Our Opposition to the Death Penalty
by Sr. Martha Bertke
(Originally posted in This Good Work)
All life is sacred, and everyone has a right to life, which should be protected and valued at every stage. Catholic social teaching proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Situations which undermine human dignity cry out for change; those actions that promote human life need to be fostered.
The use of the death penalty undermines human dignity, and I am convinced that an end to the use of the death penalty would contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights. As a Sister of the Precious Blood, I oppose the death penalty.
We Sisters of the Precious Blood of Dayton, Ohio, strive to be a life-giving presence in our world. There are many concrete ways we can manifest our dedication to be life-giving. One way is to oppose the death penalty.
Over 20 years ago, in 2002, the Sisters of the Precious Blood took a corporate stance for the abolition of the death penalty, and we continue to advocate against executions. A corporate stance is a deliberate public statement made in the name of a specific group in response to a grave matter of human concern. It reflects a corporate consciousness based on study, reflection and prayer. As women dedicated to Jesus Christ, it flows from our Spirituality of the Precious Blood.
Our corporate stance states: “We, the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, Ohio, publicly condemn the use of capital punishment in the United States and in the world. We believe the use of capital punishment is responding to violence with violence and perpetuated the cycle of violence and revenge. We believe that every life is sacred from conception to its natural death. We urge government leaders to abolish the death penalty. We encourage government leaders to find alternative ways to protect society from dangerous offenders, all the while respecting their dignity as human beings.”
Precious Blood Spirituality contains a message about the bonding of the human community, and it inspires hope. In these times of violence and conflict, through the Precious Blood of Jesus there is hope that reaches beyond apparent hopelessness. No matter how insignificant our actions may seem, when they flow from the Spirit of Christ within us, they can transform the world.