Catholic leaders in the United States are cheering Colorado’s abolition of the death penalty – a move they say is fuelled by new momentum following the revision to the Catholic Catechism to officially ban the practice. Source: Crux.
By Christopher White, Crux
Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on Monday, while also commuting the sentences of three death row inmates, as the state now becomes the 22nd in the country to repeal the practice.
“By outlawing the death penalty, Colorado has taken a critical step toward respecting the dignity of human life,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network in a statement.
“Catholic Mobilizing Network believes that no matter the harm one has caused or suffered, each person ought to be treated with dignity and have the opportunity for redemption and healing,” she continued. “Today, Colorado makes that possible.”
Sr Helen Prejean, a death penalty abolitionist who has worked with death row inmates for decades, praised the decision as triumph of collaboration between faith communities and other civil society groups.
“Alleluia! I’m celebrating the citizen activists of Colorado who, with stellar collaboration from the legal, law enforcement, education, and faith communities, steadily changed hearts and minds to arrive at this life-affirming day,” she wrote on social media.
The state is the third in the US to end capital punishment since Pope Francis officially changed the Catholic Catechism in 2018 to declare the death penalty to be “inadmissible” in all cases.
Last June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to revise the US Catechism as a follow-up to Pope Francis’ August 2018 decision to update the global Catechism of the Catholic Church.
During his September 2015 address to a joint session of the US Congress, Francis applauded the US bishops for their efforts to abolish the death penalty.
“Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation,” he said at the time.