WASHINGTON (June 11, 2001) -- Following is a statement by Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston, and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 11, 2001.
On behalf of the Catholic Bishops, I deeply regret the execution of Mr. Timothy McVeigh today. The resumption of federally-sanctioned killings and the atmosphere surrounding it have brought us to this sad day for our country.
In an age where respect for life is threatened in so many ways, we believe it is important to emphasize that human life is a gift from God, and no one or any government should presume to kill God's gift. Rather all of us have the responsibility to protect human life from conception to natural death.
Our criminal justice system has alternative ways to punish heinous crimes and protect society from their perpetrators. We will continue to support the abolition of capital punishment while urging appropriate punishment for capital crimes.
We call on Catholics and all people of good will - particularly legislators – to reconsider the use of capital punishment. We offer our deepest sympathy and prayers for all those touched by this horrible crime, especially those who lost family members and friends. We pray that the God of all mercies will grant them every consoling grace during their grief and suffering. On this difficult day, we pledge our best efforts to reverse this culture of violence and replace it with a profound respect for the inherent value God confers on every human life.
More information on the Church and the Death Penalty.