Statement from the Roman Catholic Bishops of South Dakota Regarding Impending Executions and the Death Penalty

September 25, 2011

Bishop Gruss

By The Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Rapid City and The Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, Bishop of Sioux Falls
– October 9, 2012 –

“We as persons and as a State ought not to shrink to the level of the violent criminals by sanctioning state-inflicted violence. We are all gifted by God with life and reason and, therefore, are called to a higher standard.
Violence in response to violence does not relieve personal anguish or result in societal protection. State-sanctioned violence does not heal or redress wounds. Only forgiveness can do so. As hard as that is, with God’s

Bishop Swain

grace, it is possible. Forgiveness does not justify or condone wrongful acts, nor does it disrespect or minimize the sacrifice of those who have suffered. It can however relieve the burden of the past that weighs down survivors and can contribute to the conversion and true repentance of the criminal.

State executions only add to the cycle of violence that plagues our country in so many ways. When they are authorized, respect for human life is eroded.”

Read the full statement.