Death Penalty

 Adrian Dominican Sisters

We reverence the life and dignity of every human person and oppose the death penalty, urging support and compassion for the victims of violence and restorative justice for the offenders.

Congregation of Notre Dame

Oppose the Death Penalty

We the Sisters and Associates of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Blessed Sacrament Province, condemn the use of the death penalty as a means of punishment for any crime in the United States or anywhere else in the world. We affirm the sacredness of the life of each person created by God. We hear the victims of violent crime calling for our empathy and support. At the same time, we believe that death as a penalty for these crimes is in opposition to the mandate of Jesus to love our enemy. In this spirit, we resolve to educate ourselves and others to uphold the value of life by opposing the death penalty and by supporting life for the condemned criminal.

Members of the delegate Chapter 1994-96 Blessed Sacrament Province

Felician Sisters of North America

Death Penalty Statement (2010)

As followers of the nonviolent Jesus and of Saint Francis of Assisi who saw the face of Christ in everyone he encountered, the Felician Sisters of North America strongly support the abolition of the death penalty. We believe that the death penalty embodies the culture of violence and death in the United States today. Studies have proven that the death penalty does not deter crime and discriminates among races and against the economically poor and uneducated. Moreover, evidence supports that innocent people have been wrongfully executed. We prayerfully stand with the families and loved ones of victims, promote action to address the roots of violent behavior, and endorse alternatives to the death penalty. We look forward to the day when the human dignity of each person is observed in the dispensing of justice and punishment.

Religious of the Sacred Heart–US Province

We, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of the United States Province, committed to the mission of incarnating God’s love, join all people of conscience throughout the world, religious congregations of women and men, the Bishops of the U.S., and Pope John Paul II, to declare our opposition to the use of the death penalty.

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Death Penalty Statement (2001)

“We, the Sisters of Charity, of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Dubuque, Iowa, oppose the death penalty. As women religious who are “being freed and helping others enjoy freedom in God’s steadfast love,” we believe that all life is sacred. We stand in opposition to the devaluation of human life by capital punishment and the use of violence to exact retribution from the perpetrators of violent acts.

“We oppose the state-sanctioned executions of our brothers and sisters done in our name and reject the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to violence. We assert that violence only continues the cycle of violence and that it is through love that we can end violence.

“We embrace our sisters and brothers who have experienced loss of family members or friends in violent crimes and pray for healing in their suffering.

“We encourage one another as members of the BVM Congregation to work of the abolition of the death penalty through these or other means.

  • By educating ourselves through articles in BVM publications and other resources such as PAX Christi publications and the U.S. Bishops’ Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty and Responsibility, Rehabilitation, Restoration;
  • By advocating the use of resources for rehabilitation rather than execution;
  • By encouraging the re-establishment of right relationship between perpetrator and victim through restorative justice programs;
  • By attending prayer vigils in opposition to the death penalty;

By writing letters, visiting, or calling elected officials about abolishing the death penalty.”

Sisters of Providence of Mother Joseph Province

Provincial Chapter – August 1, 2013

Resolution 2013 – 01:

Whereas, we are called to build a “culture of life” which cannot be achieved if we condone a “culture of violence”; and

Whereas, the imposition of the death penalty deprives human beings of their God-given dignity and denies the sacredness of life; and

Whereas, the death penalty has not been proven to be an effective crime deterrent; and

Whereas, the death penalty is an irreversible punishment, has been applied in a discriminatory manner and, in some cases, innocent persons have been executed; and

Whereas, the cost of the death penalty is necessarily prohibitive in contrast to the cost of life in prison; and

Whereas, while the death penalty may provide a sense of justice for some families of victims, we believe that punishment for crime should allow capital offenders the opportunity for reform and repentance for their actions;

Be it resolved the Sisters of Providence of Mother Joseph Province support the end of the death penalty, and advocate for a safe and just sentence for capital offenders; and

Be it further resolved the Sisters of Providence of Mother Joseph Province encourage support of programs that assist families of victims and families of the convicted in finding spiritual, physical and emotional healing and forgiveness for the offender.

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Los Angeles Province

We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in the Los Angeles Province, voice a strong opposition to the death penalty. We commit ourselves to work for its abolition as a matter of conscience, morality and respect of the dignity of every human life. Therefore, we believe that neither we, not the state in our name, has the right to take human life. Violence is not the answer to the problem of violence. While decrying the taking of life with the death penalty, we concurrently decry the loss of innocent life, mourn with, and reach out to the families of victims of violent crime.

Together we call upon our elected leaders to put an end to state-sanctioned killing. Furthermore, we call upon our sisters and brothers in our parishes, ministries and neighborhoods to join us in working toward the abolition of the death penalty. We invite all people of good will to choose moral courage over fear and to search for creative solutions to questions of crime and punishment.

We believe that together we can create truly just solutions that respect the human dignity of each and every member of society.

In making this statement:

  • We profess to always move towards a love of neighbor without distinction and to work for unity of neighbor with neighbor.
  • We grieve and reach out to victims of violent crime and their families.
  • We acknowledge the natural fear created by the violent atmosphere in many of our communities and neighborhoods.
  • We affirm that the people in our communities are entitled to protection from those who would do no harm.
  • We acknowledge that violent actions have consequences, and that offenders should be held accountable.
  • We affirm that within our system of justice there is need for restitution to victims and their loved ones and rehabilitation of the offender
  • We believe that “legal” murder does not teach that killing is wrong. The state should not commit the very act which it condemns.
  • We believe that every execution sends out a negative message about the value of human life and numbs society further to the realities of hatred and violence—a numbness that distracts from the active pursuit of effective solutions.

December 10, 1998