"A feast of life and justice". With these words Mario Marazziti has opened, in the name of the Community of Sant'Egidio, the celebration before the Coliseum in Rome, enlightened for the abolition of the capital punishment in New Mexico.
Before the numerous citizens convened, the special guests of the evening: the Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, the archbishop of Santa Fe Mgr. Michael Sheehan, Hon. Mrs Gail Chasey, representative of New Mexico and Viki Elky of the Coordination for the abolition of the capital punishment in the New Mexico, in Rome on invitation of the Community of Sant'Egidio. Attending the meeting for welcoming them also the Mayor of Rome, Alemanno.
Mario Marazziti remembered other reasons to celebrate in the place where the campaign "Cities for life - Cities against the death penalty" started (now involving over 1000 cities in the world): also the Gabon and the Burundi are reviewing their law system to abolish the capital punishment. "Rome has offered the Coliseum and is friend of New Mexico".
Governor Richardson said he was honored to have been able to work for the abolition of the capital punishment in New Mexico, that today is the fifteenth state to have repealed it from its code of laws, and the first one between the states of the West US. Richardson pointed out the reasons that moved the action of the legislator in his state: it is an unhuman punishment, the sentenced to death are almost only belonging to the minorities, while very frequent are the errors of justice (in the last year were ascertained 130 cases). But also other consideration were appraised: in New Mexico the alternative to the capital punishment is now the life in prison without parole and also, the capital punishment costs more than life inprisonment. The Governor finally thanked "the Pope, Italy, the Community of Sant'Egidio" for having opened the way and shown the road for the abolition of the capital punishment.
The archbishop of Santa Fe Mgr. Michael Sheehan mentioned the symbolic importance of the Coliseum, the place where 2000 years ago the Christians were killed by means of lions, while today the Christians won the death because they defend life.
Reminding to all that the abolition of the capital punishment is a good thing for all of the humanity, Mgr. Sheehan added that it is always neccessary to fight for life and its respect, as the Church teaches and as the pope always affirms.
Concluding his greeting, the archbishop showed his gratitude to the Community of Sant'Egidio for having "put in practice the words of the 'Gaudium et Spes' ".
Gail Chasey remembered the long way covered, since 1997, for the abolition of the capital punishment in New Mexico; she assessed that today we contemplate the result of the work and of an intense commitment of many people: "Everyone joining the struggle against the capital punishment makes the difference".
Viky Elki remembered the common work of the last years till this day has risen and expressed her gratitude to all, and particularly to the City of Rome and to the Community of Sant'Egidio.
Taking floor, the Mayor Alemanno declared that every State that decides to abolish the capital punishment is a step ahead to cancel this shame. He affirmed that violence is always to be condemned, defeat but the violence of the states is an ignominy. The Mayor said that the City of Rome will be close to all of the states that will abolish the capital punishment, and finally thanked the Community of Sant'Egidio "that awakens us and keeps us alert on these issues".
Mario Marazziti then asked the present a moment of silence to remember the victims of the capital punishment, followed by a piece performed on the saxophone by Stefano Di Battista. At the conclusion the auspice and the hope that comes from the celebration: that the hope expressed by the enlightened Coliseum may be contagious for the whole world through the adhesion of all to the abolition of the capital punishment.
The delegation of New Mexico had arrived in Rome the previous day, and had participated in the evening prayer of the Community. In the morning instead the audience of the pope and subsequently a press conference in the seat of the Community of Sant'Egidio.