USCCB News Release
March 16, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Bishops Urge New Mexico Governor to Sign Repeal of the Death Penalty
WASHINGTON—Appealing on behalf of the U.S. bishops, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y. wrote to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to urge him to sign HB 285, the repeal of the death penalty recently adopted by the New Mexico legislature.
Bishop Murphy, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote, "Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, have called for the end to the use of the death penalty as a sign of greater respect for all human life," adding that the legislation before the governor "would help to begin building a culture of life in our country."
FULL TEXT of the March 16 letter follows:
Dear Governor Richardson:
On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I join the Catholic bishops of New Mexico and urge you to sign HB 285, ending the use of the death penalty in New Mexico.
Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, have called for the end to the use of the death penalty as a sign of greater respect for all human life. In A Culture of Life and the Death Penalty, the bishops wrote "Even when people deny the dignity of others, we must still recognize that their dignity is a gift from God and is not something that is earned or lost through their behavior. Respect for life applies to all, even the perpetrators of terrible acts. Punishment should be consistent with the demands of justice and with respect for human life and dignity." The legislation before you would help to begin building a culture of life in our country.
I hope and pray that you will take this essential step by signing HB 285 and make New Mexico a leader in turning away from the death penalty with all its moral problems and issues of fairness and justice.
Most Rev. William F. Murphy
Bishop of Rockville Centre
Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops