"No to the death penalty". This was stated by His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Everard Harris, C.S.Sp. Archbishop of Port of Spain, in a brief meeting with the press of Trinidad and Tobago, where the debate on the request by a Catholic priest to reinstate the death penalty for the violent criminals rages.
Mgr. Harris recalled that two months ago, the Episcopal Conference of
the Antilles issued a statement in which it opposes the use of capital
punishment, and asked the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and
Barbados to change their laws in this respect.
Mgr. Harris quoted Pope Francis: "Indeed, nowadays the death penalty is
unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an
offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human
person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society,
and his merciful justice".
The Archbishop intervened in response to the pastor of St. Charles
Borromeo, in Tunapuna, Fr. Ian Taylor, who during his homily on December
10 asked to reinstate the death penalty as punishment for the killing
of Shannon Banfield during a robbery, an employee of the Republic Bank, a
fact that shocked the Country.
Mgr. Harris added that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says the
traditional teaching of the church "does not exclude" recourse to the
death penalty when it is "the only practicable way to defend the lives
of human beings effectively against the aggressor".
It adds, however,
that today such cases are "very rare, if not practically non-existent".