Indiana Catholic Bishops Call for Renewed Moratorium on Federal Executions Capital Punishment, Euthanasia, & Suicide HERE

Indiana Catholic Bishops Letter to President Trump on Federal Executions HERE


If it is immoral and illegal to take another’s life, why is it that man allows his governments to execute a living human being? If no one person is allowed to take the life of another, why do men who are a part of a government think that they are above the law of God? Is it lawful that governments seek revenge? Why can’t governments allow vengeance to be wrought by its citizens? God did not make laws that only some are required to follow. No government on this earth is above the Lord. Some say that capital punishment deters others from committing crimes. That, of course, has been disproved time and time again. The fact remains that if we are to be a God-fearing society, a civilized culture, we must stop the barbarism of killing each other. It starts with stopping our governments from executing human beings. And what of the circumstances where an innocent person has been executed? What if that person were you or your father or son or other relative that you knew to be innocent of the crime that he was found guilty of committing? Very rarely does that happen you say. Well it only has to happen once to prove the fallacy of executing someone in the name of justice.

The most compelling argument against the death penalty comes from Mary Bosco Van Valkenburg concerning the murder of her brother and sister-in-law.

"No one in our family ever wanted to see the killer of our brother and his wife put to death. We felt instinctively that vengeance wouldn’t alleviate our grief. We wanted this murderer in prison so he could never hurt another person. But wishing he would suffer and die would only have diminished us and shriveled our own souls. Hatred doesn’t heal. Every time the state kills a person, human society moves in the direction of its lowest, most base urges. We don’t have to make that choice. Our lawmakers have the capacity to help us abolish the death penalty and along with it, the fantasy that it will make the pain go away."

"Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to comfort and support victims and their families, while acknowledging the God-given dignity of every human life, even those who do great harm."

The Indiana Knights of Columbus do not support the "sanctioned" murder of a human being by our State or National government. The vision seen by the Indiana Knights of Columbus will be put into action by way of a 4 step program. The Knights will be expected to be active in some of the steps presented below. (click on the links for more details)


THE VISION: The Catholic Church defines Euthanasia as "an action or omission which of itself or by intention causes death in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated." The Church furthermore teaches that we are responsible to God Himself for the gift of life. It cannot be argued that a person’s life is his own to do with as he/she pleases. That life is God’s life and He has given it to us to care for and not to destroy. He is the "decider", not mankind.

THE ACTION: Our duty as Catholics is to be sure that everyone understands the importance of the principles of preserving the lives that He has bestowed upon us. As Knights, we can only help to spread the word of the Lord in His desires to care for each other. After that, we can only give support and comfort to those children of God who are facing, perhaps, the end of their life here on the earth. The complete responsibility of the medical profession is to neglect no means of making all their skill available to the sick and the dying; but they should also remember how much more necessary it is to provide them with the comfort of boundless kindness and heartfelt charity. Such service to people is also service to Christ the Lord, who said: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt. 25:40).


THE VISION: The Catholic Church's approach to suicide is the theology as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and it says we each have responsibility for our own lives, but we should not despair of those who take their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God has ways of providing for them, and the Church always holds them, as it does all the deceased, in its prayers. Suicide can be linked to mental illness, depression, substance abuse, loneliness, poverty, health problems, debt and many others. The last desperate act will almost always bring grief to many who are the survivors of those who take their own lives.

THE ACTION: The first suicide prevention is with self. Each of us can succumb to any of the causes of taking one’s own life. Recognizing a change in your own mental state and seeking help is the most important thing to be done concerning suicide. You cannot help others if you yourself are in mental turmoil. Recognizing changes in attitudes of loved ones or friends is the key to helping others much like it is for helping yourself. Counseling, care, faith and love are the best and only weapons in staving off the thoughts of suicide.

Death Penalty Update-January, 2021

Brother Knights….communication I recently received from our Worthy State Chaplain recently….  

At the suggestion of Former State Chaplain Father Ted Mens, we spoke about Jay Kelley’s (GK of 10811) idea for both an immediate and a more long term effort to stop this terrible practice of killing people for committing crimes.

Jay made me aware of three persons at the federal level who are expected to be executed in January.  He has already tried to reach President Trump and Vice President Pence seeking a commutation of sentence.  He would like to mobilize Knights around the State of Indiana to do the same.  Jay and I also discussed reaching out to President-elect Biden after his inauguration in January.

Discussing the issue of the death penalty in Indiana, Jay was also interested in encouraging Governor Holcomb to issue a moratorium on the death penalty, and even perhaps, contacting legislators in Indiana to create a law prohibiting the death penalty in Indiana.

-Worthy State Chaplain, Father Mick Kopil


From Worthy GK Jay Kelly, 10811…

The letter referenced by the Worthy State Chaplain addressed the Indiana Catholic Council's October 2019 and July 8, 2020 statement and letter to President Donald Trump, and included them as attachments. Those are attached as files named:

• October 4, 2019 Indiana Catholic Bishops Call for Renewed Moratorium on Federal Executions as file re-named "ICC_ResumptionofFederalExecutions"

• Archbishop of Indianapolis Thompson's Most Recent Statement Against Capital Punishment, his July 8, 2020 letter to President Donald Trump, as file re-named "ICC_IN+Bishop's+Letter+to+Pres.+Trump+July+2020"

In my column in the Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Council #10811 November - December issue I stated: 

We have a societal moral issue at hand. It has laid dormant for 17 years, perhaps seeming moot without offending events, but now the federal government has resumed executions here in our State of Indiana. There has been little news account of the eight executions this past summer or the next scheduled for December 8, and four others planned before the end of this presidential term of office. The lack of public alarm is tantamount to depraved indifference, by itself is a crime. The October 4, 2019 Indiana Catholic Bishops Call for Renewed Moratorium on Federal Executions and Archbishop of Indianapolis Thompson's Most Recent Statement Against Capital Punishment make clear our position on the matter. Please write to your US Senator and US Representative to abolish capital punishment.

As discussed, the most recent statement of the Indiana Catholic Council, December 14, 2020, follows after executions on December 10th and December 11th; and, that three more are scheduled for January 12, 14, and 15, 2021. The need to respond is both immediate and long-term. The immediate need is the halt the scheduled executions. The long-term need is to change the federal and state laws and sentencing guidelines to prohibit execution. The resumption of federal executions may embolden the state(s) to resume executions on a state level.   Action is clearly needed to halt executions currently scheduled and cease executions at every level of governmental prosecution of such grievous offence.

Vivat Jesus!

Larry Kunkel

State Life Director

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