by Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director
Recently it was reported that the state of Arkansas is planning to execute eight inmates over 10 days. These executions will begin on Easter Monday when the Christian community celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The impetus of this unprecedented action is fueled by the desire to use up its supply of a controversial execution drug known for causing botched executions before it expires at the end of April.
Lent is a time for us to work on mercy and justice in our lives. As we begin Holy Week and journey the way of the cross with Jesus we enter into prayerful reflection on the suffering and death of our Lord. Jesus was judged to be guilty and was executed at the hands of the state. I invite you during this Lenten season to join in prayerful reflection and contemplation on the death penalty.
The death penalty is an ineffective, cruel and simplistic response to the serious and complex problem of violent crime. It institutionalizes discrimination against the poor and people of color, diverting attention and financial resources away from preventative measures that would actually increase public safety. The death penalty risks the execution of innocent people, and does not deter crime.
On this Good Friday, Jesus who was executed by the state speaks to us and tells us to kill no more. It is part of the sanctity and respect for life vision that flows from Catholic Social Teaching on the dignity of each person. Let us spend time in prayer and reflection this week on our Precious Blood Corporate Stance Against the Death Penalty. Let us stand with the victims of violence and also with those on our death rows and their families. We are called to preach justice and mercy on behalf of victims and the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes.
The Kansas City Province Corporate Stance Against the Death Penalty
Motivated by the Blood of Christ and called to be ministers of reconciliation, the Society of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province, reaffirms its belief in the sacredness of life and thereby takes this position that capital punishment is wrong. To put these words into action, we encourage our priests, brothers and companions of the Society of the Precious Blood to engage in activities which will end the death penalty in those states where it is still used and to work toward the goal of ending this type of sentence in our nation. Whenever and wherever it is deemed appropriate, we encourage our members to preach justice and mercy on behalf of the victim and perpetrator of such horrendous crimes.