Shared from the 7/3/2022 San Antonio Express eEdition

Recognize inherent dignity of all

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Among society’s false gods is the absolute “right to bear arms.” In Uvalde, survivors of the massacre will never be the same as they mourn the senseless loss of their loved ones.



Rebecca Sasnett/Associated Press

Can we not promote solutions that protect society without the state-sanctioned killing of those convicted of murder?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling June 24 to overturn the egregious decision made in Roe

v. Wade is a giant leap forward for the pro-life cause, and I celebrate this profound moment and give thanks to God, the author of all life.

I was also very much encouraged by the leadership of Sen. John Cornyn in bipartisan negotiations in Congress to adopt gun safety measures. In the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, I am hopeful that meaningful reform will continue to occur to prevent criminals and deeply troubled people from obtaining firearms.

I have been humbled as I walk with our sisters and brothers in Uvalde. They — the survivors — will never be the same as they mourn the senseless loss of their children, mothers, friends and co-workers.

In recognizing the inherent dignity of every human being, can we not continue to build on these efforts and promote solutions that protect society without the death penalty?

I find myself mourning as the state of Texas moves closer to executing Ramiro Gonzales, who is still a child of God.

I see spiritual sickness in the death penalty, in our devotion to guns and in abortion. This sickness is a root cause of violence. Capital punishment, mass killings and abortion are all due to the callous, complete rejection of the dignity of each and every human life.

Whether it is ending a pregnancy, killing a child in the classroom or the state-sanctioned killing of those convicted for murder, we are spiraling into a culture that has sanctified violence and created powerful idols. We worship these false gods and put them before human beings, all of whom are made in the image and likeness of God.

For some, the false god is a woman’s “right to choose,” to abort instead of carrying a child to birth.

For others, it is the absolute “right to bear arms,” instead of providing reasonable gun safety measures to protect the innocent.

And those who support the death penalty appear to accept the notion that we humans know the hearts and minds of others better than God.

In each of these examples people succumb to the temptation not to love. Every time we choose not to love, we cause harm to others.

We can do so much better. It requires each of us to seek our own conversion of heart and mind, bending ourselves to the will of the Holy Spirit, to the good of our communities and our own personal good.

When we announce that we are pro-life, are we actively finding ways to support struggling moms and dads who are considering abortion?

When we claim the right to protect and defend our homes against intruders with firearms, do we just as vigorously ensure the safety of others in their homes, schools and communities?

When we claim to be people of justice and mercy, do we intentionally assist people whose deep despair may cause them to hurt others?

In the case of Gonzales, his childhood — and even before he was born — was scarred by drugs. He endured abandonment, sexual abuse and other trauma that no child should ever bear. Despite those scars, he has become a man filled with faith while incarcerated. He will remain in prison even if he is spared from the execution chamber. What good does it do to kill him?

I plead with the state of Texas to spare the life of Gonzales. He is a human being who deserves to live, no less than anyone else. I pray that with the recent Dobbs decision, we can begin to recognize, honor and respect the dignity and sanctity of each person in Texas, no matter who they are.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller leads the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

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