Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 17 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Rasso of Grafrath
home iconNews
line break icon

As U.S. courts resume federal death penalty, prominent Catholics decry the practice

© Public Domain

J-P Mauro - published on 07/29/19 - updated on 07/29/19

In 2015, Pope Francis called for the world to abolish the practice of capital punishment.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it would be reinstating the federal death penalty and will begin carrying out such sentences again in 2019. From December to January there will be five federal executions, which will be the first executions of federal inmates since 2003.

Catholic News Service reports, in a statement explaining the decision, Attorney General William Barr, said:

“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

Currently, there are 62 inmates on federal death row including Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon Bomber, and Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooter.

The announcement has drawn criticism from prominent Catholic leaders, who are calling for the abolition of the death penalty. Shortly after the Justice Department’s announcement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of the USCCB released a statement citing Pope Francis’s 2015 call to do away with capital punishment.

“In light of these long held and strongly maintained positions, I am deeply concerned by the announcement by the United States Justice Department that it will once again turn, after many years, to the death penalty as a form of punishment, and urge instead that these federal officials be moved by God’s love, which is stronger than death, and abandon the announced plans for executions.”

On Twitter, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich decried the decision as, “gravely injurious to the common good, as it effaces the God-given dignity of all human beings, even those who have committed terrible crimes.” Cupich went on to remark that just last year Pope Francis revised the Catechism to consider capital punishment as, “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

The Sisters of Mercy said the decision was “tremendously disappointing” and vowed to continue to instruct on the Catholic teaching which calls for the protection of the dignity of all human life, in the hopes that their work may help see the death penalty abolished.

Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, Executive Director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, noted that a 2018 survey found less than half of Americans support the death penalty and 25 states have in some way distanced themselves from the practice. She suggested that the Justice Department take current American values into consideration, when making such important decisions.

Tags:
CatholicSociety
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ascension AND ASSUMPTION
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
2
SAINT MATTHIAS
Philip Kosloski
Why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle
3
BENOIT JOSEPH LABRE
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
4
KNEELING
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Divine Praises
5
Philip Kosloski
What was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.