Pope John Paul II
Statement from July 9, 2000
“We are still a long way from the time when our conscience can be certain of having done everything possible, to prevent crime and to control it effectively, so that it no longer does harm; and at the same time, to offer to those who commit crimes a way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return to society.”
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Responsibility, Rehabilitation & Restoration – November 2000
A Catholic approach recognizes that the dignity of the human person applies to both victim and offender. Our tradition and faith call us to hold offenders accountable and challenge them to change, reach out to the victims and reject “vengeance” (death penalty), restore a sense of community and resist violence which engulfs our culture today. Restorative Justice seeks to address crime in terms of the harm done to both the victim and community, not simply a violation of the law. Also, it insists that the offender come to grips with consequences of their actions, while at the same time our faith which calls us to hold people accountable, but to forgive and to heal.
Texas Catholic Bishops
Texas Catholic Action Plan for Criminal Justice – June 2006
Arch/Diocesan Level – Appoint CJM director, ministry budget, inventory of facilities, volunteer database, ministry needs in prisons/jails, recruit & train, harness support from Catholic services – SVDP, KOC, ACTS, etc.
Parish Level – Identify parish CJM coordinator, awareness & education, adopt a facility, provide materials, develop support group and assist with re-entry.
State Level – Collaborate with Texas Catholic Correctional Ministers (TCCM), bring actions to Texas Catholic Conference (TCC), hold CJM conferences, work with Texas legislatures on areas of CJ reform, identify areas of ecumenical cooperation.