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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

California Catholic Conference on Death Penalty

"SACRAMENTO—Most Reverend Stephen Blaire, Bishop of Stockton and President of the California Catholic Conference, released the following statement today expressing strong support for an end to the death penalty in California and affirming the recent statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death.

'The California Catholic Conference of Bishops strongly supports an end to the death penalty and affirms the statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, which was issued earlier this month.
In light of the fact that California has scheduled three executions—one in December, one in January and one in February—we implore all Californians to ask themselves what good comes of state-sanctioned killing. We recognize the profound pain of those who have lost loved ones to violence and offer them our prayers and our consolation. However, nothing can undo what was done—even taking the life of the convicted killer. The infliction of the death penalty does not make for a more just society.

As Catholic bishops, we teach and preach the Gospel vision of a "culture of life." We believe that we are created in God's image, which compels us to teach a consistent ethic of life and obligates us to preach that the use of the death penalty does not protect human life nor promote human dignity.

We recognize that human beings can and do commit grievous crimes, but we reject the use of the death penalty—especially when we can protect society with an alternate penalty of life imprisonment. In addition, of particular concern to us is the fact that the application of the death penalty is deeply flawed—with those who are poor or from racial minorities most often its subjects. The three pending executions in California are illustrative of these facts.

At this moment in time, we entreat Californians to ponder carefully whether the use of the death penalty makes our society safer. A moratorium is needed to evaluate whether the death penalty serves the common good and safeguards the dignity of human life. We are convinced that it does not.'"

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