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Unit 33/Podcast

What Catholics believe about the death penalty

In this conversation, Edmund interviews Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy, Executive Director of Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), about the Fifth Commandment and the work of CMN in promoting the value of life over death.

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Show Notes

(00:00 ) Edmund introduces Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy, Executive Director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN). Krisanne shares her journey into faith-based advocacy, driven by a desire to address social justice issues. She discusses her inspiration from Pope Francis and the film “Dead Man Walking,” emphasizing the importance of examining societal norms and moral convictions regarding the death penalty.

(09:26 ) In this segment, Edmund and Krisanne discuss surprising facts about the death penalty. Krisanne highlights that 70% of the world has deemed the death penalty illegal or immoral, contrasting with the US’s stance. They delve into its historical and racial context, citing that half of US states still uphold it, driven by misconceptions about deterrence and retribution. Krisanne also reveals the staggering number of exonerations from death row and emphasizes the system’s inherent flaws and injustices.

(20:41) Edmund and Krisanne discuss the Church’s teaching regarding the death penalty and the revisions to paragraph 2267 of the Catechism in 2018. They clarify that the Church’s teaching never fundamentally changed, but the practical application changed with society’s capacity to protect itself from criminals without resorting to death. The revision reflects a clear stance against the death penalty, aligning with the consistent call for human dignity.

(28:10 ) Krisanne reflects on the profound message in paragraph 2267 of the Catechism, emphasizing the importance of not depriving anyone, regardless of their crime, of the possibility of redemption. She draws parallels to St. Paul’s conversion, highlighting the abundant mercy of God. Edmund resonates with the counterintuitive nature of the Gospel, which challenges conventional notions of justice. They conclude with a call to action, urging listeners to engage in restorative justice efforts and advocate against the death penalty.

Continue this Unit


What makes life distinctly human and special?


What the Catechism says about respect for human life


When Should You Fight for Your Life?

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