Monday 3 March 2008
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has launched a campaign to urge the Australian Government to take strong action to convince our neighbours in the Asia/Pacific region to abolish the death penalty.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the campaign responds, in particular, to the death sentences imposed on six Australians, including Brisbane man, Scott Rush, as a result of drug convictions in Indonesia.
“The Commission realizes that the lives of many people in Australia are being deeply affected by the imposition of these death sentences of six of the Bali Nine,” Mr Arndt said.
“We know that many Catholics responded strongly when Australian man, Van Nguyen, was sentenced to death and subsequently executed in Singapore a couple of years ago,” he said.
“We have no doubt that many people will be just as strongly opposed to the execution of Australian citizens this time around,” he said.
Archbishop Bathersby launched the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council’s death penalty paper at St Joseph’s Church, Corinda, last December.
“It is important to remind Catholics of Archbishop Bathersby’s warning that we have to be consistent in our opposition to the death penalty,” he said.
“At the launch of the death penalty paper last year, Archbishop Bathersby insisted that we have to oppose the death penalty being imposed, not only on Australians, but on people of every nationality,” he said.
“Neither Scott Rush nor the Bali Bombers should face the firing squad,” he said.
“Justice demands that serious crimes should result in serious sentences, but this should fall short of capital punishment,” he said.
The Commission’s campaign will run until Easter and will seek to engage Catholics in letter writing, petition signing, sending e-mails and prayer vigils.
“We will end this particular campaign on 25 March which is the anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), which includes teaching against the death penalty,” Mr Arndt said. ( see the action page for this campaign on the menu on the right hand side of this page)
“The Commission urges Catholics to think about what they can do to promote the Gospel of Life in our region,” he said.
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.