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Bishops decry Philippines death penalty proposal

Catholic Bishops of the Philippines (CBCP News)

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has renewed its appeal for lawmakers to reject the bill reimposing the death penalty, reports CBCP News.

The bishops issued a statement on Sunday objecting to supposed misinterpretations and misuse of the Scriptures to argue for the death penalty.

They did not mention any politician or individual by name but said the use of the Bible to defend capital punishment is unnecessary.

“To the people who use the Bible to defend death penalty, need we point out how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible?” the bishops said in a pastoral letter.

“We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a progressive revelation of God’s will to humankind, with its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus Christ, God’s definitive Word to the world,” they said.

The pastoral statement was read in Masses across the country and it is the bishops' second statement on the death penalty in less than a year.

The leaders of Asia’s biggest Catholic nation also lamented how the proposed measure was approved on second reading at the House of Representatives on Ash Wednesday.

It was “ironic”, the prelates noted, that many lawmakers were shouting in favour of death with their foreheads marked with ashen crosses.

“Could they have missed out the contradiction between their vote and the crosses on their foreheads, which were supposed to serve as a loud statement of faith in the God who, for love of us, chose to give up his life for our salvation, rather than see us perish?” they added.

The CBCP again warned that capital punishment and a flawed legal system are “always a lethal mix”, adding that the poor are likely to get punished more quickly because they cannot afford a good lawyer and a guarantee of due process.

FULL STORY

CBCP frowns on ‘Biblical argument’ for death penalty (CBCP News)

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CBCP pastoral statement on the death penalty (CBCP News)