Respect Life Video Series: Abolish the Death Penalty

The recording of our third Saturday program in the Renewal Center’s Respect Life Challenge is now available.

“Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?” asks Jean Swymeler to begin her presentation on abolishing the death penalty Oct. 16 during the third session of the Renewal Centers’ October discussion series on respect life issues. Jean then made a five-point argument advocating for the abolition of the death penalty.

Connie Swymeler described for the participants, who joined us in person and by live stream, her personal conversion to opposing the death penalty. Most people don’t oppose capital punishment because they really haven’t thought about it, Connie believes. That is why she stresses the importance of “taking the issue out of the closet and talking about it.”

Jean and Connie are members of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Both live in St. Joseph, Missouri. They regularly lobby state legislators and host public demonstrations to raise awareness of the issues. They are available to address other groups.

Below are some resources mentioned during the study session.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty — A state organization working for abolition of the death penalty.

Catholic Mobilizing Network — A national organization that coordinates state efforts to abolish capital punishment and to advocate for criminal just reform.

First Friday Virtual Prayer Vigil — On the First Friday of each month, Catholic Mobilizing Network holds a Virtual Prayer Vigil to lament upcoming executions and bear witness to the inviolable dignity of all human life.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

  • The Book: This is the memoir of Bryan Stevenson, a young Harvard-trained lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship–and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Published in 2014 by Spiegel & Grau, the book spent more than 180 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers List
  • The Movie: Award-winning filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (“The Glass Castle,” “Short Term 12”) directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote, based on Bryan Stevenson’s bestselling memoir. It stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson, Jamie Foxx as McMillian and Brie Larson.

Read more about our respect life series and watch recordings of the programs here.

Topics for the rest of the month are:

Oct 23 — Preventing Gun Violence
Gun violence is a growing concern in our country. We will meet two priests who addressed that situation in their parish ministry. We will learn what they did and why. Guest speakers: Fathers Joseph Uecker, C.PP.S., and Mike Goode C.PP.S.

Oct. 30 — Grieving Miscarriage or Stillborn
We will meet mothers who have lost a child through a miscarriage or a stillbirth. They will tell us about the grieving process and how to find ongoing support. Guest Speakers: Kara Palladino, Colleen Sullivan, and Deacon Gerard-Marie Anthony from A Mom’s Peace, in Virginia.

All sessions run from 10-11:30 a.m. central time. Register to attend in person or join via live stream.


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