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A Catholic Call to Abolish the Death Penalty

There were two state-sanctioned executions in the United States on September 21, 2011. In Georgia, Troy Anthony Davis, an African American man, was put to death for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. In Texas, Lawrence Brewer, a white supremacist, was executed for his participation in the racist hate crime dragging murder of James Byrd in Jasper in 1998. As theologians, scholars, and social justice advocates who participate in the public discussion of Catholic theology, we protest the state-sanctioned killings of both of these men, and we call for the abolition of the death penalty in the US.

Davis’ execution is particularly troubling for it shines a stark light upon many longstanding concerns about capital punishment in the US. We mourn the death of Officer MacPhail and express our deepest sympathies to his family for their tragic loss. However, we believe that a grave miscarriage of justice took place with Davis’ execution. As many legal experts have pointed out, including former FBI Director and federal judge and prosecutor William S. Sessions, serious doubt remains about Davis’ guilt. Until his last breath he maintained his innocence. The failure of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, a Federal Appeals Judge, the Georgia Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court to grant Davis a new trial reveals a deeply flawed justice system. We therefore call upon lawmakers and President Obama to immediately repeal the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which created the legal conditions for executing a man whose guilt was not established beyond reasonable doubt.

Even those who do not share our faith convictions ought to recognize, as Justice William J. Brennan put it, “the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are innocent.” The horrific legacy of lynching in the US casts its evil shadow over current application of the death penalty. Studies have shown that black defendants are more likely to receive the death penalty. In many states with capital punishment, defendants are from 3 to 5 times more likely to be executed if their victim was white. In states that retain the death penalty, 98 percent of district attorneys are white and only 1 percent are black. Execution is also irrevocable, and innocent people have likely been victims of it. Since 1973, 138 persons have been exonerated from death row, most of whom were people of color and economically poor.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that “the sanction of death, when it is not necessary to protect society, violates respect for human life and dignity…Its application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed. We have other ways to punish criminals and protect society.” In earlier eras, Roman Catholic tradition acknowledged the necessity of capital punishment, in rare cases, to protect citizens from threats to the common good. In recent times, with more secure prison facilities that give us the means to offer such protection without executions, our church leaders have affirmed the need to eradicate the death penalty.

There are, moreover, theological reasons for this stance, and here we speak especially to our sisters and brothers in faith. In calling for the abolition of the “cruel and unnecessary” death penalty, Blessed Pope John Paul II argued that “[t]he new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate, and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.” Our theological tradition recalls that our Lord Jesus Christ was unjustly and brutally nailed to a cross to die. The great 20th century theologian Karl Barth put the matter this way: “Now that Jesus Christ has been nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, how can we still use the thought of expiation to establish the death penalty?” The Eucharistic celebration calls Catholics to remember all crucified people, including the legacy of lynching, in light of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His Gospel message of forgiveness and love of enemies presents a difficult challenge, especially to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of a murderer. Yet, the Gospel teaches us how to become fully human: love, not hatred and revenge, liberates us. We need to forgive and love both in fidelity to the Gospel and for our own well-being. The experience of groups like Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, who advocate against the death penalty, attests to this.

Therefore, in concert with our recent popes and bishops, we oppose the death penalty, whether a person on death row is guilty or innocent, on both theological and practical grounds. While we especially deplore and lament the killing of Troy Davis, we also decry the death sentences of the more than 3,200 inmates on death row and the 1,268 executions since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. We urge our nation to abolish capital punishment, and we also implore our churches to work unwaveringly to end it as well as all other threats to human life and dignity.

