Sunday, March 7, 2010

Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have been working for years now to end the death penalty, replacing it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. True life imprisonment is a reality here in my home state of California -- it was established in the 1970's, I believe, and there are about 2000 people serving this sentence -- and not one has ever been released. So for those of you concerned about public safety, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is a real alternative that works.

And then there's the little issue about if you capture, convict and execute the wrong guy . . . you can recover from mistakes with life imprisonment.

There is also a fairness issue -- 12 States in the USA do not have the death penalty, Texas and California execute the most people, and gosh, if you are poor and a man of color, you are headed for death row, but if you are rich and/or white . . . you almost never end up on death row. And let's not even talk about the errors and potential for corruption.

All of this is solved by simply not executing people -- life imprisonment works, protects society, allows recovery from mistakes, is cheaper, etc.

What can you do about the death penalty?

1. Pray for victims of crime and their families, those who have been wrongly convicted, and those awaiting execution.

2. Learn about Catholic social teaching, criminal justice policies, and California policies.

3. Educate others.

4. Advocate by contacting your elected officials, and urge them to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole.

For more information, go to:

"Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death and toward building a culture of life.” -- A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005

The Holy Father calls recourse to the death penalty “unnecessary” and painfully reminds us that our “model of society bears the stamp of the culture of death, and is therefore in opposition to the Gospel message.” (Pope John Paul II, World Day of the Sick, Washington, DC, February 2003)

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