As October kicked-off with Respect Life Sunday on October 3rd, we are reminded that Jesus’ ministry was to all the living, but especially the poor, sick, and marginalized.
As Catholics, part of our care for life involves our opposition to the death penalty.
October 8th to the 17th has been designated Death Penalty Abolition Week.
Here is a request from the Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati:
“We're asking all parishes and Catholic communities to join people of faith across Ohio to stand in solidarity for abolition of the death penalty. Recognizing the injustices in our criminal justice system, we are unwilling to participate in the cruel and inhumane practice of sentencing our fellow neighbors to death. We join together across religious traditions calling in one voice for the abolition of the death penalty.”
Pope Francis stated unequivocally in 2018, the death penalty is now “inadmissible.” He ordered a change to that effect in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and said that Catholics must work for its abolition. In his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis grounded his opposition to capital punishment not only in mercy but also in opposition to revenge, stating: “Fear and resentment can easily lead to viewing punishment in a vindictive and even cruel way, rather than as part of a process of healing and reintegration into society.”
Here are some facts about the death penalty:
- Nationally, since 1973, more than 185 death row inmates have been exonerated of all charges and released.
- Ohio is home to 11 death row exonerees who collectively spent 216 years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. For every five people Ohio has executed, one has been exonerated from death row.
- The death penalty appears to be applied unevenly based on race and geography. Ohio’s death penalty system is continually used in just ten of 88 counties. As of Fall 2020, more than half (56%) of Ohio’s death row comprise of people of color, even though they make up a very small fraction (15%) of Ohio’s population.
October 9th is an Archdiocesan-wide service day titled “Let Your Service Shine.”
Service opportunity for the entire family!
In order to celebrate 200 years of faith, the women’s and men’s religious communities are coming together to recall their ministry in the Archdiocese with a day of service. There are a number of things you could do such as choosing a ready-made project. For example, donate to a Catholic Charities Food Pantry or St. Leo’s Food Pantry; partner with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) by writing letters for the World Day against the Death Penalty (which is October 10) or partner with St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati or with another organization. Or, you could create your own project. On your service day, take photos and then send them to Cerb@sistersofmercy.org along with specifying the number of volunteers who participated in your project and a simple name or description in each photo.
For more info, go to www.cincy200.com/serviceday.
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