Category : Catholic News

Holy Week and the Death Penalty

The article, “400+ Catholic and evangelical leaders want to kill the death penalty” from The Washington Post, talks about the recent letter from Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza that supports the abolishment of the death penalty in the US. The letter was signed by hundreds of Catholic and evangelical leaders, including professors from IPS. 


“As Christians preparing for the holy days of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, we speak out with renewed urgency against the death penalty. Torture and execution is always a profound evil, made even more abhorrent when sanctioned by the government in the name of justice when other means of protecting society are available. All who reverence the sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, must never remain silent when firing squads, lethal injections, electric chairs and other instruments of death are viewed as morally acceptable.

We urge governors, prosecutors, judges and anyone entrusted with power to do all that they can to end a practice that diminishes our humanity and contributes to a culture of violence and retribution without restoration. We especially ask public officials who are Christian to join us in the solidarity of prayer this week as we meditate on the wounds of injustice that sicken our society. In many ways, capital punishment is the rotten fruit of a culture that is sown with the seeds of poverty, inequality, racism and indifference to life. We silence our hearts in prayer for those killed and families who mourn their loss. We can never know your pain and anger. Let us work together for healing, restorative justice and a system that punishes criminals without bringing more darkness and death into our world. As Pope Francis has reminded us, capital punishment is “cruel, inhumane and degrading” and “does not bring justice to the victims, but only foments revenge.”

It remains a shameful reality that the United States is one of the few developed nations in the world that still executes its citizens. Last week, the governor of Utah signed a bill that will bring back firing squads. Missouri recently executed a prisoner with severe brain damage. In Georgia, hundreds of clergy and other faith leaders have asked the state to commute the death sentence of Kelly Gissendaner, a Christian and student of theology, to life without parole. Several botched executions in recent years have pulled back the veil on this inhumane and ineffective practice. We are heartened by polling that shows Americans are increasingly opposed to the death penalty. Now is a critical time. The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it would take up an appeal by a Florida death-row inmate challenging the state’s capital sentencing procedure, which permits inmates to be executed even when the jury is not unanimous. In April, The Supreme Court will hear a case that will decide the constitutionality of lethal injection protocols in Oklahoma.

In this sacred season of suffering, death and new life, we pray that our simple Christian witness is received with open hearts.”

In faith,

Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza (Ret.) Former President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Houston, TX


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Loyola IPS Honors Ignatian Heritage and Sponsors Teach-in for Justice

It is Ignatian Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than by attending the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ).

With a exceptional list of speakers and an expected attendance of 1,300 people, IFTJ is happy to offer members of the Ignatian family the chance to unite in social justice to learn, reflect, pray, network and advocate together. This event prides itself on being a place where participants are empowered, inspired, challenged and supported by a community that sees faith and justice integrally linked.


This year, Assistant Professor Marian Diaz will be representing Loyola IPS at the teach-in. She will be hosting a workshop on Sunday 11/16 entitled, Planting the Seeds of Voluntary Poverty: The Call to Life Amidst the Poor and Oppressed. “This presentation will explore the experiences of persons who have chosen voluntary poverty as a way of life and its impact on their work for justice. Special attention will be paid to how this hard choice represents a spiritual incarnation of the gospel and a redefinition of power.”

In addition, Diaz will be attending keynotes and meeting with colleagues who work on behalf of justice in ecclesial and governmental positions during her time in Washington, D.C.

Though this is her first time attending, she knows many of the presenters and has worked with many people in the area of social justice from Jesuit colleges and universities. Diaz is positive that this event will be worth the trip and encourages students to attend.

“Students who attend this teach-in can expect to meet many other students and professionals who share their passion for social justice. The people who attend have varied interests, backgrounds and approaches to advocacy. They will have time to focus on policy, public witness and prayer. The list of break-out sessions look amazing! The challenge will be deciding which one to attend!  Students will come away with new connections, new knowledge and renewed energy in their work toward rooting out injustice,” commented Diaz.

Loyola IPS is proud to be a Xavier Level Sponsor of this wonderful event. We look forward to hearing about the experiences of our faculty and students who attend the teach-in!

Be sure to stop by the IPS table in the exhibition hall. Enrollment Advisor Chrissy Sofranko will be present from 4pm  to 10:30pm on Saturday, 11/16, and from 8am to 8pm on Sunday, 11/17!

To learn more about the event and to register, visit The Ignatian Solidarity Network.

IPS offers travel grants to students wishing to attend events such as this. Download the form here.


For more news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! 

Loyola Looks to the Future with New Archbishop

This past weekend, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, to succeed Cardinal Francis George as the Archbishop of Chicago.

We would like to personally add our congratulations to Archbishop-designate Cupich and look forward to working with him to meet the needs of the Archdiocese of Chicago!

This is a time of joy and hope for the people of the Archdiocese and we share that joy and hope in a profound way.

Welcome Archbishop-designate Cupich!

Bishop Blase Cupich, 65
Bishop Blase Cupich, 65

Cupich, is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and is one of nine children raised in a devout Catholic home. In 1975, he was ordained a priest in his hometown and went on to become Bishop of Rapid City in 1998. He has been Bishop of Spokane since 2010.

Cupich has been successful at guiding the 100,000 Catholics in Spokane, but asks for patience as he gets to know the 2.2 million Catholics in Chicago. Cupich smiled during the press conference on Saturday, saying that he looks forward to personally meeting every member of the Archdiocese.

“The Holy Father’s appointment of me to Chicago humbles but also encourages me… I bow my head in the hope that everyone in Chicago will pray for me in the days ahead,” requested Cupich.

Being the country’s third largest Roman Catholic diocese, Chicago plays a vital role in the American church. Watch to find out more about what Cupich has planned for its future.

It is clear to see that Cupich takes a highly personal approach to his leadership style. He has already been on a whirlwind tour of the Archdiocese and we look forward to his future visit here at Loyola.

Archbishop-designate Cupich will be installed on November 18 as the ninth archbishop of Chicago.