Friday, September 22, 2006

Bishop Aquila Opposes Rodriguez Death Sentence

"Does Not Erase the Hurt," He Says

Bishop Samuel Aquila came out in opposition to the death sentence levied against Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. for killing a University of North Dakota student. Rodriguez was recently found guilty of killing Dru Sjodin, 22. Today, the jury sentenced him to the death penalty.

"The sentence of death which was imposed today upon Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. obscures for all of society the truth of the inherent dignity of human life," said Bishop Aquila in a statement.

"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," he contended. "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."

Dru Sjodin disappeared from a Grand Forks mall parking lot in November 2003. Her body was found in April 2004, in a ravine near Crookston, Minnesota, where Rodriguez, 53, was living.

The death penalty is not legal in North Dakota, but the case was tried in federal court which made the sentence possible, said Tanya Watterud, diocesan director of communications, in a statement to ZENIT.

Bishop Aquila said: "Those who feel that imposition of the death penalty can be used as a statement to dissuade future predators from similar attacks are not looking at the full potential effect of violence as an answer to violence.

"According to some of the testimony heard, Mr. Rodriguez experienced violence as a child. He later inflicted violence as an adult. Violence only promotes violence and is not the way of Jesus Christ." ZENIT

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