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?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: