Out of the Closet
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
March 5, 2008
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed
Upcoming Events: Dale S. Recinella

Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty
Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America.

The presentation is a condensed version of the program approved by the Bishops of Florida and offered during 2007 in every diocese in Florida to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty.

Dale’s book, The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty, will be available for purchase and signing.

Monday March 31st - FLORIDA
7 – 8:30 pm in the Parish Hall
Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
8523 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221
For information, contact Ms.Peg Baker ph. (904) 477-7252 or email: jmbake56@bellsouth.net


Out of the Closet
By: Dale Recinella

After Mass, the Catholic inmates and those studying the faith gather in the chapel library for the Catholic hour.


This is a time of fellowship and instruction. Frequently it also turns out to be a time for correcting the “politically correct” misinformation about Catholicism that thrives in north Florida’s prisons.

Today is no exception. A pleasant middle-aged man who is preparing for Easter initiation into the Church raises his hand.

“Since I started studying the Catholic faith, I’ve been bombarded: Catholics are all going to hell. Catholics aren’t saved. Catholics aren’t even Christian. What is all this about?”

“In a word: ignorance,” I shake my head. “You were all here a few weeks ago when a non-Catholic fellow inmate explained that in a Protestant service he was being taught that the Pope is the antichrist and that the ashes worn by Catholics on the forehead at Lent are the mark of the beast from the Book of Revelations. We asked him to show us the Scriptural support for this. There wasn’t any at all. He had been fed someone’s ignorant misinterpretation of the Scriptures. He assumed they knew what they were talking about. They didn’t.”

“Even so,” the catechumen stands to raise another issue, “the attacks on Catholics never stop. I’ve also been challenged with this: if the Catholic Church is the true church, than why are Catholics a minority religion? Why are our materials kept in the ‘cult closet’ and not put out with the other Christian materials in the prison chapel library?”

We all know that the “cult closet” is the prison slang term for the small storage room where all non-Christian circulation library materials are kept. It’s officially called the “minority religion” library. Christian library materials for circulation are kept in the main chapel library. Catholic materials for circulation are not allowed to be kept with the Christian lending library.

“Look, don’t ask me to explain other people’s erroneous conclusions. All I can do is give you the facts. And here are the facts.”

“Number one, the State of Florida Department of Corrections has to guarantee freedom of religious practice. That means they are concerned about minority religions at each prison. That designation has nothing to do with the number of people that practice a faith in the country or in the world. It only looks at the percentage of people of a given faith in a particular prison. Most of the people in this prison are Protestant. So, the State of Florida calls Catholics at this prison a minority religion.”

“Does that mean the State of Florida has decided that Catholics aren’t Christian?”

“No, absolutely not,” I waive my hand. “Minority religion status protects denominations too.”

“So, why are Catholics in the cult closet and other Christians aren’t?”

“I don’t have a clue. Let me give you some more facts. Way more than half of all the Christians in the whole world are Catholic. There are 1,100,000,000 Catholic Christians in the world. That’s more than twice the total number of Protestant Christians in the world. As for our country, according to the U.S. government as of 1998, there were over 61,000,000 Catholics in the U.S. The next largest Christian denomination in America was Southern Baptist with about 15,000,000 members. All the other Protestant denominations are much, much smaller. So Catholic Christians in America outnumber the next largest Christian group by 4-to-1 and outrank most of the largest others by 12-to-1 or more.”

“So why are our materials in the cult closet? Why are we treated like a non-Christian religion?”

“I don’t know, brother. I can only answer from what’s real. And that conclusion can’t be supported by reality.”

---- UPDATE: Within two weeks after this article appeared in the statewide Florida Catholic newspaper, the Catholic materials were removed from the cult closet and placed in the general circulation library of the chapel with other Christian materials. _____



First published: The Florida Catholic, January 4, 2001
© 2001 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

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This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.



This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach