Death Penalty and Catholic Social Teaching
Pope Francis reminds us that the commandment “thou shall not kill” pertains to the innocent as well as the guilty, in order to respect the sacredness and human dignity of all people. As a society, we should strive towards restorative justice that contributes to the healing of the guilty, victims’ families and society to strengthen the common good and stop perpetuating the culture of death. The California Catholic Conference of Bishops are supporting Prop 62 to end the use of the death penalty and opposing Prop 66 which would speed up executions. For information and more on Catholic teaching, visit www.cacatholic.org.
Bishops Have Long Called for Ending the Use of the Death Penalty
“We should resist policies that simply call for more prisons, harsher sentences, and increased reliance on the death penalty,” said the U.S. Bishops in 2000. “Rather, we should promote policies that put more resources into restoration, education, and substance-abuse treatment programs.” During this Year of Mercy, Californians have a chance to end the death in our state by approving Prop 62 and rejecting Prop 66. For more information, visit www.cacatholic.org.
Mercy and the Death Penalty
As the issue of the death penalty comes up this election, it is important to remain prayerful and conscious of God’s mercy in our own lives and how that translates to others. In his message to a world conference against the death penalty earlier this year, Pope Francis lamented that capital punishment “contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice." As Catholics, we should look to extend to others the loving hands of mercy and redemption that God has so lovingly extended to us. Explore the church’s teaching on the death penalty and why the California Bishops are urging support for Prop 62 at www.cacatholic.org.
Pro-Life Positions and the Death Penalty
According to Pope John Paul II, “New evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.” (Mass, St. Louis, MO., 1-27-99.) The same protection for the sanctity of human life talked about so often with abortion extends to the death penalty. All souls, innocent or flawed, have intrinsic value, as we are all created in God’s likeness and are precious in the eyes of our Lord. The death penalty – which will be repealed by Prop 62 – destroys the opportunity for redemption and the ability of God’s mercy to work in the lives of those affected. For more on forgiveness and the sanctity of all life, visit www.cacatholic.org.