The leaders of the United States Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) have issued a special Advent appeal for a moratorium on federal executions.
“We’ve asked many times to stop the federal executions,” declare Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a joint statement Monday.
“In fact, last Advent, three bishops wrote that the resumption of federal executions was at odds with this season of anticipated redemption,” the bishops state. “But the executions resumed. Eight since July. Two more this week. Three in January. A new regulation will permit federal execution by means other than lethal injection, such as the electric chair.”
“What does the birth of our Lord say to this?” they ask. “The Lord comes not to destroy, but to save. For the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear St. Peter counsel that the Lord ‘is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.’”
“Can we follow the Lord’s example?” they ask.
While recognizing the need for justice, the bishops insist that executions are not the answer.
“We are all sinners. Some have done terrible things,” they state. “Victims need help. Justice is needed for peace. But executions solve nothing.”
“This Advent, the Lord comes to love us even though we don’t deserve it. Let us repent and embrace his gift,” they urge.
“We call on President Trump and Attorney General Barr, in recognition of God’s unmerited gift of self-giving love: stop these executions.”