You all know that I am a Pro-lifer in the strictest since of the word. I do not support abortion, Euthanasia, suicide (although those who do are deeply troubled), and the death penalty. In the United States, my lack of support for abortion makes me conservative, but because I don't support the death penalty, in the US, I would be called a liberal. I prefer to think of myself as somewhere in between: a moderate or a true to life Pro-lifer.
I feel that the death penalty is wrong for a number of reasons. One, recently technology has shown that some death row inmates are innocent of their crimes and some who have been executed have also been exonerated. There are a high number of death row inmates who are African-American compared to Caucasian inmates. And of those inmates many of them come from poor backgrounds. Most death row inmates are male. Very few women are executed.
Two, in the Bible Jesus forgives one of the prisoners from on the cross for his crime. (Luke 23: 43) Yes, he was a thief and not a murderer, but no one can't be redeemed through Christ.
Three the Catechism says:
CCC 2267: If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
In other words, because the US has an excellent prison system in which to incarcerate these aggressors, we no longer have a legitimate reason to keep the death penalty going. You may disagree as to how well our prison system is, but I think it is good enough to "protect public order and the safety of persons."
Four the Unites States Council of Catholic Bishops has called for a moratorium on the death penalty in the United States for 25 years. They even have a website promoting their campaign complete with teachings and resources pertaining to the matter.
So what is one to do? Well, I live in Arizona, a state high in the number of executions. In fact we have at least one scheduled for the next three months. If you're like me, you can always write to your governor asking for the death penalty to expire. You can contact your congressman/senator at the state level asking them to draft a bill to end the death penalty. You can also protest outside the place of execution. With the internet, it's not difficult to find an organization already ready to do that. You can also pray. Pray that the inmate will receive God's grace. Pray that healing begins for the victim's family. And pray for the victim, that they are resting in the peace of God.
But mostly what I'm asking fellow Catholics to do is adopt a from cradle to natural death stance. I'm asking those who are ardent anti-abortionists to also start talking to other anti-abortionists about why the death penalty needs to be eliminated. Why our tax dollars will continue to kill others even if Planned Parenthood looses it's federal support dollars. We need to be vocal about this. We need more momentum in this movement. And we need to express our sincere sorrow to the victims' families.
35 states have the death penalty. Yours might be one.
Governor Robert Bentley
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