The Death Penalty Diminishes Our Society

September 26, 2011

Statement from the Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City on the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardener

While I was in California I associated closely with groups that advocated for justice for families of murder victims. I saw firsthand the terrible tragedy and the ongoing mourning that takes place from such a violent act as murder. But as strongly as I feel for these people, I believe that the best way to support them is to give witness to the preciousness and the sanctity of life. God loves everybody, and that love admits to no exceptions. Our Catholic faith teaches us that life is a precious gift from God that must be respected and protected. We condemn and are abhorred by the acts of certain individuals, but we are called always to love and to forgive them as persons. We as Christians ask the state to not put a period where God has put a comma, but rather to allow the perpetrator time to repent and seek God’s forgiveness as well as the forgiveness of the victims’ families. It’s through forgiveness that we find true healing. …

View the Statement