Thursday, December 15, 2005
Bishop DiMarzio wrote:
"It is not my intent in any way to diminish the responsibility of those who have committed terrible crimes; however, this execution can only compound the violence that already exists in our society." "As pastors who minister to both the victims of capital crimes and those who sit on death row," he continued, "we strongly believe that the use of the death penalty diminishes all of us when a man or woman is killed on our behalf." The bishop said that a recent pastoral statement of the U.S. prelates urges society to restrict itself to "other non-lethal means...Such non-violent measures," he wrote the governor, "can give the offender time to repent for his or her crime and allow the possibility of receiving God's grace. …" "For us this is not about ideology, but a fundamental respect for life. We do not believe that you can teach that killing is wrong by killing. We do not believe that you can defend life by taking life. In his encyclical 'The Gospel of Life,' Pope John Paul II challenged all followers of Christ to be 'unconditionally pro-life.' While this is not an easy path to follow it is a challenge to which we are all personally called."
Catholic Catechism on Death Penalty
#2267: Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."