In this podcast we hear from the founder of the Cherish Life Circle in New York City, an agency that reaches out to the families of murder victims and to the criminal.

This podcast made available from Vatican Radio

death_penalty

source – Cherish Life

The Cherish Life Circle is a group founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1993 to provide support for a circle of friends opposed to the death penalty, which had surfaced as a major issue during the New York gubernatorial race.

Religious sisters from several congregations, a few priests and lay people had united in various combinations over the years around social issues in conflict with our Gospel values. When capital punishment threatened our neighborhood, we came together to pray and plan how we might expand the dialogue by presenting a faith-based perspective. We understood that many good people, including relatives and friends, supported capital punishment. Our task, as we saw it, was to reveal our position in a non-condemnatory manner.

The Declaration of Life

The tool that came to our attention was a personal statement, adhering to the sacredness of all life. At its heart are these words:

“I hereby declare that should I die as a result of violent crime, I request that the person or person found guilty for my killing not be subject to, or put in jeopardy of the death penalty under any circumstances, no matter how heinous their crime, or how much I have suffered.”

The tool that came to our attention was a personal statement, adhering to the sacredness of all life. At its heart are these words:

“I hereby declare that should I die as a result of violent crime, I request that the person or person found guilty for my killing not be subject to, or put in jeopardy of the death penalty under any circumstances, no matter how heinous their crime, or how much I have suffered.”

Available in English and Spanish, this non-legally binding document is to be signed and notarized before witnesses and filed with appropriate papers: property wills, living will, organ donor cards. In the event of death by murder, those closest to the deceased would be expected to provide the document for the court’s consideration.

Once a person has signed The Declaration, a wallet card attesting to the conviction recorded in the document, is available from our Cherish Life Circle.