BY ISN STAFF | July 25, 2019
Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), the national Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice, strongly condemns Thursday’s announcement by the Department of Justice to resume the practice of capital punishment at the federal level.
“The United States’ death penalty system is tragically flawed. Resuming federal executions—especially by an administration that identifies itself as ‘pro-life’—is wrong-headed and unconscionable,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of CMN.
In the 16 years since the federal government last conducted an execution, the American public has changed its collective thinking on the death penalty. As of October 2018, a record low of 49% of Americans believe the punishment is applied fairly, a result of mounting evidence of racial bias, arbitrariness, innocence, and other factors.
Twenty-five states have distanced themselves from the death penalty in some formal capacity, the two most recent being the state of California which fell under a governor-imposed execution ban in March, followed by New Hampshire which repealed the practice by legislative override in May.
The Catholic Church’s teaching is very clear on capital punishment: the death penalty is “inadmissible” in all cases “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” (CCC 2267)
“The actions of the Federal government are meant to represent the values of the American people—values of equality, fairness, and for Catholics, above all, a belief in the sanctity of human life,” stated Vaillancourt Murphy. “The resumption of executions at the federal level flies in the face of these values, and promotes a culture of death where we so desperately need a culture of life.”