Raleigh Franciscans Speak Against Capital Punishment

Donna Smith In the Headlines

RALEIGH, N.C. — Representatives from St. Francis of Assisi Church here participated earlier this month in the final session of the North Carolina House Select Committee on Capital Punishment.

David McBriar, associate pastor of St. Francis, Catherine Macri, and Megan Nerz, Director of the Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace, spoke during the public hearing.

The presence of more than 100 moratorium supporters, mostly from the Franciscan Coalition, sent a strong message to legislators on the study committee. A new moratorium bill will be introduced when the 2007 General Assembly convenes later this month. In the meantime, the Franciscan Coalition is gearing up to educate and mobilize St. Francis parishioners as well as Catholics across eastern North Carolina.

In their presentation, the St. Francis of Assisi reps described why they are in favor of a two-year moratorium on executions.

“We asking this committee to whatever is in their power to advance the moratorium effort in order to enact the reforms that will result in a capital punishment process that, while inherently hard, is at least safer and fairer,” Megan said.

“The Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace is a parish based advocacy group committed to the sacredness of life and the dignity of the human person,” she added. “We engage Catholics and people of good will in the process of shaping public policy to be in keeping with Catholic Social teaching and the tradition of our patron, Francis of Assisi.  We do this through issue education, public witness, policy advocacy, and grassroots empowerment.