This letter was originally sent to Brothers by email on November 5, 2014. Please leave comments and questions in the comment section below.
Since Vatican II we have taken deliberate steps in educating ourselves on the issues of peace and justice in our society. At appropriate times, we have also advocated for people who are victims of injustice without politicizing our stand a given issue. Over the years we have been blessed to have Brothers in both American provinces who served us well on Peace and Justice Committees. In recent years, Jeremiah O’Leary has faithfully served us and has kept us aware of issues about which we need to be informed as religious brothers.
Below please find a statement in opposition of capital punishment that Jerry prepared. I want to release the statement in our name. I feel it is consistent with the belief in the sanctity of all life that our Church teaches and promotes through her ministries. The statement will be posted on our social network and forwarded to a national organization dealing with the issue.
Before doing so, I want you to be aware of this intention and I also want to give you an opportunity to express your thoughts or feelings directly to me or to Jerry. Let’s keep those individuals on death row, the families of their victims, the victims themselves as well as the families of those on death row, in our prayers as we work in our various ministries to deal with the underlying causes of crime.
Draft of a statement against the death penalty:
We Xaverian Brothers oppose the death penalty and will work, in whatever ways we can, for its abolition in all of its forms. We recognize the violent nature of the world in which we live and we have compassion for those who are the victims of violence; but we believe that the death penalty perpetuates the ever growing cycle of violence and flies in the face or our belief as Catholic Christians that all life is sacred, and that the lives of those guilty of the most heinous crimes are still sacred in the eyes of God.
In addition to the death penalty itself we are also concerned with how it is administered – its sometimes arbitrary nature, and the fact that death row populations are disproportionately poor, black, and Hispanic.
Thanks for your consideration.
Brother Edward Driscoll, C.F.X.