September 3, 2015
Statement from Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone Regarding the Decision to Seek the Death Penalty against Dylann Roof
The Catholic Church offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment, one grounded in mercy and healing, not punishment for its own sake. No matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself without ending a human life, it should do so.
Seeking the death penalty against Dylann Roof conflicts with the Church’s teaching that all human life is sacred. Instead of pursuing death, we should be extending compassion and forgiveness to Mr. Roof, just as some of the victims’ families did at his bond hearing in June.
Although we oppose the death penalty, our Catholic faith affirms our solidarity with and support for victims of crime and their families. We commit ourselves to walk with them and assure them of the Church’s compassion and care, ministering to their spiritual, physical and emotional needs in the midst of deep pain and loss.
I ask everyone to pray for the victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting and their families as they continue to heal from this tragedy. Please also pray for Mr. Roof, that he will turn to our Lord and feel His loving and forgiving mercy.