Serving the Church in Texas

Bishops express gratitude for clemency for Thomas Whitaker

Governor’s decision to stop execution an example of restorative justice.

 AUSTIN – The Catholic bishops of Texas expressed gratitude for the decision of Governor Greg Abbott to grant clemency to Thomas Whitaker. Their full statement follows:

“We offer prayers of thanksgiving that Thomas Whitaker was granted clemency and mercy has been shown. We are grateful to Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and to all those who worked for mercy and justice in this case, including Thomas’ father and stepmother, Kent and Tanya Whitaker. We remember and pray for the souls of the victims, Patricia and Kevin Whitaker.

“As Pope Francis has said, ’No man ever, not even the murderer, loses his personal dignity, because God is a Father who always awaits the return of the son who, knowing that he has done wrong, asks pardon and begins a new life.’

“We believe this case suggests a spirit of restorative justice, and we pray all may reflect on how Texans would be better served by a criminal justice system which embraces restorative justice. We pray the Whitaker family may also experience healing and ongoing reconciliation in their lives.”

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is the association of the Roman Catholic bishops of Texas. Through the TCCB, the bishops provide a moral and social public policy voice, accredit the state's Catholic schools, and maintain archives that reflect the work and the history of the Catholic Church in Texas.