check it out

The Biblical Truth About America’s Death Penalty, by Dale S. Recinella. Northeastern University Press. 433 pp.

In this book Dale S. Recinella examines the biblical passages from the Hebrew Scriptures often used to support the death penalty. The author was originally a pro-death-penalty lawyer. Eventually, he left the practice of criminal law because of a violent incarcerated client. Working and studying theology in Rome, he encountered a Jewish lawyer who had done research on ancient Hebrew practices regarding the death penalty. This and his ministry to the prison population on Florida’s death row changed everything. He set about to research the biblical foundations that many Americans cite as support for the death penalty.

Recinella does a thorough job of analyzing the Scripture passages most often quoted by “Bible-belt Christians”: “an eye for an eye,” the Rule of Blood found in Genesis 9:6, and others. He concludes that the conditions for the death penalty in the Hebrew Scriptures are not met in the United States, supporting this position with actual cases. Recinella also points out that these biblical arguments exclude the New Testament values of grace and forgiveness, ignoring atonement by Jesus.

Recinella suggests that people of faith adopt the position of restorative justice, which requires mutual accountability, a covenant relationship. Offenders are accountable to society for their wrongdoing, but society is accountable for its failing with regard to the offender. Restorative justice can include punishment, but must go beyond it by seeking to restore the community, the victims and the offender.

Bright Ideas

Bless the Bees

You probably don’t think about bees very often except to avoid them. But bees are one of our best pollinators. Almost 75 percent of flowering plants need pollinators to produce fruit and seeds. If bees and other pollinators disappear, we lose a third of our food supply…no apples, berries, coffee, orange juice, etc. Bees have been declining dramatically in recent decades due to urban development, agriculture, etc.  But you can help by: Protecting, enhancing or restoring native wildflower habitat; providing nesting sites like partially bare ground with leaf pieces or mud; not using pesticides; advocating for bees with neighbors and policymakers.

Resources / Links
Ethical Eating: This booklet in the “live simply” series from Franciscan Media offers facts, encouragement and practical tips for seeking simplicity in the food we eat.  It helps with choosing more wholesome foods, appreciating the land, animals and farmers that provide it, and understanding the social, economic and environmental ties between physical and spiritual nourishment.  You can order it at
Wholly Healthy: This booklet of the “live simply” series from Franciscan Media offers tips to help you live a simpler life, and to balance your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Cost is $1.99.  Order from Franciscan Media at .
Instruments of Christ: Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi: In this booklet, the author, Albert Haase, OFM, reflects on each phrase of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, offering the reader ideas of what it means to truly be a peacemaker. He challenges us to look beyond ourselves and toward God and all of humanity. Published by Franciscan Media. Cost is $8.99. You can order it at .

The Holy See
National Catholic Conference of Bishops (NCCB) and the United States Catholic Conference (USCC)
Franciscan Media
Zenit: Catholic News from Rome
Order of Friars Minor (OFM) International Web Site
Consistent Life (formerly Seamless Garment Network)
Earth Ministry
Secular Franciscan Order’s Ecology Commission
USCCB Environmental Justice Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Web of Creation
St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor
Franciscan Action Network (FAN)
The Franciscan Center for Social Concern at St. Bonaventure University
Franciscans International at the United Nations (Geneva and New York)
Bread for the World
Center of Concern in Washington, D.C.
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends Committee on National Legislation
National Right to Life Committee
Network: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Catholic Peace Fellowship
Global Peace Services USA
The Institute for Peace and Justice
Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service
Pax Christi USA
1,000 Years of Peace, sponsored by St. Anthony Messenger Press
Teaching Tolerance
Los Alamos Study Group