It should not come as any surprise to anyone that as a catholic and as a catholic bishop, I am unconditionally opposed to the death penalty. I would like to think that regardless of the elements of faith and episcopal rank notwithstanding - I would still be opposed to the death penalty.
Of all the social justice and peace issues I am personally and pastorally involved in, I had come to fear that there would never be, in my lifetime, any real political and social momentum that might finally bring a end to the death penalty throughout this country.
And then from the Land of the Enchantment comes some hope for us who still dream.
The good people of the State of New Mexico have abolished the death penalty from their books. I do not doubt for a moment that this decision came easy for the citizens of New Mexico, the members of their legislature or for Governor Bill Richardson - but God bless them all they did it.
It is my hope and prayer that this spark of hope will ignite the flames of humanity, reason and morality to begin sweeping across our country to inspire those States who continue to retain the death penalty on their book to follow the lead of New Mexico and abolish it.
We have been commanded by God not to kill. God did not provide any government any dispensations from this commandment and the good people of New Mexico realized that.
Thank you, New Mexico. I am feeling a bit more hopeful again.
James Alan Wilkowski
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest