In early 2017, after sentence decisions were met for the infamous AME Church shooter, Dylann Roof, were made, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone came out with a with a pastoral statement speaking about mercy, forgiveness and the Church's opposition to capital punishment. A part of Bishop Guglielmone's statement is read as follows:
“We are all sinners, but through the Father’s loving mercy and Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice upon the Cross, we have been offered the gift of eternal life. The Catholic opposition to the death penalty, therefore, is rooted in God’s mercy. The Church believes the right to life is paramount to every other right as it affords the opportunity for conversion, even of the hardened sinner.
Sentencing Dylann Roof to death conflicts with the Church’s teaching that all human life is sacred, even for those who have committed the most heinous of crimes. 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 2015.
Although we oppose the death penalty in modern society, our Catholic faith sustains our solidarity with, and support and prayers for, the victims of the Emanuel AME Church massacre and their relatives. We commit ourselves to walk with these family members, as well as the survivors, as they continue to heal from the trial and this tragedy.
Please continue to pray for the victims, survivors and families of the Emanuel AME Church shooting. Please also pray for Mr. Roof and his family. May he acknowledge his sins, convert to the Lord and experience His loving mercy.”