On October 11th, just one day after the 2018 World Day Against the Death Penalty, Catholic Mobilizing Network rejoiced at the announcement that Washington's State Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. Will this spur action in other states that still have the death penalty?
By: Emma Tacke
Catholic Mobilizing Network is gearing up for Respect Life Month! Every October, CMN works with our brothers and sisters in the pews as they raise awareness in their communities about the death penalty as a critical pro-life issue.
As stated in the Catechism, we who are members of the Body of Christ are called to "work with determination" for an end to capital punishment. It's an bold and empowering commissioning—but where do we begin? What does "working with determination" look like in practical terms?
With his historic revision to the Catechism, Pope Francis gave us a new platform from which to advocate for an end to the death penalty. Now the only question is: how do we use it?
Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, celebrates today’s revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that, in all cases, the death penalty is “inadmissible” (Revised Catechism of the Catholic Church 2267).
It never fails that over the past twenty-five years since its beginning, Starvin’ for Justice falls on some of the hottest days of the summer. This year was no exception. Despite the unrelenting sun and little shade, activists from across the country withstood the heat outside the Supreme Court to gather petition signatures, hand out pamphlets, and hold banners all in the name of ending the death penalty. Catholic Mobilizing Network was proud to be there with them.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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."
"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."
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.