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Pray that the dignity and right to religious freedom of incarcerated persons would be respected.

Pope Francis has spoken of the throwaway culture, a culture in which people are treated like objects to be discarded when they are not “useful.”  That culture can manifest itself in how our society treats people in the criminal justice system.  In Arkansas, a Muslim man had to fight in court to grow a half-inch beard.  Similarly, Jewish prisoners in some states have struggled to be permitted to receive kosher meals.  Recently, a Muslim man in Alabama could not have his imam present with him when he was executed.  Catholic teaching on religious liberty is rooted in the dignity of the human person.  That dignity is not lost when a person commits a crime.  And traditionally, Catholics have understood ministry to prisoners as a work of mercy.  Indeed, Catholics hope that incarcerated persons find strength in their faith.  For American culture to be one of life, not a throwaway culture, our criminal justice system needs to recognize the dignity of all people.

Find out how you can support Catholic prison ministry.  In many dioceses, Catholic Charities coordinates prison ministry.  Contact your diocese to see what you can do to participate in this ministry of care for incarcerated persons.

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