The repeal of the death penalty in Nebraska represents a further step in the building of a culture of life, according to the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.
Nebraska became last week the 19th state to abolish the death penalty since it was reinstated in the United States in 1976. The Nebraska legislature voted overwhelmingly to end capital punishment in the state, even overcoming a veto from the governor.
While welcoming the vote, Archbishop Wenski also expressed the Church’s prayerful solidarity with those impacted by violence and attacks on human life, and for the many families profoundly impacted by senseless acts of violence.
“Even as we seek justice for these grave wrongs, our faith impels us to call for the building up of a culture of life where all human life is valued. We are a people of deep hope, even for the most lost souls among us. We continue to say that we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing,” said Archbishop Wenski.
Archbishop Wenski also congratulated the Nebraska legislature, the Catholic bishops of Nebraska and the staff of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, Catholic Mobilizing Network and those dedicated to the repeal of the death penalty in that state.
The U.S. bishops have been advocating for an end of the use of the death penalty for more than 40 years and this year marks the 10th anniversary of their Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.
They stand in solidarity with Pope Francis, who in March stated, “The death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, one which contradicts God’s plan for man and society and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective.”
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/