January 8, 2021

Archbishop to speak at virtual vigil on Jan. 12 prior to federal execution

By Natalie Hoefer

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson will participate in an online vigil from 2-3 p.m. on Jan. 12 prior to the scheduled execution of death-row inmate Lisa Montgomery at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute.

The virtual vigil is offered by Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN).

“CMN’s Virtual Prayer Vigils offer a space to pray and lament as a faith community in the face of these wrong-headed attacks on human dignity,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of the non-profit organization. “Vigils feature prayers, petitions and Scripture reflections from Catholic bishops, Church leaders, and other allies from across the abolition movement.”

In response to the reinstatement of the federal death penalty last summer after a 17-year hiatus, Archbishop Thompson issued a statement on June 18, 2020. In it, he noted that, “In accordance with the revision of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as promulgated by Pope Francis, ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.’ … The Church has consistently held up the dignity of the person and sacredness of life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

While noting the inmates’ “grave criminal acts … cannot be overlooked,” Archbishop Thompson added that the “taking of life, no matter how ‘sanitary’ or ‘humane,’ is always an act of violence. … I make this plea against the death penalty out of ultimate concern for the eternal soul of humanity.”

To sign up for the Jan. 12 vigil or the CMN vigils scheduled from 2-3 p.m. on Jan. 14 and 15 prior to the pending federal executions of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs, respectively, go to catholicsmobilizing.org/virtual-vigils.

For updates on currently scheduled executions, go to catholicsmobilizing.org/death-penalty/executions. †

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