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Missouri’s Catholic bishops call for an end to the death penalty

St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson

St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson

Missouri’s Catholic bishops have spoken out in the debate over Missouri's death penalty.

One day after Missouri carried out another execution, Missouri Catholic Bishops hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon, Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri Supreme Court justices and the Missouri General Assembly calling for the end of the death penalty.

“We, the Catholic bishops of Missouri, write this open letter to express grave concern with the rapid acceleration of executions in recent months. Since November 2013, Missouri has executed 15 individuals, nearly one a month," write Archbishop Robert Carlson, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph, Bishop John Gaydos of Jefferson City, and Bishop James Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

In 2014, Missouri tied Texas for the most executions with 10. Missouri has now executed 15 men since November 2013.

The bishops also express concern that race and an inadequate defense counsel too often play roles in the justice process.


The bishops point out that Pope Francis has also urged an end to the use of the death penalty, noting that “[h]uman justice is imperfect, and the failure to recognize its fallibility can transform it into a source of injustice.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch - April 15, 2015