Here is a link to an article by Father John Dear S.J. in the National Catholic Reporter:
Abolish the Death Penalty Now!
National Catholic Reporter
Capital punishment can claim nothing to commend it. It will not bring healing or justice or restitution. It offers no hope for a nonviolent society. It reinforces the heart-rending cycle of violence; it lays the burden of yet another murder. Execution gives death as social purpose ever greater sway. When a nation decides who lives, who dies, it becomes small potatoes indeed for it to manipulate who enjoys full civil rights, who doesn’t, who partakes of the fat of the suburbs, who subsists in the crumbling cities. And of course who goes off to war to fatten the American way of life, and who remains home to pluck the fat fruit and pursue affluent careers.
Whenever I travel to Europe, the people I meet loquaciously express dismay at American notions of justice. Especially in Italy. Catholic groups in Italy regularly hold conferences and prayer vigils against our capital punishment. Every time someone is executed, the lights of the Coliseum in Rome are illuminated all night. Here is a symbolic gesture to set us blushing, a censure lighting the dark: namely, American jurisprudence bears resemblance to that of the savage Roman Caesars’.
~ John Dear, S.J.