The Victim Who Forgives: the Savior Who Transforms22 Mar

Vicki Schieber, whose daughter Shannon was murdered in May, 1998, rejoiced when the Maryland legislature abolished the death penalty recently.

Catholics in Maryland recently played a significant role in helping to abolish the death penalty there. Eighteen states now refuse to kill those who have killed. Soon other states will choose to quit their killing. Kentucky needs to become one of them.

On Good Friday 14 years ago, the Administrative Committee of the U. S. Conference of Bishops issued this call to action:

 We urge all people of good will, particularly Catholics, to work to end the use of capital punishment. At appropriate opportunities, we ask pastors to preach and teachers to teach about respect for all life and about the need to end the death penalty. Through education, through advocacy, and through prayer and contemplation on the life of Jesus, we must commit ourselves to a persistent and principled witness against the death penalty, against a culture of death, and for the Gospel of Life.

As Good Friday 2013 is celebrated we have another opportunity to heed this call to take action against state killing. Actually four opportunities on April 16 and April 17: 1 in Bardstown; 1 in Elizabethtown; and 2 in Louisville. Click here for complete details about times and places.

The Conference is one of several sponsors of a presentation by Cathy Jarboe of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty (CMN). CMN works in close collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prepare Catholics for informed involvement in campaigns to repeal state death penalty laws and expand or inaugurate restorative justice programs.

All four events are open to all, but especially Catholics who want to learn how to respond to the challenge of moving Kentucky into that list of states that does not execute its prisoners.

There is NO cost, but please download this form and fill in the information indicating which event you plan to attend.

Jesus is both a Victim who forgives  and a Savior who transforms. He is a victim who did not transmit the pain to which He was subjected, but transformed the pain. He did not ask his Father to avenge his death, nor has he ever asked his followers to avenge his death. Nor does he ask us today to avenge the death of any one of us through execution.

He showed us a New Way, a way that leads to life, a path to end the violence. We are called to imitate him. He told us how yeast transforms flour into dough that becomes bread, and asks that we be the yeast in our society that transforms our culture of death into a culture of life. On that cross, he taught us how to suffer our pain, and by love and forgiveness, transform our world.

That transformation begins with you. Please consider coming to one of these four events to learn how.

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