During his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis included a call for the global abolition of the death penalty in his September 24th address to the U. S. Congress. He also reiterated his support for the U. S. Catholic Bishops’ call for abolition in this country. While the concern for executing the innocent is important in our discussion of the death penalty in this nation, it is also important to remember that this is NOT an appropriate penalty even for the guilty and even if we had a perfect system of justice. The fact is we don’t and can’t.
When even victim family members are raising money in Kentucky to abolish the death penalty, it is time for lawmakers to pay attention and heed all these voices that are crying out for true justice: holding murderers accountable, but not risking the execution of the innocent, putting victim families through even more pain and wasting tax dollars on a system that is arbitrary and discriminatory.