice's 2018 Lenten Reflections.

As 2017 comes to an end and we get ready to begin a new year, here is a quick recap of all that happened with the death penalty this last year.

Flordia Cities for Life

Check out the articles below and learn how Florida celebrated this year's annual Cities for Life rally November 30th and spoke out against the death penalty!

Yes, we are all pilgrims on the journey. Any good that we can do for another comes back to us a hundredfold. Jesus is in prison as well as outside the barbed wire fence. Can we answer Jesus’s invitation to visit him inside?  Not only can our ministry help heal our brothers and sisters, many having been victims themselves before becoming “wounded wounders,” but we also are taking another transformative step along our own personal journey.  

Last month I had the honor of spending several days in Houston, Texas with Journey of Hope for a leg of their annual speaking tour. I was able to attend several of the formal speaking presentations at various schools and parishes and had the chance to share living quarters and break bread with this dynamic and eclectic group of people.

Just over a year ago our Sisters were murdered in Durant, Mississippi. Rodney Earl Sanders, a man who had been temporarily living across the street from the two, was arrested and charged with their brutal deaths. No motive has been given to date. Sister Margaret M. Held, a School Sister of St. Francis, and Sister Paula J. Merrill, a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, were members of our religious communities. They believed in the sacredness of life. In the wake of our unspeakable loss, and in light of the five executions scheduled this month, it has become even more important that we renew our call to end the death penalty. 

Participants of PBMR's Forgiveness Circle, including founder Fr. David Kelly

Restorative justice calls us to not only consider how we are personally connected with crime and criminal justice but also with one another. Through encounter, transformation, and amends we may be transformed and honor the human dignity inherent in each one of us.

As we approach October, where Catholics remember our call to be consistently pro-life, CMN also marks the 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10th.

Photo by Scott Langley

During Respect Life Month this year, CMN will be presenting in parishes and at different events throughout Houston, Texas with speakers from our partners at Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing, and the Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has requested the Governor to set an execution date for Arkansas inmate Jack Gordon Greene. Despite Greene displaying clear signs of mental illness and documented brain damage, he has been on death row since 1993 for twenty-four years.

Louisiana currently has the highest imprisonment rate in the country. A series of upcoming legislation seeks to reduce sentencing lengths, support re-entry and re-invest funds to reduce recidivism.

"How does God call me to be in relationship with my family, my community, and society?" This is the question that we must continually ask ourselves. The life of Jesus and our Catholic faith offer beautiful examples and deep wisdom about justice, mercy, and reconciliation.

On June 24th, The Community of Sant'Egidio endorsed CMN's National Catholic Pledget to End the Death Penalty, launching it on the international stage.

The death penalty has been in the news a lot these past weeks! Here is a quick summary of some of the most recent state updates to keep you informed:

In April, legislation was introduced that would repeal the death penalty. Despite the bill passing in the Senate, it ultimately failed to gain enough support in the House and did not pass.

In May, Delaware elected officials began work to reinstate the death penalty. The proposed bill has made it through the House and now waits for Senate leadership to schedule the bill.

On May 25th Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that shortens the state death penalty appeals process. Ironically named the "Fair Justice Act," many worry this bill will likely result in more injustice and further brokenness in Alabama's death penalty.

On June 6th the California Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 66, the voter-passed initiative to speed up executions.

 "Let's take this moment to affirm the God-given dignity of every person and the great need in this culture to seek true restoration. Please join me in signing The Pledge to End the Death Penalty today."

Photo: Scott Langley

"Due to growing public opposition to the death penalty and especially in the aftermath of last month’s executions in Arkansas, CMN has launched this pledge to amplify the Church’s work to end the death penalty."

“Instruments of reconciliation” is a new national campaign to amplify active nonviolence in the U.S. Catholic Church. 

On Monday, February 6, 2017, CMN, in partnership with Washington National Cathedral, Washington National Opera, and Equitas, hosted a powerful Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty.

“After the darkness of Good Friday has come a great light”

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor (Image via YouTube)

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor wrote the following letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson March 1, asking him to halt the executions of eight men scheduled for April.

Being pro-life means acknowledging that every life, whether it be of an unborn child or a person in prison, is worth defending. The fight for life is not an adult fight. It is not a politician’s fight. It is not our parent’s fight. It is our fight.

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith

CMN invites you to join us for a Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 7:00-8:30pm. This special event is in anticipation of the Washington National Opera’s premiere performance of Dead Man Walking Opera from February 25 – March 11, 2017.

For Immediate Release: 
January 26, 2017
Contact: Alexandra Carroll
alexandra@catholicsmobilizing.org

We call on you and all members of the incoming administration to prioritize human life and to promote policies that will enable life to flourish. You can show that you value life by committing to eliminate the poverty and violence that often leads to abortion and mass incarceration; by championing policies that address abortion, abolish the death penalty, confront climate change, promote humane immigration reform, welcome refugees fleeing unspeakable violence and work for a just and sustainable peace.

Laura Schaefer serves as Counsel for the Capital Clemency Resource Initiative Death Penalty Due Process Review Project of the American Bar Association

Although the effort to seek clemency for non-violent offenders is gaining traction in our country, the very notion of clemency is not new. In fact, the origins date back thousands of years, to both ancient Greek and Judeo law.

Catholic Mobilizing Network celebrates Dale Recinella, prison chaplain, scholar, and nationally recognized voice on Catholic opposition to the death penalty. The CMN team interviewed Dale, a regular contributor to CMN’s Mercy and the Dignity of Life podcast, to learn more about his work to build a culture of life in our country. ​​​​​

Sister Marion Defeis served as a chaplain for 23 years at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York before retiring in 2007.

By Dan Peitzmeyer, President, Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona – June 15, 2014 – In 2012, Arizona executed six men, placing the state in a tie for second most executed individuals, behind Texas. Many in Arizona are seemingly unaware that our state is actively executing.