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Vatican responds to Saddam’s execution

December 30, 2006

CNN reports that Saddam could be hanged by 10:00pm ET tonight. Let us pray.

Update: At 10:06pm ET, Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging.

Update 2: Vatican issues official press statement on Saddam’s execution (original Italian declaration)

DECLARATION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE PRESS OFFICE OF THE HOLY SEE, FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI S.J.

Capital punishment is always tragic news, a motive of sadness, even when it’s a case of a person guilty of grave crimes.

The position of the Catholic Church against the death penalty has been confirmed many times.

The execution of the guilty party is not a path to reconstruct justice and to reconcile society. Indeed, there is the risk that, on the contrary, it may augment the spirit of revenge and sow seeds of new violence.

In this dark time in the life of the Iraqi people, it can only be hoped that all the responsible parties truly will make every effort so that, in this dramatic situation, possibilities of reconciliation and peace may finally be opened.

Jimmy Akin and Gerald Augustinus declared that “justice is done.” A few hours later, the Vatican states that Saddam’s execution is not a path to restore justice. Sometimes it’s best to wait and listen a bit to the Church first, especially if you are purporting to communicate her message to the world today.

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