English Africa Service - Vatican City
This week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia released a statement in which they raised concerns about the worrying trend of violence in their country.
The dignity of the human person
In a statement released on behalf of other Bishops, CABICOL President, Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of the Diocese of Gbarnga, said that while the Church did not condone the ‘diabolical act of violence’ perpetrated against women and children, the death penalty was ultimately not the solution becasue violence cannot drive out violence.
“In as much as we strongly condemn this nefarious act (of Rape), the death penalty cannot serve as a remedy to this problem. As Bishops of the Catholic Church, we uphold the teaching of the Church as contained in the revised version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in number 2267 which states that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” The Bishops said.
There have been growing calls from anti-rape campaigners and some senior members of Liberian society for severe punishments, to include the death penalty, for perpetrators of Rape.
On 16 July 2008, the Liberian Senate re-introduced the death penalty for armed-robbery, hijacking and terrorism. Activists now want the death penalty extended to the crime of Rape.
A disturbing culture of militancy among party cadres
The Bishops, in their statement, also address themselves to the wider problem of violence in Liberian society particularly political violence.
As the country prepares of the 8 December referendum and senatorial elections the Bishops warn against the tragic institutionalisation of violence, hate speech and a culture militancy among party cadres.
“Sadly, our cry (May 2019 statement) got little attention as violence seems to be perpetrating itself ad infinitum. Again, we call on political actors and their followers to refrain from violence,” the Bishops plead with Liberians.
COVID-19: Heed the advice of health experts
The Bishops nonetheless commend the Government, medical personnel, members of the joint security services, the media and cooperating partners for efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. While noting the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the economy, they urge their compatriots to adhere to the advice health of experts in preventing contagion.
“There is therefore the need to continue to follow the basic health protocols of washing of hands, wearing of face masks and social distancing until a definite global solution is found," said the Liberian Bishops.