A Catholic advocacy group opposed to the death penalty is praising an announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland to halt federal executions but also says it is only a first step in fulfilling a campaign promise by President Joe Biden to eliminate capital punishment in federal cases.
"The federal death penalty is a flawed and morally bankrupt system that violates the sanctity of human life," Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, the executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network said in a statement dated July 2.
The moratorium "does nothing to redress the horrors of executions nor the excesses and inequities in the federal death penalty system," she said. "More needs to be done."
Vaillancourt Murphy was responding to Garland's July 1 announcement that reverses a decision by former Attorney General William Barr that resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. Barr's decision led to the executions of 12 men and one woman during the last two years of the Trump administration.
"History has shown us how mere stopgap actions of one administration can leave the door wide open to future government killing sprees," said Vaillancourt Murphy. "President Biden promised a permanent road closure on the federal death penalty; a moratorium is more like a temporary stop sign on the road to federal executions."
As part of efforts to pressure Biden to take further action, some 10,000 Catholics have signed a Catholic Mobilizing Network petition calling on the president to use his executive authority to commute the sentences of those on federal death row.
Among the prominent Catholics who have signed the petition are Sr. Helen Prejean, a sister of St. Joseph and long-time advocate against the death penalty, and a number of Catholic prelates, including Joseph Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston; Ramón Bejarano, auxiliary bishop of San Diego; William Medley, bishop of Owensboro, Kentucky; Richard Pates, apostolic administrator of Crookston, North Dakota and Oscar Solis, bishop of Salt Lake City.
Franciscan sister to deliver closing address at Laudato Si' conference
Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio is set to deliver the closing address on July 15 at the "Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church" conference co-hosted by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University.
Delio holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University. She has doctorates from Rutgers University-School of Healthcare and Biomedical Sciences and from Fordham University. She is the author of 22 books, and in 2015 became general editor of a book series by Orbis Books with the theme "Catholicity in an Evolving Universe." Delio is a frequent lecturer on evolution, artificial intelligence, consciousness, culture and religion.
The three-day conference (July 13-15) is the second in a series of three biennial gatherings focused on elevating awareness and response in the U.S. church to Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."
Delio's speech is titled "Can the Earth Be Healed? Insights from Teilhard de Chardin, SJ."
LCWR Region 10 webinar will focus on human trafficking
The next in a series of conversations on pressing social themes by Region 10 of Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, will focus on human trafficking.
"Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate" will air live at 3 p.m. Central time, July 14. Panelists discussing human trafficking will include Sr. Ann Oestreich, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or IHM Sisters, of Monroe, Michigan, and Angel Aufdemberge, head of Vista Marie, a Michigan-based shelter and anti-trafficking organization; and trafficking survivor Bailey.
"Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate" is a collaborative project of LCWR Region 10, which includes congregations in Iowa, eastern Missouri and Nebraska, joined by a few additional congregations from Wisconsin.
Participants can join the webinar on Zoom or YouTube live stream. Click here for more information.
Kenya-based webinar will focus on pandemic responses
How to keep hope alive as the world continues battling the COVID-19 pandemic is the focus of a webinar hosted by The Leaders Guild — Center for Leadership and Management of Tangaza University College, in partnership with the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya, on July 17.
The theme of the webinar, scheduled for 2-5 p.m. East Africa Time, is "Consecrated Women Thriving in Collaboration Post Pandemic: Psycho-Spiritual and Socio-economic Empowerment."
The facilitators include Fr. Joyzy Pius Egunjobi, priest of the Catholic diocese of Oyo Nigeria and acting director of the Psycho-Spiritual Institute in Kenya, and Sr. Draru Mary Cecilia, a member of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu in northern Uganda who is executive director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative, or ASEC. Register here.
The Leaders Guild is a leadership development program under the Center for Leadership and Management, Tangaza University College, founded with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and DePaul University in Chicago.
UISG plans conference focused on migration and theology
The International Union of Superiors General, or UISG, is joining with partners to present a three-day event in September focusing on biblical and theological reflections on the current global migration crisis.
The Sept. 20-22 event, the "Theology of Human Mobility in the 21st century; Migrants and Pilgrims as Our Ancestors," will be streamed on YouTube with translations available in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
In announcing the conference, UISG said that "Migrations are more than movements of people from one place to another; they are related to cultural, social, political and religious transformations of people and nations, and to the continuous reshaping of communities."
As a result, such changes "represent a major challenge to humanity, as well as an opportunity of reshaping it today," UISG said. "They raise questions of greatest relevance for the global agenda, as they affect governments, religions in general and the Catholic Church in particular."
The other partners in the conference are the Union of Superiors General, or USG, and the Scalabrini International Migration Institute, or SIMI. Religious from several congregations will be presenters.
The United Nations recently reported that the number of those fleeing human rights violations, persecution, violence and war rose to 82.4 million people in 2020, a 4% increase from what was already a record high of 79.5 million persons at the end of 2019.
[Brian Roewe, NCR environment correspondent, contributed to this report.]
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