Holy See Reaffirms Death Penalty Stance

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- In the wake of the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Vatican said that it is opposed to the death penalty.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, made that comment Saturday, the day Hussein was executed by hanging at a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah.

“A capital execution is always tragic news,” he said, “reasons for sadness, even if it is about a person who has been guilty of grave crimes.”

Father Lombardi added: “To kill the guilty one is not the way to rebuild justice and to reconcile society. The risk also exists that, on the contrary, the spirit of vengeance will be fueled and new violence be sown.

“In this dark time of the life of the Iraqi people one cannot but hope that all those responsible will make every effort so that in a dramatic situation channels of reconciliation and peace will finally be opened.”

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