Justice Issues


IHM Corporate Stance on the use of the Death Penalty

IHM death penalty statementWe, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, declare our opposition to the use of the death penalty. We abhor the violence in our world and our hearts go out to all persons who have been victims of violence. While we recognize the need to protect society from perpetrators of violence, we firmly believe that the inhumane killing of convicted criminals never was and never will be a solution to the complex problems of society.

Our Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us the intrinsic God-given dignity of every human person. We believe that all life is sacred and that it is morally unacceptable for any human being to take the life of another. We believe that the use of the death penalty diminishes the moral quality of our own lives and communities and contributes to the brutal cycle of violence.

We commit ourselves to work for the use of alternate, compassionate and creative ways to address the effects of violence in the world and to strengthen the moral fabric of society.

Adopted on December 20, 1999

Faith in Action on the Death Penalty

The movement to abolish the death penalty needs the religious community because the heart of religion is about compassion, human rights, and the indivisible dignity of each human person made in the image of God. - Sister Helen Prejean

Amnesty International USA's Program to Abolish the Death Penalty invites individuals of all faiths to participate in the 2003 National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty during the weekend of October 10-12 by reflecting, discussing and taking action on the death penalty.

To participate and register go to: http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/faithinaction.html or contact: Kristin Houlé at: 202-544-0200 ext. 496 or e-mail: khoule@aiusa.org or write to:

Amnesty International USA
Program to Abolish the Death Penalty Attn: NWFA
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20003

All participants receive a comprehensive Faith in Action Resource Guidebook http://www.amnestyusa.org/faithinaction/resourceguidebook.pdf which includes organizing tools and ideas for anti-death penalty activities, as well as other resource materials.

Ways to Participate

-Deliver a sermon on the issue of the death penalty.

-Lead a prayer or meditation chant focused on the victims and perpetrators of violence.

-Hold discussions on the death penalty in religious education classes.

-Host an interfaith vigil or breakfast, with featured speakers.

-Adopt a resolution calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

-Create a support group for all victims of violence.

Dead Man Walking

The film, Dead Man Walking, is an excellent tool to initiate discussion about the death penalty. It is well known for its balanced portrayal of the issue and has been acclaimed by people of different personal beliefs about capital punishment. The film can be found at most video rental stores.