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Catholic Bishops: Don't use violence to condemn violence

2012-12-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Catholic bishops of the Archdiocese of Miami called for a special prayer vigil on Tuesday 11th December 2012 in the lead up to the execution of Manuel Pardo Jr, who admitted to having committed nine murders in 1986.

In a statement, the Catholic Bishops of Florida also reiterated their belief that the death penalty in Florida should be reviewed as it has in several states in light of evolving standards of justice.

“Recognizing that Manuel Pardo, Jr. wrongfully killed instead of pursuing legal means to arrest persons violating the law, the Catholic Bishops of Florida continue to speak out against the violence of execution and plead for life in prison without possibility of parole for Mr. Pardo.

While the Catholic Church recognizes that the state has the right to carry out the death penalty under certain circumstances, the modern penal institutions make this unnecessary as the public is protected from any further harm. We believe that even though all life may not be innocent, all life is sacred. State sanctioned killing diminishes all citizens when the State takes the life of the convicted in our name.

Our society is beginning to recognize the flaws of the use of the death penalty including the risk of executing an innocent person, failure as a deterrent and high costs associated with executions as well as the emotional toll on the victims’ families. The death penalty in Florida should be reviewed, as it has in several states in light of evolving standards of justice.

We are saddened for the victims and their families who lost loved ones. We pray for them as well as for forgiveness and God’s mercy for Mr. Pardo. These crimes cry out for justice and this can best be achieved by keeping Mr. Pardo incarcerated for the remainder of his days on earth until his natural death”.

As a sign of solidarity with all those around the state in prayer during the time of the execution, the bishops have called for a special prayer vigil to be held on December 11”.

And the bishops express their sadness for the victims and their families who lost loved ones. “We pray for them as well as for forgiveness and God’s mercy for Mr. Pardo. These crimes cry out for justice and this can best be achieved by keeping Mr. Pardo incarcerated for the remainder of his days on earth until his natural death”.

In his note the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski says “Recourse to the death penalty is both cruel and unnecessary. Modern society has the means of protecting itself. We do not make the case that killing is wrong by killing.”

And Archbishop Wenski quotes the words of Blessed John Paul II “The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life... A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who have done great evil.’”

Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni was recently at an international annual conference to stop the death penalty. She speaks to George F. Kain, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Western Connecticut State University, a Board Member of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, and a Ridgefield Police Commissioner who has worked in law enforcement for 29 years.

Prof. Kain - who lives and works in Connecticut - the most recent North American State to have abolished capital punishment - explains why he believes that the death penalty is morally wrong and ultimately counter-productive…

Listen to the interview…