The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University will present a panel discussion called “Reconciliation and the Death Penalty: What is the Way Forward?” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 26, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on the Newman campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will include a look at the history of the death penalty in Kansas, the current legislative initiative to abolish it, and the Catholic Church’s stance on capital punishment. It will also focus on the perspectives of individuals who have lost family members to murder yet oppose the death penalty, and the possibilities for healing and reconciliation following such traumas. The event will include questions from the audience.
Panelists include Therese Bangert, SCL, Father James Billinger, and Sue Norton and Kristi Smith, both members of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), a national organization of family members of victims of both homicide and executions who oppose the death penalty in all cases. Smith is a resident of Kechi. Her father, James Edwards, was killed after he chased two men who had been shooting at his neighbor.
The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University is designed to strengthen the Catholic identity of Newman by promoting scholarly work and interdisciplinary dialogue that explores Catholic thought and practice in educational, philosophical, political, social, and cultural life. The theme for the institute’s programming through spring 2010 is “Reconciling Differences.”