Signed:

1. Gerald J. Beyer, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Saint Joseph’s University

2. Alexander Mikulich, Research Fellow, Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University New Orleans

3. Emily Reimer-Barry, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

4. Tobias Winright, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Saint Louis University

5. Maria Pilar Aquino, Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

6. Karen Teel, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

7. Gerard Mannion, Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

8. Meghan Clark, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint John’s University (NY)

9. Dana Dillon, Assistant Professor of Theology, Providence College

10. Charles Camosy, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, Fordham University

11. Julie Hanlon Rubio, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Louis University

12. Stephen B. Wilson, Associate Professor of Theology, Spring Hill College

13. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, O.P., Associate Professor of Biology, Providence College

14. Kathryn Getek Soltis, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, Villanova University

15. Vincent J. Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology & Culture, University of Dayton

16. Jana Bennett, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Dayton

17. Terrence W. Tilley, Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Professor of Catholic Theology, Fordham University

18. M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College

19. Todd David Whitmore, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

20. John Sniegocki, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Xavier University

21. Nancy M. Rourke, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Canisius College

22. James F. Keenan, SJ, Founders Professor in Theology, Boston College

23. Nancy Dallavalle, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Fairfield University

24. John Inglis, Professor of Philosophy, Cross-Appointed in Religious Studies, University of Dayton

25. Dennis Doyle, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

26. Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Assistant Professor of Theology, Boston College

27. Daniel C. Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology, Marquette University

28. Anthony J. Godzieba, Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, Villanova University

29. J. Milburn Thompson, Professor of Theology, Bellarmine University

30. Susan Paulik Babka, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

31. Holly Taylor Coolman, Assistant Professor of Theology, Providence College

32. Kelly Johnson, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

33. David O’Brien, University Professor of Faith & Culture, University of Dayton

34. Ronald Modras, Professor of Theology, Saint Louis University

35. Edwin L. Lisson, SJ, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Saint Louis University

36. John F. Kavanaugh, SJ, Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University

37. June-Ann Greeley, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University

38. Jennifer Beste, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Xavier University

39. Elena Procario-Foley, Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies, Iona College

40. Carl Procario-Foley, Director, Center for Campus Ministries, Iona College

41. Daniel Finn, Professor of Theology and Professor of Economics, St. John’s University (MN)

42. Bryan N. Massingale, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Marquette University

43. Marie Dennis, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Co-President, Pax Christi International

44. James T. Bretzke, SJ, Professor of Moral Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

45. Maura Ryan, John Cardinal O’Hara CSC Assoc Prof of Christian Ethics, University of Notre Dame

46. Francine Cardman, Assoc Prof of Historical Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

47. Dolores L. Christie, Independent Scholar

48. Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Franciscan Friar, Holy Name Province (New York)

49. MT Dávila, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, Andover Newton Theological School

50. John Renard, Professor of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University

51. Laurie Johnston, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Emmanuel College

52. Nicholas P. Cafardi, Dean Emeritus & Professor of Law, Duquesne University School of Law

53. Christopher Pramuk, Assistant Professor of Theology, Xavier University

54. Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, Edward A. Malloy Prof of Catholic Studies, Vanderbilt Univ Divinity School

55. Matthew A. Shadle, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, Loras College

56. Michael E. Lee, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University

57. Kenneth Parker, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Saint Louis University

58. Mary Dunn, Assistant Professor of Modern Christianity, Saint Louis University

59. James Caccamo, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Saint Joseph’s University

60. Most Rev. John Michael Botean, DD, Bishop of the Eparchy of St. George, Canton, OH

61. Ronald Mercier, SJ, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Louis University

62. Thomas J. Reese, SJ, Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University

63. David Cloutier, Associate Professor of Theology, Mount Saint Mary’s University

64. Thomas Massaro, SJ, Professor of Moral Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

65. M. Therese Lysaught, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Marquette University

66. Randall S. Rosenberg, CSJ Endowed Chair in Catholic Thought, Fontbonne University

67. Vincent M. Smiles, Professor of Theology, College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University (MN)

68. David Meconi, SJ, Assistant Professor of Patristic Theology, Saint Louis University

69. Mark J. Allman, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Merrimack College

70. Susan A. Ross, Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago

71. Christine Firer Hinze, Professor of Theology, Fordham University

72. Brian W. Hughes, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Saint Mary

73. Tim Muldoon, Assistant to the Vice President for University Mission & Ministry, Boston College

74. Carey Walsh, Associate Professor of Theology, Villanova University

75. Maureen O’Connell, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University

76. William T. Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic Studies, DePaul University

77. Paul Lakeland, Alloysius P. Kelley SJ Professor of Catholic Studies, Fairfield University

78. Bradford Hinze, Professor of Theology, Fordham University; President, College Theology Society

79. Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College

80. John Langan, SJ, Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University

81. William L. Portier, Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology, University of Dayton

82. Paulette Skiba, BVM, Professor of Religious Studies, Clarke University

83. John R. T. Berkman, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Regis College, Univ. of Toronto

84. Michael Patella, OSB, Professor of Theology, Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary

85. Una M. Cadegan, Associate Professor of History, University of Dayton

86. James B. Ball, Associate Professor of Theology, Saint Mary’s University (TX)

87. Mary Jo Iozzio, Professor of Moral Theology, Barry University

88. Christopher Steck, SJ, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Georgetown University

89. Beth Haile, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, Carroll College

90. J. Matthew Ashley, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

91. Franklin T. Harkins, Assistant Professor of Theology & Medieval Studies, Fordham University

92. Angela Kim Harkins, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Fairfield University

93. Joseph A. McCartin, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University

94. Anthony B. Smith, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

95. Lisa Sowle Cahill, Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College

96. Joe Holland, Professor of Philosophy & Religion, St. Thomas University

97. Dorian Llywelyn, SJ, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

98. G. Simon Harak, SJ, Director, Marquette University Center for Peacemaking

99. Mary Doak, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

100. Stephen Schneck, Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, Catholic University of America

101. Stephen E. Lammers, Helen H.P. Manson Prof. of the English Bible, Lafayette College

102. Christopher P. Vogt, Assoc Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, St. John’s University (NY)

103. Teresa Delgado, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Iona College

104. Otto Hentz, SJ, Associate Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

105. B. Andrew Lustig, Holmes Rolston III Professor of Religion & Science, Davidson College

106. Gerald Schlabach, Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

107. Anna Floerke Scheid, Assistant Professor of Theology, Duquesne University

108. Paul Niskanen, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

109. Brian Robinette, Associate Professor of Theology, Saint Louis University

110. Thomas O’Brien, Center for Interreligious Engagement, DePaul University

111. Edward Sellner, Professor of Theology & Spirituality, Saint Catherine University

112. Paul J. Wojda, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

113. William Trollinger, Professor of History, Cross-Appointed to Religious Studies, Univ. of Dayton

114. Mary Daly Twite, Senior Adjunct Instructor, University of St. Thomas (MN)

115. Colleen M. Carpenter, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Catherine University

116. Maura Donahue, Lecturer in Christian Ethics, University of Dayton

117. Kathy Lilla Cox, Assistant Professor of Theology, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University (MN)

118. Amy Levad, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

119. Thomas Schubeck, SJ, Professor of Religious Ethics, John Carroll University

120. Kelly M. Wilson, Adjunct Theology Instructor, University of St. Thomas (MN)

121. Robert Koerpel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Catherine University

122. Elizabeth Groppe, Associate Professor of Theology, Xavier University

123. Sandra A. Yocum, Chair of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

124. Kathleen Maas Weigert, Carolyn Farrell, BVM, Prof of Women & Leadership, Loyola Univ. Chicago

125. Brian M. Doyle, Associate Professor of Theology, Marymount University

126. Patrick J. Hayes, Archivist, Baltimore Province of the Redemptorists (Brooklyn, NY)

127. Ronald A. Pachence, Chair, Dept of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

128. Thomas J. Bushlack, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

129. Lance Nelson, Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Diego

130. David Whitten Smith, Emeritus Prof. of Theology & Justice & Peace Studies, Univ. of St. Thomas (MN)

131. Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

132. Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, T. Marie Chilton Prof. of Catholic Theology, Loyola Marymount University

133. Matthew Tapie, Teaching Fellow, The Catholic University of America

134. Tisha Rajendra, Assistant Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago

135. Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

136. David Hollenbach, SJ, University Chair in Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College

137. Stephen Pope, Professor of Theological Ethics, Boston College

138. Patricia Beattie Jung, Prof. of Christian Ethics/Oubri A. Poppele Prof. of Health/Welfare Ministries, St. Paul School of Theology

139. James Fredericks, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

140. Richard R. Gaillardetz, Joseph McCarthy Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College

141. Amir Hussain, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

142. Mark Potter, Provincial Assistant for Social Ministries, California Province for the Society of Jesus

143. William Madges, Prof. of Theology & Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, St. Joseph’s University

144. Michael Baxter, Center for World Catholicism, DePaul University

145. William J. Collinge, Knott Professor of Theology, Mount St. Mary’s University

146. Jonathan Rothchild, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

147. Brian Stiltner, Assoc. Prof. & Chairperson of Philosophy, Theology & Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University

148. Catherine M. Mooney, Associate Professor of Church History, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

149. John F. Baldovin, SJ, Prof. of Historical & Liturgical Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

150. Ernesto Valiente, Assistant Professor, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

151. Brett C. Hoover, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

152. Mary R. D’Angelo, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

153. Padraic O’Hare, Professor of Religious & Theological Studies, Merrimack College

154. Patrick T. McCormick, Professor of Christian Ethics, Gonzaga University

155. Johann M. Vento, Associate Professor of Religious Studies & Theology, Georgian Court University

156. Rev. Louis Arceneaux, CM, Peace & Justice, Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission, USA

157. Laurie Cassidy, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Marywood University

158. Margaret R. Pfeil, Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

159. Edward T. Ulrich, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

160. Christopher J. Viscardi, SJ, Professor of Theology & Spirituality, Spring Hill College

161. Kristin E. Heyer, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

162. Joseph Miller, Campus Minster, Stonehill College

163. Shannon Berry, Teaching Fellow in Systematic Theology, The Catholic University of America

164. Sr. Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., Professor of Theology, Chicago, IL

165. Phyllis Zagano, Senior Research Associate-in-Residence, Religion Dept, Hofstra University

166. Kelle Lynch-Baldwin, Assistant Professor of Theology, Ohio Dominican University

167. Radoslav Lojan, PhD cand., Saint Paul University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

168. John W. Martens, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

169. Mark DelCogliano, Adjunct Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

170. Julie McDonald, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Saint Joseph’s University

171. Nicholas Albares, Parish Social Ministry Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans

172. Patrick Lynch, SJ, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Canisius College

173. Gregory J. O’Meara, SJ, Associate Professor, Marquette University Law School

174. Dennis Hamm, SJ, Holder of the Graff Endowed Chair in Catholic Theology, Creighton University

175. David DeCosse, Director of Campus Ethics Programs, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University

176. Denise Starkey, Assistant Professor & Chair of Theology & Religious Studies Dept., The College of St. Scholastica

177. Jason King, Associate Professor & Chair of Theology Dept., Saint Vincent College

178. Amanda C. Osheim, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Loras College

179. Alan C. Mitchell, Associate Professor of New Testament & Christian Origins, Georgetown University

180. Julia Fleming, Professor of Moral Theology & Dept. Chair, Creighton University

181. Pam Rector, Director, Center for Service & Action, Loyola Marymount University

182. Philip Endean, SJ, Visiting Professor of Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

183. Kobi Ako Abayomi, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

184. Andrea Vicini, SJ, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

185. Thomas Ryan, Director, Loyola Institute for Ministry, New Orleans

186. Thomas Kelly, Associate Professor of Theology, Creighton University

187. Mari Rapela Heidt, Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Dayton

188. Catherine Cornille, Associate Professor of Comparative Theology, Boston College

189. Vicki A. Schieber, Board Chair, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, & Education Coordinator for the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty

190. Todd A. Salzman, Professor of Theology, Creighton University

191. Ki Joo Choi, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Seton Hall University

192. Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, Associate Prof. of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

193. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Associate Professor of Theology, Saint John’s University (NY)

194. Fr. Thomas Washburn, OFM, Executive Secretary, English Speaking Provincials Conference of the Order of Friars Minor (The Franciscans)

195. Roberto S. Goizueta, Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology, Boston College

196. Michael G. Lawler, Professor Emeritus of Catholic Theology, Creighton University

197. Cara Anthony, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

198. Edmondo F. Lupieri, Prof. of Theology & John Cardinal Cody Endowed Chair, Loyola University Chicago

199. James K. Voiss, SJ, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University

200. Jason Miller, Organizing Fellow, Catholics United

201. Jon Nilson, Professor of Theology, Loyola University Chicago

202. Jozef D. Zalot, Associate Professor of Religious & Pastoral Studies, College of Mount St. Joseph

203. David Wheeler-Reed, Instructor in Biblical Studies, University of Dayton

204. John E. Thiel, Professor of Religious Studies, Fairfield University; President, Catholic Theological Society of America

205. Richard W. Miller, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Creighton University

206. William Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

207. Raymond Kemp, Senior Reseach Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Adjunct Theology Prof., Georgetown University

208. Julia A. Lamm, Associate Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

209. James Madden, Case Manager at Towards Employment, Prison Minister, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Former Assist. Prosecuting Attorney, Cuyahoga County (OH)

210. Jay Hammond, Associate Professor of Medieval Theology, Saint Louis University

211. George Williams, SJ, Adjunct Prof. of Pastoral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Founder, Jesuit Prison Ministries, Inc.

212. Edgar A. Gamboa, M.D., FACS, Santa Cruz, CA

213. Jennifer Reed-Bouley, Professor of Theology, College of Saint Mary, Omaha (NE)

214. Jill Raitt, Visiting Professor of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University

215. Patrick G. Donnelly, Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

216. Christopher McMahon, Associate Professor of Theology, Saint Vincent College

217. Sr. Aline Paris, RSM, Associate Professor of Theology, College of St. Mary

218. William French, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Loyola University Chicago

219. Melissa M. Kelley, Assoc. Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling, Contextual Education, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

220. John N. Sheveland, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University

221. John F. Haught, Senior Fellow, Science & Religion, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University

222. Ronald R. Volkmer, Professor of Law, Creighton University

223. Barbara Quinn, RSCJ, Associate Director, Spiritual Formation, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

224. David Penchansky, Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (MN)

225. Kimberly Baker, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Vincent College

226. Joseph E. Lingan, SJ, Rector, Jesuit Community, Georgetown University

227. Maria Morrow, Ph.D. Candidate in Theology, University of Dayton

228. Mary Kate Birge, SSJ, Associate Professor of Theology, Mount Saint Mary’s University

229. Sr. Helen Prejean, Sisters of Saint Joseph, New Orleans

230. Donald A. MacMillan, SJ, Campus Ministry, Boston College

231. Marianne Race, CSJ Congregation of St. Joseph Retreat Director (IL)

232. Fr. Kenneth Hein, OSB, D.Th., Prior of the Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, Idaho

233. Gregory D. Walgenbach, Ph.D. Candidate, Fuller Theological Seminary

234. Maria Cimperman, Associate Professor of Moral Theology & Social Ethics, Oblate School of Theology

235. Randall Woodard, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Leo University

236. Brian Volck, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

237. William Werpehowski, Professor of Christian Ethics, Villanova University

238. Rose Ann Hefner, CSJ, Pastoral Counselor, Congregation of St. Joseph (WV)

239. Inocent-Mária V. Szaniszló, OP, Associate Professor, Catholic University of Ruzomberok, Faculty of Theology, Kosice, Slovakia

240. Christopher Arroyo, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Providence College

241. Timothy Brunk, Assistant Professor of Theology, Villanova University

242. Eric J. Kyle, Assistant Professor of Theology, Director of Service Learning Program, College of Saint Mary

243. Michael W. Cooper, SJ, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Leo University

244. Jeffrey Morrow, Assistant Professor of Theology, Seton Hall University

245. Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes, SSND, Assistant Professor of Theology & Ethics, Mount Mary College

246. James R. Ginther, Prof. of Medieval Theology & Director, Center for Digital Theology, Saint Louis University

247. Patricia Kozak CSJ, D.Min. Congregation of Saint Joseph, Cleveland, Ohio

248. Michael J. Iafrate, Ph.D. Candidate in Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto

249. Ron Pagnucco, Chairman & Associate Professor of Peace Studies, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University

250. Kevin J. Ahern, Ph.D. Candidate in Theological Ethics, Boston College

251. Elizabeth W. Collier, Assist. Professor of Business Ethics, Brennan School of Business, Dominican University

252. Rev. Angel L. Ciappi, Vicar for Development & Pastor of Parroquia Cristo Redentor, Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico

253. Peter W. Salsich, Jr., McDonnell Professor of Justice, Saint Louis University School of Law

254. Joann Heaney-Hunter, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, St. John’s University (NY)

255. J.J. Carney, Assistant Professor of Theology, Creighton University

256. William D. Lindsey, Independent Scholar & Theologian, Little Rock, Arkansas

257. John Trumpbour, Research Director, Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

258. Donald Rappé, Associate Professor of Theology, Mount Mary College

259. Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, Vice President for Mission and Identity, Mount Mary College

260. Rev. Patrick J. Sullivan, CSC, PhD, Executive-Secretary & Chaplain, Boston Archdiocesan Labor Guild

261. Rev. Steven M. Avella, Professor of History, Marquette University

262. Ruth Kettman, CSJ, Congregation of Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio

263. Frank McNeirney, National Coordinator, Catholics Against Capital Punishment, Bethesda, MD

264. Karl Krause, former criminal judge, Hamburg, Germany, alumni Mt.St. Mary`s University

265. C. Vanessa White, Assistant Professor of Spirituality, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

266. Paul Lauritzen, Professor of Religious Ethics, John Carroll University

267. Joseph Martos, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology

268. Joseph S. O’Leary, Faculty of Letters, Sophia University, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

269. Stephen J. Casey, Emeritus Professor of Theology/Religious Studies, University of Scranton

270. Anita Houck, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Saint Mary’s College (IN)

271. Sr. Jeana Visel, OSB, Graduate Assistant in Campus Ministry, St. John’s University-School of Theology (MN)

272. Annie Devine, Assistant Director in Campus Ministry, Marquette University

273. Sérgio Dias Branco, Invited Auxiliary Prof. of Cinema Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Coimbra

274. Richard C. Goode, Professor of History, Lipscombe University

275. Linda Plitt Donaldson, MSW, PhD, Assoc. Prof., National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University of America

276. Frank Farrell, Senior Assoc. Prof. of Religion, Chair of Liberal Arts Division, Manor College

277. Rev. Piotr H. Kieniewicz, MIC, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Faculty of Theology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

278. William P. O’Brien, SJ, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University

279. Prof. Dr. Pawel Bortkiewicz, Dept. of Theology, Ethics Center, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

280. Paul J. Griffiths, Warren Chair of Catholic Theology at Duke University

281. Angie O’Gorman, Author, The Book of Sins, Saint Louis, MO

282. Rev. Dr. Edward J. Enright, OSA, Religious & Theological Studies, Merrimack College

283. Patrick Clark, Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Scranton

284. David C. Oughton, Associate Professor of the World’s Religions, Saint Louis University

285. Anna Kasafi Perkins, Senior Programme Officer, Adjunct Faculty, University of the West Indies/Saint Michael’s Theological College, Jamaica

286. Prof. Peter Beisheim, Director, Catholic Studies, Stonehill College, MA

287. Kathy Heskin, Associate Professor of Theology, Director of Undergraduate Pastoral Ministry Program, Dominican University

288. Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University (MN)

289. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., Associate Professor, Boston College Law School

290. Jarosław Makowski, Catholic theologian and Director of The Civic Institute, Warsaw, Poland

291. Rev. Józef Zabielski, Professor of Theology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw, Poland

292. Michael J. Perry, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

293. Rev. D. Bruce Nieli, C.S.P., Paulist Preaching Apostolate, Memphis, Tennessee

294. Karen Stohr, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University

295. Alexus McLeod, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton

296. William P. George, Professor of Theology, Dominican University

297. Lee C. Camp, Professor of Theology & Ethics, Lipscomb University

298. Danielle Poe, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton

299. Beth Ford, Campus Minister, Service & Social Justice Program, Adjunct Faculty in Theology & Religious Studies, Saint Joseph’s University

300. Glenn B. Siniscalchi, Theology Instructor, Saint Joseph’s University, PhD Candidate in Theology, Duquesne University

301. Helen Stewart, Campus Minister, Saint Joseph’s University

302. Robert A. Krieg, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

303. William O’Neill, SJ, Associate Professor of Social Ethics, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

304. Rose Rita Huelsmann, SSND, Educator, Criminal Justice Ministry-St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis (MO)

305. Jason Bartlett, Program Outreach Coordinator, Campus Ministry, Adjunct History Professor, Temple University

306. William McDonough, Associate Professor of Theology, St. Catherine University

307. Richard A. Peddicord, O.P., President & Professor of Moral Theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology

308. Paul J. Wadell, Professor of Religious Studies, St. Norbert College

309. Kevin O’Neil, C.Ss.R., Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Washington Theological Union

310. Paul L. Golden, C.M., J.C.D., Congregation of the Mission Western Province

311. Gerard Jacobitz, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Joseph’s University

312. Dennis J. Fisher, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Saint Joseph’s University

313. Dominic Lombardi, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Saint Joseph’s University & Director of the Family Life Office, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

314. Katie Oxx, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, Saint Joseph’s University

315. Harold W. Attridge, The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School & Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament

316. Mary Latela, M.Div., Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies & Philosophy, Sacred Heart University

317. Stephen J. Schafer, Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

318. Lisa Fullam, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

319. William A. Barbieri, Jr., Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America

320. Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, Professor Emerita of New Testament Studies & Christian Spirituality, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

321. Phillip M. Thompson, Executive Director, Aquinas Center of Theology, Emory University

322. Kevin P. Lee, Associate Professor, Campbell University School of Law

323. Fr. Paul A. Burke, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Holy Spirit College, Atlanta (GA)

324. Sr. Helen, Rolfson, OSF, Professor Emerita, St. John’s University School of Theology/Seminary (MN)

325. Edward Vacek, SJ, Woodstock Jesuit Residence, Washington, DC

326. Rev. John Breck, Emeritus Professor of Bioethics, Saint-Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, Paris, France

327. Christiana Z. Peppard, Assistant Professor of Theology & Science, Fordham University

328. Joseph M. Incandela, Associate Dean of Faculty, Hank Aquinas Chair of Catholic Theology, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame (IN)

329. Rev. James Dallen, STD, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University

330. Kerry Danner-McDonald, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

331. Bruce H. Lescher, PhD, Associate Academic Dean, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

332. Mary Elizabeth Miller, SCN, President, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

333. Sidney Callahan, Psychologist & Distinguished Scholar, The Hastings Center

334. M. Ruth O’Neill, JD, LLM, O’Neill Law Office, Columbia (MO), & Adjunct Instructor of Paralegal Studies, William Woods University, Fulton (MO)

335. Mark Graham, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Villanova University

336. Daniel J. Finucane, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Saint Louis University

337. Dr. Gunter Prüller-Jagenteufel, Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Vienna (Austria, EU), Associate Professor of Moral Theology

338. Mark Johnson, Assistant Professor of Theology, Holy Spirit College, Atlanta (GA)

339. Michael H. Barnes, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

340. Fr. Anthony Fasline, Retired, Youngstown Dioces (OH)

341. Gemma Cruz, Melbourne, Australia

342. Anna Abram, Head of Pastoral & Social Studies Department, Lecturer in Ethics/Christian Ethics, Heythrop College, University of London

343. Martin O’Malley, Research Scholar at “Ethikzentrum Jena” at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany

344. The Rev. Dr. Millicent C. Feske, Tenured Asst. Professor of Theology, Saint Joseph’s University

345. Wojciech Bonowicz, Journalist, “Tygodnik Powszecnhy,” Poland

346. Mark T. Miller, Assistant Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, University of San Francisco

347. Laurie Gagne, Director, Edmundite Center for Peace & Justice, St. Michael’s College, Colchester (VT)

348. Günter Virt , Professor Emeritus for Moral Theology, University of Vienna, Austria, Member of European Group on Ethics Advising the President of the European Union

349. William T. Ditewig, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Santa Clara University, & Director of Faith Formation, Diaconate & Pastoral Planning, Diocese of Monterey

