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Prayer for the World October 18, 2023

Prayer for the World, October 18, 2023

Opposition to the Death Penalty

Introduction

October 10 marked the World Day Against the Death Penalty, a significant occasion established in 2003 to rally global condemnation against capital punishment. Despite the global consensus against the death penalty, with over 70% of nations abolishing it either in law or practice, the United States stands as a stark outlier. It remains the only developed country in the Western Hemisphere that continues to execute its own citizens, perpetuating a profoundly flawed notion of "justice." #WorldDayAgainsttheDeathPenalty

You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust. Expand and deepen our hearts so that we may love as You love… Sr. Helen Prejean

Song: “O Lord Hear My Prayer,” Taize’ Chant: Chant for Peace and Serenity


Reading

The World Day Against the Death Penalty unifies the global abolitionist movement and mobilizes civil society, political leaders, lawyers, public opinion and more to support the call for universal abolition of capital punishment. A person who is given a death sentence suffers in long and in varied ways: physical or psychological torture has been applied in many cases during questioning to force confessions to capital crimes; harsh death row conditions contribute to the long-term physical and psychological decline of a person’s health; mental anguish of anticipating execution; methods of execution that cause exceptional pain, and the suffering experienced by family members and those with a close relationship with the executed person. Discriminations based on sex, gender, poverty, age, sexual orientation, religious and ethnic minority status and others can compound cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of individuals sentenced to death.


THE DEATH PENALTY IN PRACTICE

(Statistics from Amnesty International)

110 States have abolished the death penalty for all crimes; 27 States are abolitionists in practice 55 States are retentionists; The 5 States that executed the most in the world in 2021 are, in order: China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. 28,670 individuals are known to be under a sentence of death around the world at the end of 2021.


…All Christians and people of good will are today called to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, legal or illegal, in all its forms, but also to work for the improvement of prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their freedom. I would link this to life imprisonment… A life sentence is a secret death penalty. Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, #268


Let us keep in mind that “not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this”. The firm rejection of the death penalty shows to what extent it is possible to recognize the inalienable dignity of every human being and to accept that he or she has a place in this universe. If I do not deny that dignity to the worst of criminals, I will not deny it to anyone. I will give everyone the possibility of sharing this planet with me, despite all our differences. #269


Silent Prayer



Reading

The U.S. Bishops issued the following statement re the death penalty in 2003: Society has a duty to defend life against violence and to reach out to victims of crime. … But our nation’s continued reliance on the death penalty cannot be justified. Because we have other ways to protect society that are more respectful of human life, the USCCB supports efforts to end the use of the death penalty and in the meantime to restrain its use through broader use of DNA evidence, access to effective counsel, and efforts to address unfairness and injustice related to application of the death penalty.


God of Compassion

greatest pain by taking life. For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance as we fill up death row and kill the killers in the name of justice, in the name of peace. Jesus, our brother, you suffered execution at the hands of the state but you did not let hatred overcome you. Help us to reach out to victims of violence so that our enduring love may help them heal. Holy Spirit of God, You strengthen us in the struggle for justice, Help us to work tirelessly for the abolition of state-sanctioned death and to renew our society in its very heart so that violence will be no more. Amen. - Sister Helen Prejean


Silent Prayer


Song:O Lord Hear My Prayer,” Taize’ Chant: Chant for Peace and Serenity




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