Catholic Theologians Push to Abolish Capital Punishment

Article excerpt

More than 330 Catholic theologians have signed a statement calling on the United States to abolish capital punishment, and asking the church to work "unwaveringly" toward that goal.

The statement, issued Sept. 26 on the Catholic Moral Theology blog, came five days after the controversial Sept. 21 execution in Georgia of Troy Davis. Amnesty International, along with a number of faith and justice groups, had said that "serious doubts" remained over Davis' guilt in the 1989 murder of a police officer.

Signing their names along with the institution where they teach, overwhelmingly at Catholic colleges and universities, the theologians reference church teachings on capital punishment and say they "deplore and lament the killing of Troy Davis" and "decry the death sentences of the more than 3,200 inmates on death row."

Tobias Winright, an assistant professor in theology at St. Louis University who helped draft the statement, said in a phone interview that the high number of theologians who have signed indicates the movement to abolish the death penalty is backed by professors across the country, of every age and political stripe.

"We've had signers from North to South, West to East," Winright said. …