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California bishops must oppose death penalty

November 19, 2015
Stuart MacKenzie
San Bruno

Yesterday (Nov. 12) the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a legal challenge to the death penalty. Now, the bishops of the California Catholic Conference need to do three actions to support a culture of life:

1) Urge Gov. Brown to commute the death sentences of prisoners in California to life imprisonment.

2) Urge the California Legislature to abolish the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment.

3) Educate Catholics on the Christian reasons to abolish the death penalty.

In his message to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis said that he advocated the global abolition of the death penalty: “Every life is sacred” and “A just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, a former auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, stated: “By taking life, in whatever form the death penalty is carried out, the state is usurping the role of God. Execution does violence to God’s time, eliminating the opportunity for God’s redemptive and forgiving grace to work in the life of a prisoner.”

It is the Year of Mercy.

The bishops of the CCC have opposed the recently passed physician-assisted suicide law, the latest manifestation of the culture of death in California. Now is the time for the bishops to oppose the death penalty in California. It is the time to be bold.

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