350. Felix Just, SJ, PhD, Director of Biblical Education, Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange (CA)

351. Paul Crowley, SJ, Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professor, Santa Clara University

352. Robert Mickens, Vatican Journalist, Rome

353. Richard J. Clifford, SJ, Professor of Old Testament, Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

354. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Stetson University

355. Fr. Gearóid Francisco Ó Conaire, OFM, JPIC Commission, Union of Superiors General of  Catholic Men and Women Religious Institutes (USG/UISG), Rome

356. Fr. Seamus O’Neill, Superior General, St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, County Wicklow, Ireland

357. Sr. Cristina Longinotti, OSC, Monastero Santa Chiara, Cortona

358. Adrienne D. Curry, Program Director, Catholic Relief Services, Archdiocese of Chicago, Office for Peace & Justice

359. Cecilia A. Moore, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

360. Benjamin Peters, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies & Theology, Saint Joseph College

361. Deacon Donald Weigel, Adjunct Professor for Religious Studies, D’Youville College, Buffalo

362. Catherine Crino, MDiv, Pastoral Associate, St. Alphonsus, Chicago

363. Shaji George Kochuthara, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India

364. Timone Davis, Coordinator, ReCiL -Reclaiming Christ in Life – Young Adult Ministry, Archdiocese of Chicago

365. Sr. Carmen Elisa, SSpS, Missionary Servant of the Holy Spirit, Justice & Peace Ministry, Taiwan

366. Edward J. Mahoney, Director, Graduate Theology & Pastoral Ministry, Center for Faith & Culture, Saint Michael’s College (VT)

367. Fr. Eamon Sheridan, the Central JPIC Coordinator for the Missionary Society of St. Columban

368. Joseph Torma, Professor of Theology, Walsh University

369. Jan Jans, Associate Professor of Ethics, Tilburg University, Netherlands

370. Rita Sloan, Commission Coordinator, The Life Peace & Justice Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Reno, Nevada

371. Jan de Jong, S.C.J., President-Rector & Professor of Moral Theology, Sacred Heart of Theology, Hales Corners, WI

372. Matthew Coutinho, S.D.B., Lecturer in Moral Theology, Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, India

373. David Smith, Associate Professor of Healthcare Ethics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

374. John M. Converset, Comboni Missionaries, Director, Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation Office

375. Andrew Skotnicki, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Religious Studies, Manhattan College

376. Patrick Hannon, Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology, Maynooth College, Ireland

377. Roxanne Schares, SSND, International Shalom-JPIC Coordinator for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Rome, Italy

378. Fr. Alberto Anichini, Comboni Missionaries, Assistant Parish Priest in Alenga, Lira Diocese, North Uganda

379. Nancy O’Byrne, Chair, Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine Justice & Peace Commission, Coordinator, Pax Christi Florida

380. Arthur J. Mendez, Construction Company Owner, Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

381. Kathie C. Mendez, RN, Richmond, Virginia

382. Charles Curtis, Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

383. Rob Van Oostrom, Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

384. Donna C. Fitzgerald, Legal Assistant, Virginia

385. J. Michael Fitzgerald, Attorney and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

386. Guillermo A. Gonzalez, Electrical Engineer, NASA, and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

387. James E. Morgan, CPA and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

388. C. Michael Stinson, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Southside Virginia Community College, and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

389. David V. Dwyer, Construction Estimator and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

390. Edward J. Handel, Salesman and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

391. Martin S. Mattson, U.S. Postal Service and Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

392. Edwin Anleu, Permanent Deacon Candidate, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia

393. Mary Kate Birge, SSJ, Associate Professor of Theology, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD

394. Michael J. Lueken, Ph.D. Candidate, Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Washington, DC, Theology Instructor, Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ

395. Mark C. Meade, Assistant Director, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY

396. Opal Easter Smith, Adjunct Professor, Catholic Theological Union

To be added to this list, email Tobias Winright at twinrigh@slu.edu with your name, position, and institutional affiliation. Those wishing more information about this statement may contact the first four signatories, who co-authored it.

Read also: Pope Benedict XVI’s plea to commute Troy Davis’ sentence: http://savannahnow.com/troy-davis/2007-07-20/pope-makes-plea-spare-life-troy-davis

The Catholic Bishops’ of Georgia letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles: http://www.archatl.com/media/storage/troydavis09122011.pdf

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