Tags: Religion | Supreme Court | catholic reporter | death penalty | supreme court | oklahoma

Catholic Journals Unite in Calling for End to Death Penalty

By    |   Friday, 06 March 2015 01:59 PM

Putting aside their differences, a group of Catholic journals have all joined together in a single editorial to call for an end to the death penalty.

"We, the editors of four Catholic journals — America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor — urge the readers of our diverse publications and the whole U.S. Catholic community and all people of faith to stand with us and say, 'Capital punishment must end,'" the editors wrote in the National Catholic Reporter on Thursday.

The group wrote the editorial in anticipation of the death penalty case currently before the Supreme Court. The Oklahoma case challenges lethal injections as cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in April.

The case was filed by four Oklahoma death row inmates following a botched execution by lethal injection, in which a man writhed in pain for 43 minutes before finally dying of a heart attack in April 2014.

"The court will likely issue a ruling by June," the four editors wrote. "Our hope is that it will hasten the end of the death penalty in the United States."

According to the Catholic editors, "the Catholic church in this country has fought against the death penalty for decades."

"Pope St. John Paul II amended the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church to include a de facto prohibition against capital punishment," they said. "Pope Francis called on all Catholics 'to fight ... for the abolition of the death penalty.'"

"The practice is abhorrent and unnecessary," they argue. "It is also insanely expensive as court battles soak up resources better deployed in preventing crime in the first place and working toward restorative justice for those who commit less heinous crimes."

The editors cite Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has argued that "when considering the death penalty, we cannot forget that it is we, acting through our government, who are the moral agents in an execution."

The decision of the Supreme Court to take up the death penalty case was also praised by Miami's Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who is also the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

"The use of the death penalty devalues human life and diminishes respect for human dignity. We bishops continue to say, we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing," Archbishop Wenski wrote. 

"We join our bishops in hoping the court will reach the conclusion that it is time for our nation to embody its commitment to the right to life by abolishing the death penalty once and for all," the editors concluded.

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Putting aside their differences, a group of Catholic journals have joined together in a single editorial to call for an end to the death penalty.
catholic reporter, death penalty, supreme court, oklahoma
Friday, 06 March 2015 01:59 PM
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