Wisconsin, for some strange reason, reauthorized the use of the death penalty yesterday, after about 150 years of going without it. Tim Drake of St Joseph, MN, Senior Writer for the National Catholic Register, profiles Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, who preaches adamantly against the death penalty. And this was at the time of a trial of a man for the gruesome murder of a young woman.
He has also been very effective in fostering vocations, using pastoral letters to educate his flock on moral issues, in particular on the issue of relativism so common today, encouraging natural family planning and on other issues.
While many in North Dakota have called for the death penalty for a convicted murderer, there’s one voice that has been crying in the wilderness opposing it.
That voice belongs to Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila. For those who are familiar with the bishop, they say it’s business as usual for a man who is unafraid to say what he means and mean what he says.
“When different things come up in the public forum, Bishop Aquila is very forthright,” said Jon Morris, a Fargo banker, husband and father of three. “He’s not one to just let things be glossed over. He’s a strong defender of the Church and explains what the Church stands for and why. He explains the teachings of the Church.”
That’s just what happened in September after a federal judge issued the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who was convicted of murdering a 22-year-old university student three years ago. Bishop Aquila used the opportunity to be a Church voice against capital punishment.
“Responding to this senseless act of violence with another act of violence through imposition of the death penalty does not erase the hurt caused by the first act,” said Bishop Aquila. “Rather, it reinforces the false perspective of revenge as justice. In doing so, it diminishes respect for all human life, both the lives of the guilty and the innocent.”
As Pope John Paul II and other Catholics have alluded, Bishop Aquila has said that the legal system in the United States is “capable of protecting society by incarcerating violent offenders for life.” Bishop Aquila said that the “Catholic faith teaches that the death penalty is rarely, if ever, justified.” [snip] Read the Balance