VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II has again intervened personally to seek clemency for an American criminal who is scheduled for execution.

      The Vatican press office today confirmed that the Holy Father has written to Texas Governor George Bush, Jr, asking him to commute the sentence of Joseph Cannon, a convicted killer who was scheduled for execution last night. The Pope's letter was delivered through the apostolic nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan. However, the archbishop acknowledged that the chances of persuading Gov. Bush to commute the sentence are slim.

      Joseph Cannon was sentenced to die after being convicted of the murder of a Texas woman 21 years ago, when he was only 17. He would be the first American in several years to die for a crime committed while he was still legally a minor. Cannon argues that his years in prison have changed him, bringing him to embrace religion.

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April 23, 1998 volume 9, no. 79         DAILY CATHOLIC