Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 29 November |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos
home iconNews
line break icon

Although his father was murdered, this Catholic bishop opposes the death penalty

EXECUTION CHAMBER,DEATH PENALTY

Public Domain

John Burger - published on 09/10/20

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City laments the resumption of federal executions.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas is opposed to capital punishment. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering most Catholic bishops have made statements against the death penalty. In fact, near the end of August, he joined in a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voicing opposition to additional federal executions, which had resumed this year after a 17-year moratorium.

But there’s a twist in Naumann’s case. His family suffered a tragedy when he was still in his mother’s womb, a murder that took the life of his father. If anyone has reason to be in favor of capital punishment, it’s victims of such heinous crimes.

So Naumann sympathizes. In a video recently produced by a Catholic anti-death penalty group, the archbishop acknowledges that “the suffering and the circumstances of each family who has lost a loved one by a violent crime are unique. I do not presume to be able to speak for all victims of murder. Yet, I did witness how my mother struggled to provide for our family without the benefit of my father, and the pain that she suffered as a result of losing the love of her life. I also know what it is like for children to grow up without a father.”

According to Catholic News Agency, Naumann’s father, Fred, was the assistant manager of a St. Louis liquor store. A week before Christmas 1948, he told an employee to help unload a delivery truck. “When the employee refused, Naumann fired him. They argued, and then the man turned around with a pocketknife, and slashed Naumann’s throat. He died before he reached the hospital,” CNA relates.

Joseph Fred Naumann, the future priest and archbishop, was born six months later.

In the video, which was put out by the Catholic Mobilizing Network, Naumann says that in advocating for the abolition of the death penalty and pleading for the federal government not to continue with the resumption of capital punishment, “it is not my intention to minimize the pain and loss of individuals and families who have suffered the death of a loved one as a result of a violent crime.” He acknowledges that the criminal justice system has a responsibility to protect the innocent from victimization and to deter the commission of violent crimes. “However. in the United States in 2020, we have the ability to protect society from violent criminals without resorting to the death penalty,” he says.

“When we choose to kill in the name of justice, our society lowers itself to imitate the violence of the perpetrator,” he concludes. “Our criminal justice system should strive for rehabilitation and transformation of criminals, not their execution. … If anything can bring healing to the hearts of those mourning the death of a victim of a violent crime, it’s not the destruction of another human life, but the possibility of saving a soul.”

Tags:
death penaltyPro-life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.