NEW YORK – Catholic leaders are cheering Colorado’s abolition of the death penalty – a move they say is fueled by new momentum following the revision to the Catholic Catechism to officially ban the practice and one that signals a westward expansion in the U.S. of the death penalty’s
repeal.

Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on Monday, March 23, while also commuting the sentences of three death row inmates, as the state
now becomes the 22nd in the country to repeal the practice.

“By outlawing the death penalty, Colorado has taken a critical step toward respecting the dignity of human life,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network in a statement.

“Catholic Mobilizing Network believes that no matter the harm one has caused or suffered, each person ought to be treated with dignity and have the opportunity for redemption and healing,” she continued. “Today, Colorado makes that possible.”

Sister Helen Prejean, a death penalty abolitionist who has worked with death row inmates for decades, praised the decision as triumph of collaboration between faith communities and other civil society groups.

“Alleluia! I’m celebrating the citizen activists of Colorado who, with stellar collaboration from the legal, law enforcement, education, and faith communities, steadily changed hearts and minds to arrive at this life-affirming day,” she wrote on social media.

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Photo of prison cell taken by Ichigo121212 on Pixababy.