Archbishop of Caceres rejects death penalty

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NAGA CITY: The Archbishop of Caceres underscored anew the sanctity of life as he expressed opposition to the re-imposition of the death penalty now being debated in Congress.

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“The Church’s opposition to the death penalty is not supporting criminality or abetting the criminal who should be punished appropriately, but a recognition of the dignity and sanctity of human life,” Archbishop Rolando TriaTirona said in a Pastoral Letter titled “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” which is a line culled from the book of the prophet Ezekiel.

“Sacred because we have only one life and this comes from God the creator. That is why if life comes God, He alone has the right to take it back. Man has no right to destroy the life of a fellow human being. This is the reason why killing is prohibited in the Fifth Commandment,” he explained.

“When God punishes the wicked, it is not because he takes pleasure in it but because He is just and here we see the difference in the minds of men and the will of God,” the bishop added.

He said that the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime has not been proven.

The lack of justice, he said should not be a reason for the re-imposition of the death penalty because in “many cases, the poor, if not the innocent, or those powerless, are those meted with the death sentence.”

He added that the deterrent to crime is not the death penalty, but reforms in the criminal justice system, better law enforcement and by addressing the roots of criminality, like widespread poverty.

The Pastoral Letter, written in Bicol and in Filipino, was sent to media outlets on Saturday and will be read this Sunday in all churches in Camarines Sur under the Archdiocese of Caceres.

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