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Kentucky’s Bishops Praise Governor Patton

and Offer Prayer for Victim’s Family

Frankfort, KY (June 19, 2003) – Kentucky’s Roman Catholic bishops today praised Governor Paul Patton for his leadership in the commutation of Kevin Stanford’s death sentence. The bishops also are calling on all Roman Catholics and people of good will to pray that Ms. Poore’s family will find healing and a new lasting peace. Stanford was 17 years old when he was convicted of raping and then murdering Ms. Baerbel Poore in Jefferson County.

The bishops believe that the Governor’s action yesterday holds Kevin Stanford accountable for his crime and will bring a new respect for the value of human life, even of those convicted of horrible crimes. The bishops called on Governor Patton to use his power of Executive Clemency out of concern for Mr. Stanford, but also for the common good of society. According to Scott Wegenast, a policy analyst for CCK, "The bishops requested clemency not only out of concern for Mr. Stanford as a human person, but also because of our belief that the use of the death penalty diminishes us all. Governor Patton has set an important example by saying "no" to more violence in Kentucky."

According to Fr. Pat Delahanty, CCK policy analyst, "This is fantastic; Governor Patton did the right thing. He has set a courageous example for all elected officials by demonstrating that justice can be served without society resorting to more violence. If society is going to have a death penalty, at least you should not impose it on children."

The Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty does not arise from misplaced sympathy for convicted murderers. The Church’s opposition to the death penalty is founded on our belief that all human life is sacred and must be respected, even the lives of those guilty of murder. Pope John Paul II has called on Catholics to seek an end to the death penalty. In his 1999 visit to St. Louis, Missouri, the Holy Father stated, "A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform."

Stanford’s final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected in a divided 5-4 decision on October 22, 2002. CCK joined with other youth advocates, the Kentucky Council of Churches and many other faith communities in calling upon the Governor to respect human life by commuting Kevin Stanford’s death sentence.

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky is the public policy arm of the state’s four Roman Catholic Bishops.

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Catholic Conference of Kentucky

1042 Burlington Lane

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

502-875-4345 502-875-2841 Fax cckstaffATccky.org

Last modified: October, 2010