I received a letter on December 13th from Bishop Daniel Thomas regarding the death penalty in Ohio. Here is an excerpt:
In January of 2015, the State of Ohio announced a moratorium would be placed on the use of the death penalty due to the lack of availability of required drugs. This moratorium is set to be lifted on January 12, 2017, with the execution of Ronald Phillips.
In light of this development, I earnestly urge for an end to the death penalty in the State of Ohio. Our Catholic faith’s opposition to the death penalty does not condone the sinful crimes and attacks on human life perpetrated by the convicted. Yet, we do affirm the sacredness of all life, including the life of those who have committed these heinous crimes.
The Catholic opposition to the death penalty is ultimately rooted in mercy and is eminently pro-life. Our opposition affords every opportunity for the conversion for the convicted, as we recognize even the greatest of sinners, thought the merciful love of Jesus, can be born to new life.
Then the Bishop refers to the last three pontiffs, who all declared that – given our ability in modern cultures to restrain even the worst offenders – the death penalty ought to be abolished.
In light of this, the Bishop invites all Catholics and people of good will to take the following steps before executions resume in the State of Ohio:
Pray for the victims of crime, those facing execution, and those working in the criminal justice system (see prayer in this bulletin);
Reach out to the families of those affected by violent crime by bringing Christ’s love and compassion;
Learn about the Church’s teaching on capital punishment and educate others in this vital area of concern by visiting the USCCB website: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/index.cfm.
Advocate for the end of the death penalty by sending a postcard and by calling Governor John Kasich at 614-466-3555, to urge clemency for all 139 individuals on death row in the State of Ohio;
Join us for a Candlelight Prayer Vigil for the abolition of the death penalty on Wednesday, January 11, at 6p.m., at St. Francis de Sales Chapel, 501 Cherry Street Toledo, Ohio 43604.
Please prayerfully consider if through the Bishop’s words the Lord is calling you to some action regarding the death penalty in the State of Ohio. At least please take the issue to prayer.
On another note, I wish you all a very Blessed New Year. May our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in all of your endeavors this new year.
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,