.- As the state of Missouri prepares for a highly-publicized trial due to challenge the constitutionality of lethal injection, the state’s Catholic bishops are calling on faithful to reject the practice of capital punishment overall as an excess which opposes the dignity of the human person.
They pointed out that while a death sentence “offers the illusion of closure and vindication”, that “no act, even an execution can bring back a loved one or heal terrible wounds. The pain and loss of death can not be wiped away by another death.”
Citing the recent U.S. Catholic Bishop’s document, “A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death”, they said that while “The Church has acknowledged the right of the state to use the death penalty in order to protect society…the Church insists that the state should forego the exercise of this right if other non-lethal options are available.”
The bishops urged “all Catholics to pray that the court will rule in favor of life and condemn the practice of lethal injection. We would ask that, as witnesses to life, you take one step further and address our elected representatives on the state and federal level to voice our opposition to capital punishment and support a halt in executions.”
“Let them know”, they stressed, “that more violence is not a solution to society’s problems.”
They likewise quoted the late Pope John Paul II who, in his Encyclical, the Gospel of Life, urged Catholics to be “unconditionally pro-life.”
The bishop’s March 30th letter was signed by St. Louis’ Archbishop Raymond Burke, and Bishop Robert Hermann, Jefferson City’s Bishop John Gaydos, Kansas City-St. Joseph’s Bishop Robert Finn, and Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland and Springfield-Cape Giradeau’s Bishop John Leibrecht.