By: Emma Tacke
"The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that 'the death penalty is inadmissible' [...] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide." (CCC 2267)
Yes, 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?
CMN is here to help answer that question. As it turns out, there are many ways for you to help the Church build a culture of life. Here are 10 ways to work for abolition in your community:
- Take the Pledge
Since 2017, more than 20,000 Catholics and people of goodwill have added their names to the National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty. Taking the Pledge is an important (and easy!) way for you to amplify our Church’s call to uphold a culture of life.
(After you've signed, remember to share about the Pledge using the hashtag, #Pledge4Mercy.)
- Sign up for Mercy in Action
CMN’s Mercy in Action Project helps you promote clemency for those on death row who are nearing execution. Participants receive monthly execution alerts, advocacy tools, and resources for prayer. Join us as we save lives on death row!
- Watch and share CMN's new video
CMN's new, two-minute video, "Inadmissible: The Church's Call for an End to the Death Penalty" further clarifies the August 2018 Catechetical revision on capital punishment. Spread the word by sharing the video on Facebook and Twitter using our hashtag, #HopeOverDeath.
- Download and share CMN's new prayer card
CMN's "God of Mercy" prayer serves to remind us of the unconditional opportunity for redemption that, as God's children, we all share. Pray it alone or with others in community, asking God to "sustain our pursuit of reconciling justice, that we may model Christ's compassion and mercy with our lives."
- Write a letter to the editor (LTE)
Make your voice heard! Follow CMN's step-by-step guide to crafting an LTE for your local newspaper, including example letters from other concerned citizens like you.
(Make sure to let CMN know if your LTE gets published!)
- Use the Respect Life Month Toolkit
October is Respect Life Month and the perfect opportunity to get your parish talking about the death penalty as an important pro-life issue. CMN's toolkit will give you all the resources your community needs to educate, advocate, and pray for life this October.
- Ask your parish to include death penalty abolition in its prayers of the faithful
Ask your pastor to set aside one Sunday during Respect Life Month to pray as a community for an end to capital punishment and for all those currently on death row.
- Get involved with your state's abolition efforts
Do you live in a state that still has the death penalty on the books? Find out what actions your local anti-death penalty coalition is taking and learn more about how you can get involved.
- Hold a vigil for an execution
Prayer vigils offer a meaningful way to lift up those impacted by all forms of violence. CMN's Prayer Vigil for an Execution allows participants to reflect on themes of forgiveness and mercy and deepen one's own commitment to our Church's call to abolish capital punishment.
- Become a pen pal to someone on death row
God made humans to be wired for personal connection, and incarcerated individuals need this now more than ever. People on death row usually spend up to 23 hours per day confined in a small cell -- something as simple as a letter from you can offer them some much-needed comfort.
Every time you advocate for the lives of people on death row, you are answering our Church's call. Thank you for helping CMN pave a path forward for Catholics to "work with determination" for an end to the death penalty.
P.S. Do you have an action idea that's not on this list? Email CMN and let us know about it!