Calling the Dec. 10 federal execution of Brandon Bernard an injustice carried out by the country’s criminal justice system, Sister Helen Prejean urged Americans to speak up to stop a series of upcoming executions in the final weeks of the Trump administration.
Pope Francis tackled several issues in his new encyclical, but the section devoted to ending capital punishment was particularly cheered by U.S. Catholics who oppose the death penalty.
In back-to-back homilies, Pope Francis prayed for prisoners and those facing unjust sentences – something Sister Helen Prejean has spent her life spotlighting, no more so than in light of the COVID-19 pandemic where the prison population is more vulnerable than ever.
Catholic leaders are cheering Colorado’s abolition of the death penalty – a move they say is fueled by new momentum following the revision to the Catholic Catechism to officially ban the practice and one that signals a westward expansion in the U.S. of the death penalty’s repeal.
One decade ago the Catholic Church still allowed for the death penalty under certain conditions, and 35 states across the country permitted the practice. As the Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) celebrates their 10-year anniversary this week, that number is down to 29 states.
Sister Helen Prejean has some advice for Pope Francis, who, six years into his papacy, still encounters resistance to his efforts to shake up the Catholic Church: “Be patient – it takes time!”