taking the words of Jesus seriously

Pope Francis has designated the month of September to address the death penalty and call for its abolition worldwide. In his newest appeal, the Pope invites us to pray “that the death penalty, which attacks the dignity of the human person, may be legally abolished in every country.”

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network in collaboration with Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) has released this two-minute video of Pope Francis. Check it out below.

At the heart of Pope Francis’ message is a call to mercy. Pope Francis uses the analogy of a “window of hope” which no person should ever be denied. It is a core belief of the Church that each person is offered the opportunity to seek forgiveness and redemption; yet the death penalty takes this away. 

In response to Pope Francis’ call, Catholic Mobilizing Network, close friends and partners of Red Letter Christians, has launched the Mobilize Mercy Campaign, to spread this call to mercy far and wide.

“Pope Francis’ prayer intention reminds us that capital punishment continues cycles of harm and violence and perpetuates a throwaway culture. The tragic myth of the death penalty is that it kills the “worst of the worst,” but the truth is it actually targets society’s most vulnerable people: those with mental illness, those with inadequate legal representation, and people living in poverty or marginalized populations,” says Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network. 

“Ending the death penalty is within reach, and it’s one clear way we can build a culture of life. Every person, no matter the harm they may have caused or suffered, has God-given dignity and deserves an opportunity for restoration,” Murphy adds. “This month, may we, the Body of Christ, answer the Holy Father’s call to unite ourselves in prayer and prophetic action — not only for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide, but for the advancement of forms of justice that enable healing and transformation.” 

We want to invite everyone to sign the Pledge to Pray with Pope Francis throughout the month of September. Together, let us answer the call to uphold the dignity of all, regardless of the harm they have suffered or caused.

Advocates can also engage in amplifying the Pope’s message and advocating for death penalty abolition throughout September and beyond by utilizing CMN’s Mobilize Mercy Toolkit. Resources include backgrounders, infographics, and a social media toolkit, which includes an outline of potential posts with recommended graphics, captions, hashtags, and more. These resources are intended to make sharing this campaign to mobilize mercy easy and accessible to all.

Pope Francis’ call to action comes at a providential time here in the U.S. As Oklahoma begins its execution spree of 25 individuals, and states like Alabama and Texas continue to deal out death sentences, our prayer and action is needed. 

About The Author


Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices. Through education, advocacy, and prayer, and based on the Gospel value that every human is created in the image and likeness of God, CMN expresses the fundamental belief that all those who have caused or been impacted by crime should be treated with dignity. CMN works in close collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is a founding member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Mission Network.

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