The eight Catholic bishops serving Maryland, including Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, Washington Archbishop Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly, are urging President Donald Trump to stop the planned federal execution of Dustin Higgs, scheduled for Jan. 15, 2021. The bishops today also wrote to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan seeking his support in fighting this execution.
In their letter to President Trump, the bishops wrote, “Alternative sentences, such as life without parole, are punishments through which society can be kept safe. The death penalty does not create a path to justice. Rather, it contributes to the growing disrespect for human life and perpetuates a cycle of violence in our society.”
They also quoted Pope Francis: “Human justice is imperfect, and the failure to recognize its fallibility can transform it into a source of injustice." Two years ago, Pope Francis updated the Catholic Catechism to affirm that the use of the death penalty is “inadmissible.”
In their letter to Governor Hogan, the bishops wrote that they are proud of Maryland’s leadership in ending the death penalty and noted, “While we recognize that your powers as Governor of Maryland do not extend to federal death penalty cases, we urge you to intervene with the Trump Administration to ask that this execution be stopped.”
They also recognized the pain of victims and survivors: “We grieve for the victims of violent crime and murder. We recognize the terrible suffering of their families and pray that God will provide them peace and healing.”
Dustin Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of Tamika Black, Tanji Jackson, and Mishann Chinn in Prince George’s County. He is in prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The letters’ signatories include Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori; Washington Archbishop, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory; and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly; two Washington auxiliary bishops: Bishop Roy E. Campbell and Bishop Mario Dorsonville; and three additional bishops from Baltimore: Auxiliary Bishop Adam J. Parker; Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Denis J. Madden; and Auxiliary Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, CSsR.
About the Maryland Catholic Conference (@mdcatholic)
The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Maryland (arch)dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Wilmington. Maryland is home to more than one million diverse Catholics.
Additional resource: United States Bishop Chairmen Renew Call to Stop Executions
“Solidarity finds concrete expression in service, which can take a variety of forms in an effort to care for others. And service in great part means ‘caring for vulnerability, for the vulnerable members of our families, our society, our people.’”
- Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 115
December 12, 2020
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As the current pandemic continues to devastate families and communities, we must, as people of faith, continue to take necessary steps to protect the health and life of our families and communities, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable.
We are grateful to the clergy, religious and lay people in our parishes, schools, social service programs and health care facilities who have been providing ministry under very difficult circumstances, as well as the parishioners and parents who have made significant sacrifices to help protect public health.
We look with hope toward recent developments to produce effective and life-saving vaccines. We are heartened by the quick progress to date and look forward to working with federal, state and local government leaders to promote widespread vaccination against COVID-19 in the interests of protecting public health and human life.
In response to some questions about the source of the vaccines, we wish to provide some clarity regarding the ethical and moral status of COVID-19 vaccines. As a recent communication from the chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life and doctrine committees notes:
“Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.”
At the same time, they add, “They are not completely free from any connection to abortion, however, as both Pfizer and Moderna made use of a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products. There is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote.”
Over a number of years, the Holy See has addressed the use of tainted vaccines and, as the chairmen write, “at the level of the recipient, it is morally permissible to accept vaccination when there are no alternatives and there is a serious risk to health.”
Therefore, a Catholic can in good conscience receive these COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, given the grave risk of harm to others, we strongly encourage the faithful to receive a vaccine against COVID, unless medically indicated otherwise. It is vitally important that the most vulnerable among us and those who are from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID receive the vaccine swiftly. It also is imperative that pharmaceutical companies be urged to develop vaccines that fully respect the dignity of the human person at all stages.
This has been a difficult year. We mourn with all those who have lost loved ones. We pray for the faithful departed and for all those experiencing deep suffering, including illness, loss of employment, isolation, loneliness and anxiety. May the intercession of Mary, Health of the Sick, bring healing and comfort to our Catholic community. And may she draw us ever closer to her Son, the Divine Physician.
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Wilton Cardinal Gregory
Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly
Most Reverend Roy E. Campbell Jr.
Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville-Rodriguez
Most Reverend Bruce Lewandowski, CSsR
Most Reverend Denis J. Madden
Most Reverend Adam J. Parker
On Dec. 21, 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a "Note on the morality of using some anti-COVID-19 vaccines" that discusses the morality of use of these vaccines in detail and also notes, "from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one's own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good."
Ecuador needs our help. Join us in supporting our brothers and sisters in need today!
The Maryland Catholic Conference is joining with a coalition of leaders to send 20 tons of medical and cleaning supplies to help relieve the suffering from the coronavirus in our sister state of Ecuador.
Donation date extended to July 18!
