Denver bishops’ statement on the death penalty
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

July 9, 2002


Like all good citizens, Catholics want justice for both the innocent and the guilty. But we do not believe the death penalty accomplishes that for either.


The death penalty doesn’t work as a deterrent. It doesn’t give anyone “closure” because only forgiveness can do that. And finally it diminishes all of us - the executioners - by reducing us to the same violence as the murderer.


Catholics can respect proposals to make the death penalty contingent on a unanimous jury decision. This approach clearly does a better job of protecting the rights of the accused and the interests of society than our current system. But — more importantly — we need to root all of our thinking about the death penalty in the sanctity of the human person. All life is sacred. Every person, even the murderer, is a child of God with God-given dignity. As a result, except in the most extreme circumstances, capital punishment cannot be justified. In developed countries like our own, it should have no place in our public life.


We believe the time is right for Coloradans to put all executions on hold. We believe the time is right to think deeply and carefully about the kind of justice we want to witness to our young people. We don’t need to kill people to protect society. We don’t need to kill people to punish the guilty. And we should never be in a hurry to take anyone’s life.


As the assembly meets on this vital issue this week, the governor and legislators can do our state a great service. We encourage them to commit themselves to re-examining the death penalty - its justification and its application — in a serious way in next year’s regular session.


Colorado has nothing to lose and much to gain from the debate. The times call for it. So does common sense.


+ Charles J Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Denver


+José H. Gomez, S.T.D.

Auxiliary Bishop of Denver


Printed with permission from the Archdiocese of Denver.

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30

Text only

Follow us: