On Thursday, January 16, 2014 the state of Ohio executed Dennis McGuire using a combination of chemicals never before used for this purpose. By all reports, the execution was painful to watch as McGuire gasped for air and heaved up and down on the table.
While we will never know if McGuire suffered during the process, the discomfort and uncertainty all experienced was enough for Gov. Kasich to postpone the execution of Greg Lott scheduled for March 19th. For more information on the reprieve see: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/02/07/kasich-postpones-march-19-execution.html
The Catholic Church has consistently opposed the use of capital punishment. The following is a statement of the Catholic Bishops of Ohio:
Society has a duty to defend life against violence and to reach out to victims of crime. Yet our nation’s increasing reliance on the death penalty cannot be justified. Because we have other ways to protect society that are more respectful of human life, the Catholic church supports efforts to end the use of the death penalty and, in the meantime, to restrain its use through broader use of DNA evidence, access to effective counsel, and efforts to address unfairness and injustice related to application of the death penalty (http://www.ohiocathconf.org/i/dp/deathpenalty.htm).
The Ohio Catholic Conference reflects the views of recent Popes regarding the death penalty including the thoughts of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. The Church’s fundamental stance on the dignity of all human life extends to those on death row and demands that all human beings be treated humanely.
Bud Welch, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, has relied on his Catholic faith to direct him in opposing the death penalty. Mr. Welch has spoken throughout the world on the value of forgiveness. Read more inspiring stories at the Forgiveness Project: http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/bud-welch-usa/.
We live in a culture fixated on violence. The culture of 1st century Rome was little different. Jesus offers an alternative path, and those who have found peace in their lives walk that path daily.