Joint Statement of Bishops Kopacz and Kihneman on Execution of David Cox

Joint Statement of Bishops Joseph Kopacz and Louis F. Kihneman, III on Execution of David Neal Cox

November 16, 2021

In anticipation of the execution of David Cox tomorrow, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cox family as they continue to grieve and heal from his horrific acts of violence. Their unspeakable suffering remains a heavy cross in their lives.

We share in their suffering. In 2016, two Catholic Nuns were murdered in Holmes County, Mississippi. Sister Paula Merrill, and Sister Margaret Held, served at a local medical clinic. Their brutal murders in the small community of Durant, Mississippi caused shock and sadness.

Even in the midst of such profound loss, the Sisters’ religious communities, their families, and the local Church stated their opposition to the death penalty. This response is deeply rooted in our Christian faith and Catholic tradition.

The death penalty is not a deterrence to murder. We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing those who kill others. Likewise, the antidote to violence is not more violence.

The execution of David Cox is the first in more than a decade in Mississippi. We respectfully submit the perspective and teachings from our Catholic faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that promote the abolition of the death penalty.

We encourage and pray for a more comprehensive debate that calls into question our assumptions used to morally legitimize the death penalty in Mississippi and in our nation.

We recognize that the State must protect innocent people from violent criminals. Our State and country have the ability to provide justice and protect the innocent without using the death penalty. At this time in our nation when violence afflicts the web of life, we do not need state sanctioned violence to add to this vicious cycle.

We implore our fellow citizens to ask our elected official to end the violence of the death penalty and to replace it with non-lethal means of punishment. We are called to respect every human life because each of us is created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:27)

As Christian leaders we call for alternatives to capital punishment more in keeping with our Christian values, the common good, and the dignity of the human person.

Sincerely yours in Christ,                                              Sincerely yours in Christ,

Joseph R. Kopacz                                      Louis F. Kihneman, III
Bishop of Jackson                                      Bishop of Biloxi

Download pdf of statement by clicking here.

Mississippi Bishops praise abortion ban

March 25, 2019

Download statement HERE..
Statement in Espanol HERE..

Mississippi Bishops praise Abortion Ban
When the angel of the Lord declared unto Mary that she would conceive and bear a son, she did not hesitate to say ‘yes.’ What a wonderful world we would live in if every parent could feel free to echo that ‘yes’ when they learn of a new life in the womb.

We, the Catholic bishops of Mississippi, applaud the Legislature for passing and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant for signing into law the six-week abortion ban. This so-called heartbeat bill protects the tiniest and most vulnerable of our citizens.

We hope the courts will uphold this law and continue to pray for an end to abortion in our nation.

Knowing that many face pregnancy with fear; that many must overcome unbelievable obstacles and that the news of a new life can be overwhelming, we encourage women facing an unplanned pregnancy to seek support. There are organizations who can help you. Birthright statewide, ProLife Mississippi, the Center for Pregnancy Choices in the Jackson area; the Oxford Pregnancy Test Center; Life Choices Pregnancy Care Center in Columbus; Morning Star Pregnancy Care Centers in Harrison and Jackson Counties and St. Gerard Community Outreach in Waveland, just to name a few. The staff at these centers stands ready to accompany you from the fear of the unknown to the joy of new life.

Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Louis F. Kihneman, III                         Most Reverend Joseph R. Kopacz
Bishop of Biloxi                                                             Bishop of Jackson

Bishops release statement on abortion bills

Joint Statement of Bishops Kopacz and Louis F. Kihneman, III 

The Catholic Bishops of Mississippi, Most Reverend Joseph R. Kopacz, Bishop of Jackson, and Most Reverend Louis F. Kihneman III, Bishop of Biloxi, have authorized the release of the following statement regarding last week’s U.S. Senate vote protecting unborn human life and the upcoming Mississippi Senate vote:

Last week the United States Senate sought to pass the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” This proposed law, which cleared the House of Representatives in 2013, 2015, and 2017, would prohibit abortions at 20 weeks and beyond after fertilization. Once again, the Senate failed to pass this into law, this time by nine votes. We Catholic Bishops of Mississippi wish to reaffirm the sacredness of human life from conception until natural death. With Pope St. John Paul II, we recognize abortion as “a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders.”

We regret that this golden opportunity to protect innocent human life has once again passed us by, and we express deep sadness. We remind our representatives, once again in the words of Evangelium Vitae, that “they have a duty to make courageous choices in support of life, especially through legislative measures.” We ask continued prayer for a culture of life to prevail in our society, and we urge those who voted against this legislation — especially those who are Catholic — to reconsider. Here in Mississippi, our House of Representatives is to be commended for voting to protect unborn human life after 15 weeks of gestation, and we hope and pray that the state Senate will, in tum, enact such protection.

Sincerely yours in Christ,                                                   Sincerely yours in Christ,

Joseph R. Kopacz                                                               Louis F. Kihneman, III
Bishop of Jackson                                                                Bishop of Biloxi


Joint Letter download here

Unborn Child Protection Act download here


Media Contact:
Maureen Smith
Director of Communications
Catholic Diocese of Jackson
601-969-3581 (office)
251-753-6917 (cell)