Noting the notable role of Catholicism in recent state death penalty abolition efforts
Today's Washington Post ran this interesting story headlined "Catholic activists pushing politicians to turn tide against the death penalty." Here are excerpts:
More at http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/04/noting-the-notable-role-of-catholicism-in-recent-state-death-penalty-abolition-efforts.htmlSoon, probably next week, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy will sign into a law a bill that abolishes the death penalty in his state. When he does, Connecticut will be the fifth state to enact such legislation in as many years — and the third with a governor who was raised a Roman Catholic....Powerful, vocal Roman Catholics have been much in the news of late, mostly for their hard-line positions on abortion and birth control, and their self-serving rhetoric on the subject of religious rights in the health-care debate. But Catholic activists are playing another political role, too — under the radar — on an issue that hasn’t made the same sorts of headlines.They are helping to turn the tide of public opinion in the United States against the death penalty. (According to a Pew poll earlier this year, about a third of Americans now oppose capital punishment, up from 18 percent in the mid-1990s.) And they are appealing to the consciences of Roman Catholic politicians to do it.The sanctity of human life is central to Catholic theology, and for death penalty opponents, this sanctity extends as much to living men and women convicted of capital crimes as it does to embryos and fetuses....Last November, a delegation of international death-penalty opponents was invited to a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI. There, the pope praised and encouraged “the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty.”...In 2011, on Ash Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that abolished the death penalty in Illinois. Quinn had attended Catholic schools as a child and went to Georgetown University but had long supported capital punishment.
"Pope seeks end to death penalty"The title of this post is the headline of this AP story, which gets started this way:
Pope Benedict XVI voiced support Wednesday for political actions around the world aimed at eliminating the death penalty, reflecting his stance as an opponent of capital punishment.At http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/12/pope-seeks-end-to-death-penalty.html
He made the comments during his weekly public audience to participants at a meeting being promoted by the Catholic Sant'Egidio Community on the theme "No Justice without Life." He said he hopes "your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty."