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Kentucky’s Roman Catholic Bishops

Support Renewed Efforts to Repeal Death Penalty Law

in 2001 General Assembly

Frankfort, KY (December 28, 2000) - - Kentucky’s four Roman Catholic bishops joined with members of the General Assembly and death penalty foes in their support for new legislation repealing Kentucky’s death penalty in the 2001 General Assembly.

In a joint press conference today, Jane Chiles, Executive Director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky said, "For Roman Catholics human life belongs to God alone and not the state. Catholics have a moral obligation to rethink their position on the death penalty." In recent years the Catholic Church, led by Pope John Paul II, has clarified and strengthened its opposition to the death penalty calling it immoral, unjust and unnecessary. Earlier this year in St. Louis, Missouri the Holy Father challenged the U.S. to end its use of the death penalty, "Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently… for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary."

Kentucky’s bishops have long opposed the death penalty. According to Ms. Chiles, "Kentucky’s bishops are committed to a persistent and principled witness against the death penalty, against a culture of death, and will continue to call on Kentucky’s General Assembly to put an end to this failed public policy." Nationally, the Catholic bishops have stated "Our witness to respect for life shines most brightly when we demand respect for each and every human life, including the lives of those who fail to show that respect for others."

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky is urging not just Roman Catholics but all Kentucky citizens to join in renouncing state-sanctioned executions as an unacceptable method of punishment that perpetuates violence and fails to bring true healing to murder victims’ families. Ms. Chiles concluded by saying, "We oppose the death penalty not just for what it does to those guilty of horrible crimes, but for what it does to all of us in Kentucky."

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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