RAY COLLINS: Mercy Campaign

Last Friday, I received a letter from Professor Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, inviting me, and through me, the members of our Diocesan school community to join the call for mercy for the two young Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who have been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

There is a growing response across Australia to the possibility of these young men facing the firing squad in the near future. Not everyone is willing to oppose this punishment for convicted drug traffickers, supporting the notion that such a crime warrants a serious punishment.

Professor Craven states in his letter that “ACU does not excuse their crimes and we acknowledge that they should not go unpunished, but we ask that they not be punished with a death sentence.”

I support this position. Capital Punishment has been eliminated in our country for many years now and this abolition has been strongly supported by the Catholic Church. The taking of life is something that goes counter to the teachings of the Gospel and we are compelled to support life even when the crimes of some create in us a feeling of disgust and revulsion.

ACU has composed a prayer that might be said in our schools over the next weeks as advocates seek mercy from the Indonesian President on behalf of Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran.

Part of that prayer says:

Merciful Father, we ask your blessing on all we do to build a culture of life. Hear our prayers for those impacted by the death penalty.

We pray for all people, that their lives and dignity as children of a loving God may be respected and protected in all stages and circumstances.

We pray for the victims of violence and their families, that they may experience our love and support and find comfort in your compassion and in the promise of eternal life.

We pray for those on death row, that their lives may be spared, that the innocent may be freed and that the guilty may come to acknowledge their faults and seek reconciliation with you.”

To join the campaign for mercy please find the Mercy Campaign online petition at www.mercycampaign.org/petition .

I commend this cause to you, aware that the taking of human life is contrary to our basic beliefs as followers of Christ.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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