The following, prepared by Andrew Rivas, Director of the Office of the Vicar for Clergy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, are some reflections on the death penalty and its history that might be useful in talks, homilies and presentations:
Since 1980 the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States have called for an end to the use of the death penalty in our country. Because of their loving and persistent pastoral guidance on this important life issue, states such as New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois have abolished its practice. In April of 2012, Connecticut abolished its practice for any future crimes bringing the total to 17 states that have removed capital punishment from local statutes. Other states such as Nebraska, Kansas and California are poised to take the final step away from fighting violence with violence. Our Bishops understand that such a social strategy does not achieve a common good, nor does it allow us to foster a respect of life that moves beyond vengeance.