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Bishop Makes Recommendations on State Ballot Measures

SAN DIEGO — Bishop Robert W. McElroy on July 14 issued the following statement about Props. 62 and 66, which deal with the state’s death penalty:

This fall, voters in California will be asked to decide on two propositions regarding the death penalty. Proposition 62, which would eliminate the death penalty in California, and Proposition 66, which would expedite the death penalty process and make it easier to carry out executions.

The Catholic Bishops of California are strongly united in opposing the death penalty and are urging voters to join us in supporting Proposition 62 and opposing Proposition 66.

I am proud to lend my voice to this effort.

State-sponsored killing perpetuates the very cycle of violence that it professes to end. It applies the ultimate sanction of death in a manner that is racially and economically biased. Most chillingly of all, in recent years, more than 100 individuals on death row in the United States have been released from prison because they were innocent of the crime for which they were convicted; thus, even here in America, the death penalty inevitably brings with it the reality of killing innocent people.

It is for is these reasons that Pope Francis has called upon the world to recognize that the death penalty “is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person which contradicts God’s plan for man and society. ... It does not render justice to the victims but rather fosters vengeance.”

For us as Catholics, there could be few greater contradictions to God’s mercy than to have California reaffirm or even increase the use of the death penalty in this Year of Mercy. It is essential that we, as a society, follow the counsel of Pope Francis to guarantee vigorously the security of our citizens, but to do so in a manner designed to foster respect for human life rather than to undercut it.

In November, as we come to the end of the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, I urge Californians to embrace both justice and mercy to support Prop. 62 and oppose Prop. 66.

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