News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference to Judiciary Committee: Reject Death Penalty

March 23, 1999

LANSING—The following statement was issued today by Paul A. Long, Vice President, Pubic Policy of the Michigan Catholic Conference:

“The Catholic Church in Michigan has long advocated its opposition to the restoration of the death penalty in our state. The Church has done so based on the principle belief in the consistent ethic of life. As the March 3, 1999 statement of the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors states:

‘We believe that a principled and consistent rejection of death-dealing as a policy instrument is required to uphold the dignity of human persons and the value of human life. Such a position does not ignore the reality of human sinfulness in the world; on the contrary, we recognize that, given human sinfulness and selective compassion, lethal means will appeal to some people as a solution to one or another social problem, be it those of unwanted pregnancies, burdensome patients or remorseless killers.’

On Christmas Day 1998 Pope John Paul II called for the world wide abolition of capital punishment. In his trip to St. Louis in January he reiterated this message by stating: ‘Modern society has the means of protecting itself without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary."

Michigan has a long and proud tradition of standing for life in all its stages. It is the hope of the Michigan Catholic Conference that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Michigan Legislature will not step away from this tradition by voting for state-sanctioned killing as it is proposed in Senate Joint Resolutions C and F.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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