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WASHINGTON—The repeal of the death penalty in Maryland represents a courageous step toward a culture of life, said the bishop who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, congratulated the Maryland bishops, the Maryland Catholic Conference, Catholic Mobilizing Network and all dedicated advocates for their efforts to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.
Bishop Blaire also expressed the Church's solidarity with victims, their families and "all who work for a just and safe society." Governor Martin O'Malley enacted the legislation May 2, making Maryland the 18th state to repeal the death penalty.
"We must lift up the dignity of all human life – even for those convicted of the worst crimes, and work to transform our culture so that it respects the inherent dignity and value of all people," said Bishop Blaire. "Americans are beginning to realize that we can do better than the death penalty both to punish crime and keep our society safe. We welcome the decision by the Maryland legislature and Governor O'Malley to abolish the use of the death penalty in Maryland. This is a courageous step toward a culture of life."
The U.S. bishops have long called for the end of the use of the death penalty. They have echoed the words of recent popes, who have supported efforts for "political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty." (Benedict XVI, November 2011) More information on the U.S. bishops' advocacy on this issue can be found online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/
Keywords: death penalty, capital punishment, Connecticut, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, human life and dignity, repeal, consistent ethic of life, Maryland, Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic Church, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB
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