Friday 1 August 2008
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has appealed for the lives of the Bali Bombers who may soon be executed.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that this action was consistent with the Commission’s commitment to the Church’s Teaching on the death penalty.
Mr Arndt said that this appeal should in no way be seen as minimising the seriousness of the violence perpetrated by the bombers or the enormous personal pain and loss their actions have caused.
“We condemn the actions of the bombers as a gross violation of the dignity and rights of the victims of the bombing of nightclubs in Bali in 2002,” Mr Arndt said.
“Those who have lost family members and who live with injury and disability because of the bombings are entitled to on-going Government and community compassion and support in their efforts to deal with their loss and suffering,” he said.
“Those responsible for this crime deserve the most serious penalty, but this should fall short of the death penalty,” he said.
“The Commission has campaigned for the universal abolition of the death penalty around the world over the course of this year and we must take this action as a matter of principle,” he said.
“Capital punishment should not be used as revenge or retribution or as a deterrent,” he said.
“We must be consistent in our defence of human life, even in the case of people who are responsible for the most appalling actions,” he said.
“Both the Old and New Testaments guide us in this conviction,” he said.
“God ensured that Cain was punished severely for killing Abel, but God also protected him from any attempt to kill him in retribution,” he said.
“In John’s Gospel, Jesus stopped the execution of the woman caught in adultery by demanding that those who were without sin cast the first stone,” he said.
“We will write to the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia and ask him to convey our appeal for the lives of the Bali Bombers to the Indonesian Government,” he said.
“We also ask Catholics to continue to send messages to their local MP, Senators, the Prime Minister and Government Ministers asking them to work for universal abolition of the death penalty,” he said.
The Commission’s petition asking for Government action on the issue will be lodged in the Senate at the end of August and further public action will accompany that event.