Mar 21, 2005 — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a new campaign against the death penalty Monday, saying they will step up lobbying and educational efforts, and buttressing their arguments with polls they commissioned that find support for executions has weakened among American parishioners.
“We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. We cannot defend life by taking life,” Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told a Washington news conference.
The bishops said their educational work would be aimed at parishes, while they would renew lobbying efforts at both the state and national levels.
McCarrick, the Washington archbishop, said Catholic tradition and teaching allow for the use of capital punishment, but noted that Pope John Paul II and other Catholic leaders increasingly say the state “should forego this right if it has other means to protect society.” He said that’s the case in the United States.