Congregation statement regarding Catechism revision
For many years, we have been strong proponents against the death penalty. We have a history of ministry to persons in prisons, including persons on death row. We have witnessed injustice of racial bias and many other facets that make our current system a broken one. We advocate for a judicial system that builds safe communities and focuses on restoration and rehabilitation for the sake of both victims and perpetrators.
On August 2, Pope Francis ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assert “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” He has asked that the church commit to working toward the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
The Catechism paragraph on capital punishment was updated in 1997 by Saint John Paul II, but the new text, according to Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will follow “in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II in ‘Evangelium Vitae,’ affirms that ending the life of a criminal as punishment for a crime is inadmissible because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.”
As a Congregation, we continue to live by the words of Saint Mother Theodore, who said “Yes above all things: justice, justice. If any preference may be shown let it be to the poorest or most abandoned.”
We applaud the decision to change the text and will continue our mission of being God’s Providence in the world by committing ourselves to works of love, mercy and justice in service among God’s people.