Statement on the Death Penalty From the Archdiocese of Washington Department of Life Issues

Below is a statement from the archdiocesan Department of Life Issues about yesterday’s news regarding the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee.

On Tuesday, July 14, the federal government ended an 18-year-long moratorium on the federal death penalty with the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the dignity of the human person is never lost, even in the most serious crimes, stating, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” (CCC, 2267).

Four federal prisoners are scheduled to be executed this summer including Wesley Purkey, whose execution is scheduled for Thursday, July 16.

The death penalty brings social harm that must be recognized. A disproportionate number of people of color and persons with intellectual disabilities are unjustly sentenced to the death penalty and executed each year.

As Catholics, we are called in prayer and action to oppose injustice, which stands in conflict to our belief in the dignity of all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or social status.