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Bending the Arc references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office showcases the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice. Full contents of the newsletter are published on this page. 
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Archive for the "Death Penalty & Restorative Justice" Category

Execution Petitions

May 09, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Created in God’s image, humans have inherent dignity and worth. This belief of the Catholic Church lays the foundation for all its other teachings. The Sisters of St. Agnes and their Associates honor the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death. The sisters’ actions demonstrate their reverence for life and their commitment to a consistent ethic of life.

An execution calendar is maintained on the CSA website: Updates are provided from groups like Death Penalty Action. CSA Sisters and Associates participate in letter writing to inmates on death row; letter writing is always encouraged and directions can also be found on the website.

New and revised dates are being added to the execution schedule and new and current petitions await your signature. Please click to sign and share these petitions.

Additionally, please join Death Penalty Action to Demand Absolute Standards to stop profiting from executions!

Wear the Message with Abolition Gear - ORDER HERE.

Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest

February 22, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Young adults can write an original poem about the death penalty for a chance to win $1,000.

Our Catholic faith teaches that all people are created in the image and likeness of God, instilled with dignity and worth that can never be taken away, even when someone commits a serious crime. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that the death penalty is "inadmissible" and an attack on the dignity of life. Inspired by our faith and Church teaching, we are called to work for the abolition of capital punishment.

Know a young adult between the ages of 18-30 who would be passionate about ending the death penalty? Are they inspired by faith to work for justice solutions that are rooted in mercy and redemption? Encourage them to submit an original poem to Catholic Mobilizing Network before the contest deadline of March 25, 2024. Winners announced in April.

See last year’s winners and read their poems here.

Death Penalty via Nitrogen Hypoxia

January 25, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

There is no true justice being served, or an ounce of humanity being considered, in what the state of Alabama is planning.

Kenneth Smith is scheduled for execution on January 25, 2024 for the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Sennett. Mr. Smith’s case is unusual in several respects. First, he has already survived one execution attempt, which left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a clinical psychologist and trauma expert who examined him. On November 17, 2022, the state tried and failed to execute Mr. Smith using lethal injection but abandoned its efforts after four hours when staff were unable to access a vein. 

Second, Mr. Smith would likely not be sentenced to death today. In 1996, a jury recommended that he receive a sentence of life in prison by a vote of 11 to 1, but the judge overrode its recommendation and sentenced him to death. Alabama judges no longer have the ability to override jury sentencing recommendations, so if sentenced today, Mr. Smith would not be facing execution. 

Third, unless an appeals court intervenes, Mr. Smith will be the first human being executed using nitrogen gas. The consequences of using this protocol are completely unknown, even to Alabama officials. Read the full story.

You can be sure groups such as Death Penalty Action have been working diligently to prevent this. But if the execution is not halted, please join Death Penalty Action, Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty and a variety of experts and special guests for an informative and prayerful vigil to protest the execution of Kenneth Smith. They’ll be live from Atmore, Alabama on Thursday, January 25 starting 5pm CT and will continue until after the execution is either stayed or completed, at which time they will be joined by Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Kenny's spiritual advisor, to hear his first-hand experiences and observations of the first-ever nitrogen hypoxia prisoner-extermination. Register here to be a part of the live audience, or watch on the Death Penalty Action Facebook or YouTube platforms.

Should this horrific event happen, you can still take action in preventing it from happening again. Sign this letter and tell state governors to Say NO to the Gas Chamber.


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5/9/24 - By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator