I hope this finds you well.
We at the Catholic Mobilizing Network are energized by the arrival of spring, and by the arrival of a new Pope bearing a restorative message.
The theme of the Pope Francis' first Angelus message on March 17 was the mercy of God:
"We need to understand God's mercy well, this merciful Father who has such patience. ... Think of the prophet Isaiah who asserts that even if our sins were scarlet red, God's love would make them white as snow. That is beautiful [this aspect of mercy] ... the problem is that we get tired, we don't want to, we get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us never get tired. Let us never get tired. He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us."
Forgiveness and healing are the messages at the heart of the Gospel. As such, CMN is committed to educating Catholics on the Church's teaching on the death penalty and is increasing our commitment to educating Catholics about restorative justice. To that end, we are pleased to debut our first workshops on restorative justice, and a youth version will be coming soon.
Restorative justice programs repair the harm caused when a crime is committed. It is a community-centered approach that views crime as a violation of people and relationships, rather than simply a violation of law. Because both the victim and the offender are children of God, restorative justice focuses on the victims' needs and the offenders' responsibility to repair harm and foster healing.
We have lived in a retributive age since the 1960s. Statistics have proven that retribution does not work. The recidivism rate in our prison systems is extremely high. Restorative models drastically lower recidivism rates, and it is time to educate Catholics about these new possibilities for effective change. Please review our materials and help us in our effort to educate Catholics about restorative justice.
News of our principled efforts to end the death penalty and promote Catholic pro-life teaching continues to garner attention from our partners. Recently, the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty highllighted CMN in their newsletter. Take a moment to read their article here.
In this April 2013 newsletter you will find:
NEW RESTORATIVE JUSTICE WORKSHOPS AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
Restorative justice programs repair the harm caused when a crime is committed. It is a community-centered approach to justice that views crime as a violation of people and relationships, rather than simply a violation of law. Restorative justice focuses on the victim’s needs and the offender’s responsibility to repair harm and foster healing.
CMN is proud to announce its Restorative Justice Introductory Workshop. It can serve as an introduction to this crucial aspect of Catholic social teaching. Focused on adult education, this workshop is in a PowerPoint format. Notes are provided with each slide, which can assist a facilitator preparing for and leading a discussion on restorative justice.
Read more. | En español.
CMN SPONSORS NEW MOVEMENT SEEKING JUST CAPITAL CRIME JURIES
Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty is proud to sponsor I Want To Serve. This national campaign seeks to raise awareness about “death qualification,” our biased jury selection system that excludes people of faith from death penalty juries and ensures that the voice of all those who do not think the death penalty is an appropriate punishment are removed.
As a part of CMN’s mission, we work to promote restorative justice, a criminal justice system that focuses on the victim and restoration to the community – not only retribution and punishment. A restorative justice system promotes equality and fairness at all levels – for the victim, the victim’s family, the offender, and for those of our peers selected to serve on a jury.
At I Want to Serve’s website, members of the public are invited to share a 30-second video, expressing their views about the death penalty and a desire to have the opportunity to serve on a jury just like everyone else.
Working with I Want To Serve's creators - Director Sophie Cull of the Louisiana for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and the Louisiana Interchurch Conference - CMN is spreading the word about this effort and about death qualification.
We ask you to link to the I Want To Serve website on your own, include information about the movement in your printed materials, share the link on your Facebook and Twitter page, and encourage more videos to the site. For more information, please email us or Sophie Cull.
DEATH PENALTY LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY UPDATE
March was an extraordinary month of activity in the movement to end the use of the death penalty!
In Delaware, the Senate passed, by an 11-10 margin, SB 19, which ends the death penalty for future capital offenses. The bill next moves to the House Judiciary Committee on April 24. Bishop William Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington signed the Delaware Repeal Project’s Faith Leaders Sign on Letter, which helped encourage signatures from numerous Catholic priests of the diocese. For more information on Delaware's efforts visit Delaware Repeal Project's website.
Nebraska’s bill to end the death penalty, LB543, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and heads to the full legislature for debate. More information on this effort can be found on the Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty website.
In a hard-won victory, Maryland’s legislature also chose life over death, setting the stage for Governor O’Malley to sign a bill ending the death penalty in that state - making Maryland the 18th state to do so overall, and the sixth in six years. More information on this effort can be found at the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions (MD CASE) website.
Read more about other state efforts.
Get Legislative and Catholic teaching talking points for key states in English and Spanish.
PRECIOUS BLOOD MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) started in 2000 when a few friends – priests of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood – sat down and shared their stories of ministry, of the suffering they had witnessed and experienced, and of their work for reconciliation. They shared stories of many years of jail ministry, of community renewal, of inner-city parish work, of retreat ministry for reconciliation. Out of those shared experiences was born the dream of the Ministry of Reconciliation – what would it look like to have a ministry whose purpose was to work for healing and reconciliation in the midst of the violence and alienation of our world?
Read more and view a video about PBMR.
"ABRIENDOS PUERTAS" CON HMA. ILARIA
La Arquidiócesis de Wasington, D.C, produce semanalmente "Abriendo Puertas," un programa radiofónico en español distribuido a varias redes de radios católicas. La Hna. Ilaria ha sido entrevistada por Andrea Acosta, la conductora de "Abriendo Puertas," sobre la enseñanza social de la Iglesia acerca de la pena de muerte, la presencia de Latinos en el pabellón de la muerte, cómo proteger a la sociedad respetando al mismo tiempo la dignidad de toda persona y cómo hacer escuchar nuestra voz en favor de la vida.
Escuche la entrevista.
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. produces "Abriendo Puertas," a weekly radio program in Spanish broadcast by several Catholic radio networks. Sr. Ilaria was interviewed by Andrea Acosta, the host of "Abriendo Puertas," about Catholic Social Teaching on the death penalty, the Latino presence on death row, how can we protect society from criminals while respecting the sanctity of all human lives, and how we can make our pro-life message heard.
Listen to the interview (en español).
ONLINE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM IN PRISON AND DETENTION MINISTRY
By Dale Recinella, Catholic Correctional Chaplain Florida Death Row & Solitary Confinement
Over the last many years, our burgeoning prison and jail populations in the U.S. have presented a challenge for Catholic prison ministry. It is not unusual that the areas with the greatest concentrations of prisoners also have the fewest Catholics in the surrounding areas. The needs of Catholic prison ministry are generally being met by wonderful lay volunteers and deacons who feel called to provide this service. In many cases the lay volunteers are near or in retirement and see prison ministry as a way to give something back in gratitude for all the gifts that God has provided in their life.
The piece that has been missing is the availability of a comprehensive and affordable program to enhance the prison ministry of lay volunteers and deacons. The development of a program to meet this need has been in the works for over two years is now available and ready to accept registrations for a series of semesters from April through December 2013. The program is being offered through Saint Leo University in Florida (just outside Tampa) but it is all online and is available over the Internet anywhere in the world. Participants who complete the program will receive a Certification in Prison and Detention Ministry from Saint Leo University.
DEAD MAN WALKING PLAY PROJECT UPDATE
By Greg Callaghan, Dead Man Walking Play Project Coordinator
Spring is a busy season for The Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project. Three productions took place during March: Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, Calif.; St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. Congratulations to all actors, crew and faculty members on three excellent and well-received productions around the country! St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., will perform the play as a culmination of a three-part series about the death penalty on campus on April 18-20. Sister Helen Prejean visited the school last month, and students attended a second presentation titled “Faculty Perspectives on the Death Penalty.” Our partnership with the Fetzer Institute continues to thrive, and our project is now featured on Fetzer’s homepage.
April 16-17: CMN’s Cathy Jarboe will be presenting the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty as part of a Faithful Citizenship event sponsored by the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, Family Ministries – Pro-Life, Office of Lifelong Formation & Education, and Catholic Charities. Read more.
May 7: The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) will honor Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, with the “Robert M. Holstein: Faith that Does Justice Award” at a reception in New Orleans. Read more.
May 11: Sr. Ilaria Buonriposi will be representing CMN at the Hispanic Diocesan Charismatic Convention held in the Diocese of Richmond. She will be presenting a workshop on the death penalty and Catholic teaching.
May 17: CMN’s Cathy Jarboe will be present a workshop on Catholic teaching and the death penalty at a Catholic Charities sponsored social justice training in Boise, Idaho.
May 18: Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, will be part of a dinner presentation in Centerville, Ohio. In addition to dinner, there will be testimonies from others, a silent auction, raffles and other entertainment. Read more.
May 19-21: CMN speakers Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, and Dale Recinella will be presenting at the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry. The theme this year is “Building Bridges Not Walls,” and is sponsored by the Diocesan Council of Orlando’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul. For more information on the convocation call (407) 814-3869 or visit their website. You can also request more information by e-mail.
May 21-24: CMN will be present at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Annual Convening and Lobby Day, which also occurs during the 25th anniversary year of the organization. The focus of this year’s convening is “A Celebration of Service, Justice and Faith” and will review issues related to federal immigration reform legislation.
Want to know what else we're up to? Check out a ful list of CMN Events.
Nebraska: "The Myth of Redemptive Violence: Who Would Jesus Execute?" Presented by Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NADP), April 20, 4-6 p.m., Creighton Harper Center Auditorium, 602 N. 20th St, Omaha. Keynote by Shane Claiborne with special panel guests Curtis McCarty and Victoria Coward. Admission is FREE but seating is limited. Please register for tickets on the NADP website.
Florida: "Conversion in the Year of Faith Presentation." CMN speaker Dale Recinella will be speaking on this theme, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council #9236 of St. Andrew’s Parish and the Orlando Diocese/Office of Advocacy and Justice. The presentation will take place on April 21, 11:30a.m.–3:30 p.m. at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, 801 N. Hastings St., Orlando. For more information contact Deborah Stafford Shearer, Director of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Advocacy and Justice at (407) 246-4820 or by e-mail.
If you have an event that your local Catholic organization is presenting or sponsoring on the death penalty or on a restorative justice topic and you would like it to appear in our CMN newsletter, please send us the relevant information, including flyers and complete descriptions of the event at least four weeks in advance. CMN may edit or choose not to publish any submission.