||Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and
Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed|
Florida Catholic Bishops’
Campaign against the Death Penalty
Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America.
The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty.
Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged.
The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007.
Diocese of Orlando
Orlando, FL – Saturday March 3, 2007
9:30am – 12:30pm
Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law Courtroom
6441 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32807
For information contact:
The Criminal Justice Office – Catholic Charities of Central Florida or
The Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Orlando
Thomas Gillan @ 407-658-1818 or Leotrainer@aol.com
or Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Finally Says “When”
By: Dale Recinella
My friend and I sit down to coffee at a truck stop in rural central Florida. The crowd and restaurant are pure country. This is as much the heart of Dixie as any antebellum town in southwestern Georgia or Alabama. The waitress returns to top off our cups.
“When,” I lift up my hand instinctively, as the black richness licks the brim of the cup.
She stops abruptly and they both laugh at my unintended betrayal of my Yankee roots.
“Down here we say Wo or Nuff,” smiles my friend. “Or if you’re being formal say, That’ll do.”
I join in the laugh as our discussion returns to task. He’s an ordained Protestant minister. The death penalty is on his mind.
“Look, I understand where the Pope is coming from,” he says. “But there are social and Biblical realities that must be faced.”
“Good. Let’s face them.’”
“Well take all this stuff about Frank Smith. Now the death row lawyers want DNA tests available to everybody. We’ll have more delays.”
“I knew Frank Smith,” I shake my head. “I remember once about two years ago when I came to his cell door on my rounds. I said, ‘how are you doing?’ Frank eyeballed me, rolled his head and barked, as dramatically as possible, ‘I’m on death row, dummy. How do you think I’m doing!’ It was staged for my benefit. All the guys on the corridor knew he was going to say that. Everybody cracked up and split a gut. Then he told me he was innocent, that he shouldn’t be on death row.”
“Did you believe him?”
“I didn’t know what to think. Now, he’s dead from cancer. After almost 15 years locked up on death row, the State does a posthumous DNA test and finds out he really was innocent. God have mercy on us.”
“Yeah. It’s tough. But we can’t allow more delays in the process. There’s got to be closure.”
“That’s what the State attorneys argued for years to prevent DNA testing for Frank Smith.
“What about the victims?”
“Help me out here. How does killing an innocent man help the victims? Doesn’t that change the process from justice to sacrifice?”
“But you can’t keep looking at every blasted new piece of evidence that they come up with.”
“So you are opposed to the Biblical death penalty.”
“What?” my friend pulls up short. “You’ve lost me.”
“The Biblical death penalty. The one practiced by the ancient Hebrews under the Mosaic Law. You are anti-Biblical.”
“I’m a minister. How could I be anti-Biblical?”
“You just said that you’re opposed to endlessly looking at one piece of new evidence after another. Under the Biblical death penalty the ancient Hebrews required the court to look at every piece of evidence no matter how far along the proceedings were.”
“No, I’m not. Even as they marched the accused out to be killed, a herald went in front and called out for anyone with new evidence to come forward.”
“And that was it, right?”
“No. They went further. Until the accused was actually dead, any new evidence had to be reviewed by the court. If the community was standing ready to stone a man and he suddenly remembered something that could help in his defense, the trial court had to reconvene to hear the evidence. Even if it was just his statement from his memories!”
“How did they ever execute anyone?”
“Execution was not their primary concern. Their greatest concern was the fear of executing an innocent man. It’s clear my friend. Any rule or law that prevents a court from hearing new evidence right up to the very end is anti-Biblical.”
First published: The Florida Catholic, February 8, 2001
© 2001 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.
I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.
Your name and information will never be used or sha#3333FF with anyone. We promise!
Dale S. Recinella
, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella
, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and
Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed