US Catholic publications make call for end to capital punishment

Four national publications

Four US Catholic publications with a broad range of audiences have come together in a joint editorial citing Church leaders in calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States, reports the Catholic News Agency.

“Capital punishment must end,” stated a March 5 editorial by America magazine, the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor.

The death penalty is both “abhorrent and unnecessary,” the publications said, arguing that the practice of capital punishment drains resources in court battles that would be “better deployed in preventing crime in the first place and working toward restorative justice for those who commit less heinous crimes.”

The joint editorial comes a month before the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging lethal injection protocol as cruel and unusual punishment.

Last year saw a string of botched executions: inmates in at least three different States were observed gasping for breath, choking, convulsing, and clenching their fists. In one case, an inmate took nearly two hours to die. In another, an inmate died of a massive heart attack half an hour after the lethal injection.

In their editorial, the Catholic publications highlighted the words of Church leaders in opposition to the death penalty. They pointed to St John Paul II’s 1997 addition to the catechism, which teaches that cases where the death penalty is necessary “are very rare, if not practically non-existent,” as well as Pope Francis’ exhortation last year for Catholics “to fight … for the abolition of the death penalty.”

Photo: A protester holds a sign during a vigil in January 2014 outside St Louis University College Church ahead the execution of Missouri death-row inmate, Herbert Smulls of St Louis. Smulls was executed after midnight on January 29. 

FULL COVERAGE

'Capital punishment must end' – Catholic publications unite in rare joint statement (CNA)

Four national Catholic publications call for ending the death penalty (CNS)

Editorial: Catholic publications call for end to capital punishment (NCR)

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