By Vatican News
Archbishop J Peter Sartain of Seattle, Washington, said in a statement, “Our country’s legal system is far from perfect when it comes to imposing the death penalty.” He noted that the Supreme Court of Washington State had ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional because “it had been implemented in an arbitrary and racially-biased manner.”
While affirming the right of all citizens “to be protected from those who commit the crime of murder,” Archbishop Sartain said, “The act of murder cries out for an appropriate punishment, but the death penalty merely adds violence to violence, perpetuating an illusion that taking one human life for another can somehow balance the scales of justice.”
The statement of the Washington State Catholic Conference said the Church’s “consistent belief is that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death” has “has energized the Bishops’ efforts for decades to abolish the death penalty.”
There are three Catholic dioceses in the U.S. state of Washington: the Archdiocese of Seattle, headed by Abp Sartain, with two Auxiliary Bishops, Eusebio Elizondo and Daniel Mueggenburg; and the Dioceses of Spokane and Yakima, led by Bishop Thomas Daly and Bishop Joseph Tyson respectively.
The bill proposed in the state Senate would repeal legislation allowing the death penalty in Washington, “and require that life imprisonment without the possibility of parole become the sentence for aggravated first degree murder convictions.”