SSJ Celebrate PA Bill 999 Repeal of Death Penalty

Repeal the Death Penalty

Bipartisan effort to repeal the death penalty takes a major step forward in Pennsylvania

On October 31, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia joined State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia and other advocates at a news conference to celebrate the successful bipartisan approval of House Bill 999 by the PA House Judiciary Committee that would repeal Pennsylvania’s death penalty. According to his office, the action marked the first time in nearly 25 years that such legislation had been voted on in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Sisters Catherine Nerney and Colleen Dauerbach attended the committee hearing, were introduced on the house floor, and provided remarks rooted in our charism and the Congregation’s 1998 corporate stand against capital punishment.

Sister Catherine Nerney, SSJ has directed the Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Chestnut Hill College with a mandate to foster a culture, locally and globally, that is an alternative to the dominant culture of violence, divisions and retaliation that threatens the very well-being of our children and our planet. Sister Colleen Dauerbach, SSJ serves as the director of the SSJ Center for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, which affirms that justice is a constitutive element of the Gospel message while providing education, reflection, and advocacy resources to engage and animate sisters, associates, partners in mission, and collaborators. Their testimony centered the dignity of all human life and supported the provisions in this bill that would “strip death penalty protocol from existing statutes on crime, the judiciary and prisons, and parole.”

The important vote out of committee on Tuesday initiates movement toward the house floor where the bill would be debated and potentially amended. A companion bill in the senate is forthcoming. Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro has indicated that he would sign a repeal if it came to his desk. There is much work to be done to ensure that this forward momentum continues and we labor faithfully believing that one day state sanctioned murder will be fully abolished in Pennsylvania.

News coverage: 


Supporting resources:

  1. Helpful backgrounder on moving from a moratorium to abolishment:
  2. Catholic Mobilizing Network: