Respect Life: Mercy Behind Bars

Communications • Thu, Oct 19 2017 at 1:18pm
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Capital Punishment/Mercy behind Bars

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.’"

What we do locally:

  • Prison Apostolate in the Archdiocese - email or call 504-267-9727
  • Cornerstone Builders in the Archdiocese - support for those who are in prison, were in prison, & their families
  • Packages of Mercy...Aiding the Reentry Program by providing care packages to those who have just been released from prison & have no family.  The care packages should include things like men's toiletries, razors, towels, new undergarments, & other basic items, plus a note of encouragement.  Email the Respect Life Office for more information.

  • Messages of Mercy... Become a pen pal with a prisoner.  email the Respect Life Office to sign up.
  • Mentors of Mercy...Connecting interested volunteers to be mentors for children of those incarcerated.  Those who are interested would be connected with Catholic Charities' Cornerstone Builders.  Please email the Respect LIfe Office to sign up.

  • Journeys of Mercy… the local bus leaving from the New Orleans area travels to a correctional facility in LA on the 3rd Saturday of each month.  Anyone interested in joining us as we journey with the families who will visit their loved ones & to be there as prayerful support is welcome.  We travel with the family members of those who are incarcerated.  On the rides to & from the prison, we visit with the family members themselves, who make this very difficult journey when the bus is able to take them.  While they are making their 2 hour visit with their incarcerated loved ones, we spend time in prayer.  They need our support & our love.  In order to join me, please email the Respect Life Office.  To insure your seat on the bus I will need your name & phone number



For those who are prisoners:

Those laid low, rise up, stand in the light and find your feet. It is so hard to get up when we feel we have dropped off not just God’s radar, but everyone else’s as well. It is hard to have faith when so many things seem to have gone wrong, when we are stuck in shame and paralysed by fear of the future. This is not all that there is; the light of God’s presence shines in the darkest place and is not and cannot be overcome.

Loving Lord you always come to meet us wherever we are. Give to all those serving sentences in our prisons the strength to lift first their eyes and then their hearts to recognise your light. Raise them up to stand in your presence and serve you, set them free from the power of darkness, make them ready to start again and learn to walk in your Light. In Jesus’ name.



October 20
The annual Symposium for Systemic Change, sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, & the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, will be held on Friday October 20 from 8am until 2:30pm at the Tracy Center, 1800 S Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge.  For registration or more information please contact Angela Wattler at 985-966-3846.  
October 21 
Journeys of Mercy… A bus will be traveling on Saturday October 21 to the Rayburn Correctional Facility in Angie, LA.  Please consider joining us as we journey with the families who will visit their loved ones & to be there as prayerful support. Please email the Respect Life Office ASAP if you are interested in riding with the families in support & prayer.  For more information email

Please visit the website for more information on Capital Punishment…