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Posted June 19, 2013

Book: Where Justice and Mercy Meet: Catholic Opposition to the Death Penalty
Editors: Vicki Schieber, Trudy D. Conway, and David Matzko McCarthy
Liturgical Press. Collegeville, Minn. 2013. Pp. 225

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Where Justice and Mercy Meet comprehensively explores the Catholic stance against capital punishment in new and important ways. The broad perspective of this book has been shaped in conversation with the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty (CMN), as well as through the witness of family members of murder victims and the spiritual advisors of condemned inmates.

The book offers the reader new insight into the debates about capital punishment; provides revealing, and sometimes surprising, information about methods of execution; and explores national and international trends and movements related to the death penalty. It also addresses how the death penalty has been intertwined with racism, the high percentage of the mentally disabled on death row, and how the death penalty disproportionately affects the poor.

An Excerpt from the book:

Society can become "ever more human" only when we introduce into all the mutual relationships which form its moral aspect the moment of forgiveness, which is so much of the essence of the Gospel. Forgiveness demonstrates the presence in the world of the love which is more powerful than sin. Forgiveness is also the fundamental condition for reconciliation, not only in the relationship of God with man, but also in relationships between people. A world of which forgiveness was eliminated would be nothing but a world of cold and unfeeling justice, in the name of which each person would claim his or her own rights vis-à-vis others; the various kinds of selfishness latent in man would transform life and human society into a system of oppression of the weak by the strong, or into an arena of permanent strife between one group and another.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: The Death Penalty Today

1. Facing the truth

2. Seeing ourselves from an international perspective

3. Trying to get it right

4. The power of stories

Part 2: A Christian rethinking of the death penalty

5. Forgiveness and healing

6. Jesus Christ and sacrifice

7. Hebrew scriptures

8. The bible and the church

Part 3: Church teaching on capital punishment

9. The Catholic moral tradition

10. The church today

11. The catechism in historical perspective

12. The death penalty in the catechetical tradition

Part 4: The last of these

13. Money matters

14. A legacy of race

15. Vulnerabilities and risks

16. A matter of discipleship