By MSGR. THOMAS DUFFY
In May 16, we the people of these United States will assist Mr. Timothy McVeigh in once again showing contempt for the dignity of human life by assisting him in committing suicide. We will do this unless President George W. Bush, as president of these United States, intervenes and stops his execution scheduled for that day. Based on his record as governor of Texas, the chance for Mr. Bush stopping the execution has to be rated as slim to none.
Mr. McVeigh was tried and rightly condemned for showing his contempt for the dignity of those human beings he killed in Oklahoma City. He seemingly did not know any of these victims personally. He said he did not know there was a day care center in the building where innocent children were placed by their parents for safe keeping while they worked, but it would not have mattered. He had a point to prove, and in his mind, human beings had to be killed to prove it — yes, even innocent children.
As a society, we rightly disagreed with and condemned Mr. McVeigh for his failure to respect what we as citizens of the United States believe was the God-given right of these people to life. Unfortunately, as a nation, we will now imitate him and to prove a point, fail to respect his God-given right to life. Many will claim that the point in killing him is to prove that killing is wrong. In fact, and this is what makes capital punishment wrong; the point we make is that there are times when human life can and should be disrespected to prove a point.
I have written the following letter to President Bush:
I read in The New Catholic Miscellany edition of March 29 that on March 22, with seven Catholic cardinals, you presided over the ceremony that marked “the grand opening of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.”
According to the article, the night before, at a reception held at the White House, you told those present that the best way to honor the pope “is to take his teaching seriously, to listen to his words and put his words and teachings into action here in America.”
I sincerely ask you to do just that in regard to the execution of Mr. Timothy McVeigh, scheduled to take place on May 16. As I am sure you know, in his encyclical letter The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II wrote that capital punishment should not be used “except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.” He added, as I’m sure you are aware: “Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
Since Mr. McVeigh has decided not to appeal his death sentence, he in effect is getting the federal government to assist him in an act of suicide to demonstrate once again his belief that human life is not sacred but a commodity that can be destroyed to prove one’s point of view.
I beg you not to allow the federal government to be used by Mr. McVeigh to once again demonstrate his belief that human life is not sacred. Please stop the execution.
… I hope that enough people will write encouraging him to help us all realize that human life is a gift that must be respected. It is not a commodity that can be disrepected. …
Msgr. Thomas Duffy is pastor of St. Michael Church in Garden City and dean of the Pee Dee Deanery.