Pope Francis and the Death Penalty
On August 2nd Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization in the US working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, celebrated the 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).
“This is a capstone teaching moment for the Catholic Church. For people in the pews, it is a challenge to actively build a culture of life by abolishing the death penalty, especially in the 31 states that still have it on the books in this country,” stated Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of CMN.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in 2005, which ultimately led to the formation of Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN). In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI renewed Pope John Paul II’s appeal to end the death penalty, and in his historic speech before the US Congress in September of 2015, Pope Francis called for a global abolition of capital punishment.
In the backdrop of this revision of the Catholic Catechism, over 2800 people sit on death row in the United States. There have been fourteen executions so far this year, and Vaillancourt Murphy pointed out that barely a month goes by without an execution. She added, “These upcoming executions are a stark reminder that the death penalty is active in the United States, and it violates our commitment to the dignity of all life. The death penalty is a failed practice that perpetuates the cycle of violence and disproportionately targets marginalized populations, especially people of color, those living in poverty, and people suffering with mental illness.”
Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director CMNtalked to Marie Stuart about this revision in the Catechism and what it means in practical terms.