Our brothers and sisters in Ecuador have suffered terribly from the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 40,000 confirmed cases and 3,500 deaths, more than any South American country except Brazil. The most populous city, Guayaquil, has been especially hard hit. Frontline workers are facing overwhelmed hospitals, little personal protective equipment, families are lacking access to health care, and the government is struggling to collect the bodies from the staggering death toll.
Our neighbors are in need, and we as the Catholic community want to reach out in solidarity. As the body of Christ, let's open our hearts to our sister state of Ecuador.
Hospitals and frontline workers desperately need personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical and cleaning supplies including
- Surgical or N95 masks
- Exam and surgical gloves
- Dishwashing gloves
- Disposable and reusable surgical gowns
- Face shields
- Shoe covers
- Vitamins (prenatal, kids, elderly)
- Clorox wipes
- Liquid bleach
- Liquid soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant supplies
- Unopened bedsheets
- Unopened blankets
- Unopened pillows
Supplies can be dropped off at the following business locations by July 14 (click the location for directions)
Mr Car Locations
Toro Taxes – Silver Spring
An Ecuadorian military plane will deliver the donations on July 14; items must be dropped off prior to this date to make it on the plane.
You can make a secure donation through Paypal to the Ecuadent Foundation which is organizing these efforts. Ecuadent has directed medical missions to Ecuador for the past 30 years, providing excellent medical and dental care to impoverished children in the country. Each donation will go directly to providing medical supplies, cleaning supplies and food to those in need.
Relief supplies are being organized by a coalition including the Maryland Secretary of State, Ecuadent Foundation, Ecuadorian Consulate in D.C., Ecuadorian Armed Forces, Maryland’s Sister State Program and the Healing Hands Foundation.
Thank you for opening your hearts to our brothers and sisters in Ecuador. For more information, please contact Molly Sheahan at the Maryland Catholic Conference, [email protected].
Ecuador necesita nuestra ayuda. ¡Acompáñanos a apoyar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas necesitados hoy!
La Conferencia Católica de Maryland se une a una coalición de líderes para enviar 20 toneladas de suministros médicos y de limpieza para ayudar a aliviar el sufrimiento del coronavirus en nuestro estado hermano de Ecuador.
Nuestros hermanos/as en Ecuador han sufrido terriblemente por la pandemia Covid-19, con más de 40.000 casos confirmados y 3.500 muertes, más que cualquier país sudamericano excepto Brasil.
La ciudad más poblada, Guayaquil, ha sido especialmente afectada. Los trabajadores de primera línea se enfrentan a hospitales abrumados, poco equipo de protección personal, las familias carecen de acceso a atención médica y el gobierno está teniendo dificultades para recoger los cuerpos de los muertos por la asombrosa cifra de víctimas del virus.
Nuestros vecinos están necesitados y nosotros como comunidad católica queremos acercarnos en solidaridad. Como el cuerpo de Cristo, abramos nuestros corazones a nuestro estado hermano de Ecuador.
Los hospitales y los trabajadores de primera línea necesitan desesperadamente equipo de protección personal (EPP) y suministros médicos y de limpieza, incluyendo:
- Mascarillas quirúrjicas
- Guantes quirúrjicos y para examinación
- Guantes para lavar platos
- Batas quirúrjicas desechables y reutilizables
- Protectores faciales
- Cubiertas para zapatos
- Vitaminas prenatales o para niños y ancianos
- Toallitas húmedas con Cloro
- Jabón líquido
- Sábanas, cobijas, y almohadas nuevas
- Otros suministros médicos (consulte la lista)
Los suministros se pueden dejar en las siguientes ubicaciones antes del 14 de julio (haz clic para indicaciones):
Mr Car concesionarios
Toro Taxes – Silver Spring
Un avión militar ecuatoriano entregará las donaciones en el 14 de julio; artículos deben ser dejados antes de esta fecha.
Se pueden donar de forma segura por Paypal a la Fundación Ecuadent que organiza estos esfuerzos. Ecuadent han dirigido misiones médicas a Ecuador durante los últimos treinta años, proporcionando excelente atención médica y dental a niños pobres en el país. Cada donación se destinará a proporcionar suministros médicos, suministros de limpieza y alimentos a los necesitados.
Los suministros de ayuda están siendo organizados por una coalición que incluye al Secretario de Estado de Maryland, la Fundación Ecuadent, el Consulado Ecuatoriano en D.C., las Fuerzas Armadas Ecuatorianas, el Programa de Estado Hermanas de Maryland y la Fundación Healing Hands.
Gracias por abrir sus corazones a nuestros hermanos/as en Ecuador. Para obtener más información, contacte a Molly Sheahan en la Conferencia Católica de Maryland, [email protected].