Presentation of the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gergory, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta
An article in The Georgia Bulletin (October 16, 2008)
The Catholic moral tradition shows an unambiguous preference to preserve life even when the order of justice is threatened and the safety of innocent life is at stake. While acknowledging the moral and legal prerogative of the state to execute criminals in strictly limited circumstances, the church pleads for restraint in the exercise of that prerogative. The moral requirement to protect the innocent stands alongside the imperative to stem the cycle of violence that keeps individuals and communities enslaved to vengeance.