‘We cannot pretend to be gods’: Tagle urges Catholics to oppose death penalty
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle warned on Thursday that humans could not pretend to be gods as he called on Catholics in the country to oppose death penalty which is now being deliberated in Congress.
Tagle said that a culture of life is always inconsistent with violence against people, and urged the faithful to lobby with their congressmen to oppose death penalty,
“Before God the source of life, we are humble. We cannot pretend to be gods,” the archbishop said.
Cardinal Tagle cited studies worldwide that showed that punishment by death was unsuccessful in curbing or reducing criminality.
“Studies worldwide show that the death penalty has not lessened violent crimes. The threat of punishment by death has not reduced criminality,” Tagle said.
Admitting that victims need justice and healing, he cited the possibility that an innocent individual could be sentenced to die in issuing his call to Filipino Catholics.
The death penalty might legitimize the use of violence to deal with every wrongdoing, Tagle also warned.
He also attempted to change people’s perspective on the concept of penalties. He advocated for a restorative view rather than a punitive one which proponents of death penalty seem to push forward.
“Penalties are not imposed for vengeance but for the correction of offenders and the good of society,” the archbishop of Manila said.
Finally, Tagle pointed out the belief of Christians that life is a gift of God.
Instead of restoring the eath penalty in the country, Tagle called on the Church and the government to address “positively and comprehensively” the reasons why people committed crimes.
“The death penalty has not reduced crime because it does not solve criminality from its roots,” Tagle said.
He cited the loss of moral values, injustice, inequality, poverty, lack of access to food, education, jobs and housing, the proliferation of weapons, drugs and pornography and loss of respect for sexuality as some reasons of crimes.
“To help solve these roots of criminality, the Church and the state need to protect and strengthen the basic unit of society, which is the family.”
He also called for the reform institutions to safeguard justice and prevent the spread of the culture of violence.
“A culture of violence dehumanizes. A culture of justice, integrity, and hope heals,” Tagle said.
A bill that aims to reinstitute death penalty in the Philippines is now being deliberated in Congress. President Rodrigo Duterte, who campaigned on a promise of
The death penalty was abolished in 2006 during the administration of Gloria Arroyo believed to be because of strong pressures coming from Christian groups at the time.