WASHINGTON (January 28, 1999) -- The President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference today hailed the Missouri governor's decision to commute the death sentence of an inmate scheduled for execution February 10. Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston called Gov. Mel Carnahan's decision, which came after an appeal by Pope John Paul II during his visit to St. Louis, "welcome news and a true sign of hope."
January 28, 1999
"As President of the United States Catholic Conference, I strongly commend the decision by Governor Carnahan to commute the death sentence for inmate Darrell Mease. In today's culture of violence, it is welcome news and a true sign of hope. The Holy Father's plea for this one man's life, someone who has been convicted of having done great evil, reflects the Church's concern for all human life.
"We oppose the death penalty not just for what it does to those guilty of heinous crimes, but for what it does to all of us: it offers the tragic illusion that we can defend life by taking life.
"We hope others will take the Holy Father's message to heart and respond to the biblical call to choose life over death, and to reject all forms of violence and vengeance as incompatible with the life and teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ."