BY ISN STAFF | December 17, 2020
A new report launched Wednesday by the Demise Penalty Data Middle paints 2020 as an anomalous 12 months with regard to using capital punishment. Following a 17-year hiatus from federal executions, the Trump administration initiated an unprecedented execution spree in 2020, leading to a better whole variety of executions than all U.S. states mixed.
“The Trump administration’s spate of executions this 12 months is a shameful aberration,” commented Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, government director of Catholic Mobilizing Community. “It goes in opposition to nationwide declines in executions, falling demise sentencing charges, and a long-term drop in public assist for capital punishment. And it clearly violates Church educating.”
With Colorado’s repeal of capital punishment in March of this 12 months, greater than two-thirds of U.S. states (34) have both formally abolished the demise penalty or haven’t carried out an execution in at the least a decade. Based on Gallup, the 43% of people that opposed the demise penalty in 2020 is the very best degree of opposition since 1966.
For many years, the worldwide Catholic Church has referred to as for the abolition of capital punishment, a stance cemented in 2018 with a revision to the Catechism calling the apply “inadmissible.” Pope Francis later leveraged the total weight of the Church’s opposition to the demise penalty in his papal encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, launched in Oct. 2020: “There can be no stepping back from this position.”
Regardless of the federal authorities’s 10-person execution spree, 2020 was the sixth consecutive 12 months with fewer than 30 executions nationwide. Solely Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas performed executions this 12 months; state executions floor to a halt after July 8 resulting from COVID-19.
Conversely, the federal authorities rushed by means of executions in the course of the international pandemic, contributing to an outbreak on the Federal Correctional Advanced in Terre Haute, Indiana that contaminated federal execution groups, legal professionals, and even a spiritual advisor.
In response to the federal authorities’s restart of executions, 1000’s of Catholics throughout the U.S. advocated in opposition and took part in a sequence of Virtual Prayer Vigils lamenting the blatant assaults on human dignity. Greater than 1,000 religion leaders signed a joint statement to President Donald Trump and Lawyer Common William Barr urging them to halt the resumption.
All through 2020, the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops launched frequent statements urging the federal authorities to “stop these executions,” and several other bishop chairmen participated in CMN prayer vigils.
“The end result of the latest presidential election means that the present federal execution spree will quickly, fortunately, come to an finish,” mentioned Vaillancourt Murphy. “President-elect Biden’s platform was clearly against the demise penalty, but it surely stays to be seen how that stance may translate into measurable progress towards abolition.”
Waiting for 2021, Vaillancourt Murphy burdened that Catholics “should stay vigilant.”
“A robust, mobilized, and protracted Catholic voice might be wanted within the coming months to maneuver this nation away from the death-dealing apply of capital punishment.”