Pennsylvania Bishops Issue Statement Against Death Penalty
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua heads unanimous document against the death penalty
PHILADELPHIA, February 21 (NE) Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of
Philadelphia and the 16 other Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania
have issued a document that restates their opposition to the use
of the death penalty in Pennsylvania. The statement, "The death
penalty: choose life", clarifies their reasons for their
opposition to capital punishment.
"Increasing reliance on the death penalty", says the statement,
"diminishes all of us and is a sign of growing disrespect for
human life. We cannot overcome crime by simply executing
criminals, nor can we restore the lives of the innocent by
ending the lives of those convicted of their murders. The death
penalty offers the tragic illusion that we can defend life by
"The Catholic Church remains steadfast in its defense of life.
While punishment for convicted criminals is just, vengeance is
never a Christian or human rationale for inflicting the death
penalty," said Cardinal Bevilacqua, commenting the document.
"The Church believes that even the worst offenders possess the
potential to reform their lives and make a positive contribution
February 22, 2001
volume 12, no. 53