Sister Mary Elizabeth Killoran standing in front of Howard R. Young Prison.
We, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, following in the footprints of the nonviolent Jesus and the peacemaking tradition of Francis of Assisi, join Pope John Paul II, the Catholic bishops, and many others in calling for an end to the death penalty.
–Corporate Stand, October 1999
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia voted to take a corporate stand against the death penalty, a stand firmly grounded in Catholic social teaching and in their Franciscan heritage and tradition. In the past the position of the Catholic Church on capital punishment was more ambiguous than on other life issues. Since 1980, however, the U.S. bishops have spoken out as individuals and as a body against state-sanctioned killing. The “consistent ethic of life” articulated by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1989 provided a framework for all issues involving defense of human life and rejection of violence. Perhaps no Church leader has spoken with greater clarity against the death penalty than Pope John Paul II. His appeal for the life of convicted murderer Darrell Mease in January 1999, made media headlines and spurred the U.S. bishops to issue an administrative statement, “A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty.” The pope’s call also motivated Equal Justice USA to undertake the “Moratorium Now!” Campaign, which includes a “Model Catholic Resolution” signed, as of July 12, 1999, by more than 500 groups, including the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis. Read more.
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Catholics Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty
Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants – Check out the “How You Can Help” section.
Death Penalty Information Center – Watch a great video.
Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty
Equal Justice USA
The Sentencing Project
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
International Centre for Restorative Justice
International Institute for Restorative Practices
Sister Helen Prejean’s Website
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Learn more about other areas in which we’re working for change.