June 6, 2018

Governor John Kasich
77 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich,

I write on behalf of the nearly 1200 Catholic priest members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and many of our lay and religious friends. Together we ask that you not authorize the execution of inmate Robert Van Hook on July 18th, 2018. We ask rather that you commute the sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole.

We are persuaded that every execution of prisoners found guilty of capital punishment has several negative consequences:

1) It risks the execution of an innocent man, as numerous cases have proven;

2) It sustains the status of the United States as the only major nation in the developed world that continues this unnecessary mode of 'justice';

3) It ends efforts and any hope of rehabilitating the individual and enabling a constructive life within the prison community and beyond;

4) It costs more to pursue execution through a long legal process than to sustain such inmates through life in prison.

As Pope Francis said on October 11, 2017: It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which – ultimately – only God is the true judge and guarantor.

Executions are a remnant of barbaric times which discredit our claim of being a civilized and humane society. Pope Francis and the U.S. Bishops have called for abolition of the death penalty. We stand with them.  

Please commute the execution of Robert Van Hook.          

Hope, Joy & all Blessings,                                    

Fr. Bob Bonnot

Chair, AUSCP Leadership Team



Bob Bonnot, Chair
Diocese of Youngstown

Kevin ClintonVice-chair
Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis

David Cooper, Past Chair
Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Lee BacchiTreasurer
Diocese of Joliet

Louis Arceneaux, Secretary
Congregation of the Mission

Dan DivisInternational Liaison
Diocese of Cleveland

James P. Kiesel
Archdiocese of Baltimore  

Aidan McAleenan,Membership
Diocese of Oakland

Tulio Ramirez, Membership
Archdiocese of New York

James Schexnayder
Diocese of Oakland

William Spilly   
Diocese of Rochester

Clarence Williams, CPPs
National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus

Sr. Jackie Doepker, OSF
Executive Secretary