Prior to federal executions that took place in the United States last week, Archbishop Paul S Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Joseph F Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the following comments.
The Archbishops said, “In the last 60 years, before the Trump administration restarted federal executions, there were only four federal executions. Since July, there have been five, which is already more federal executions than were carried out in any year in the last century. There are two more federal executions scheduled this week.”
They continued, “After the first murder recorded in the Bible, God did not end Cain’s life, but rather preserved it, warning others not to kill Cain (Gn. 4:15). As the Church, we must give concrete help to victims of violence, and we must encourage the rehabilitation and restoration of those who commit violence. Accountability and legitimate punishment are a part of this process. Responsibility for harm is necessary if healing is to occur and can be instrumental in protecting society, but executions are completely unnecessary and unacceptable, as Popes St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all articulated.
In conclusion, Archbishops Coakley and Naumann said, “We say to President Trump and Attorney General Barr: Enough. Stop these executions.”