U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Death Penalty

“This is a time to teach clearly, encourage reflection, and call for common action in the Catholic community to bring about an end to the use of the death penalty in our land.

“ . . . We reaffirm our common judgment that the use of the death penalty is unnecessary and unjustified in our time and circumstances.

“Our nation should forgo the use of the death penalty because

• The sanction of death, when it is not necessary to protect society, violates respect for human life and dignity.

• State-sanctioned killing in our names diminishes all of us.

• Its application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed.

• We have other ways to punish criminals and protect society.

“ . . . We renew our common conviction that it is time for our nation to abandon the illusion that we can protect life by taking life. Ending the use of the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death toward building a culture of life.”