ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church: "The death penalty, politicians ask consistency and conscience"

Thursday, 23 March 2017 death penalty   human rights   dialogue   politics   local churches   human life  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "What we ask our politicians is coherence and to vote on the death penalty according to conscience. We ask not to use faith for political advantage. Many politicians take the field to say yes to life, then vote in favor of the death penalty. Conscience enlightened by faith is very important in politics, as in any other choice of human life. The choices in personal or private life cannot be in contradiction with those in public life": says to Agenzia Fides Melvin Castro, executive Secretary of the "Family and Life" Commission in the Episcopal Conference, while the Philippine Senate is preparing to vote the law on the re-imposition of the death penalty, already approved by Congress. The vote in the Senate is expected on May 2 and the majority in the assembly is held by members of President Duterte’s party, promoter of the law.
"The Church teaches this, the sacredness of life. We want to live in a nation that always keep in mind the principle of respect for the inalienable dignity of every man and every woman and fundamental human rights", remarked Fr. Castro to Fides.
The Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, in a recent public statement, read in all the churches, presented several good reasons for why the bill on the death penalty should be rejected. The bishops state that the death penalty "is not necessary", "will not be a move towards greater justice", "will not help the country."
In fact, every punishment, observe the Bishops, should have a reformative effect which seeks "healing and reform, not vindictive justice". In addition, Supreme Court records show judicial error in death penalty cases is more than 70%, while "no study has shown that the imposition of death penalty is an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes", says the Bishops’ message.
Therefore the appeal explicitly asks the senators to "reject the re-imposition of the death penalty". The Bishops finally invite the faithful to pray constantly so that "the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides the legislators' minds and consciences", called to make a choice that will affect the lives of many people and the future of the country. (NDL-PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/03/2017)