Catholics who are helping turn the tide of opinion on the death penalty

Something that doesn’t get much attention, but should.  From the Washington Post:

Soon, probably next week, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy will sign into a law a bill that abolishes the death penalty in his state. When he does, Connecticut will be the fifth state to enact such legislation in as many years — and the third with a governor who was raised Roman Catholic.

As a younger man, Malloy supported the death penalty. But after working as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, he saw the possibility for human error in the justice system and changed his mind.

“I don’t want to overemphasize my Catholicism here,” the governor, who grew up in a family of eight children and went to Jesuit-run Boston College, told me.

“But I know my religion. I know religions in general. In the New Testament, the one place where Jesus talks about the death penalty, he says, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ When I’ve reflected on the death penalty, the reality is I frequently ponder that passage.”

Powerful, vocal Roman Catholics have been much in the news of late, mostly for their hard-line positions on abortion and birth control, and their self-serving rhetoric on the subject of religious rights in the health-care debate. But Catholic activists are playing another political role, too — under the radar — on an issue that hasn’t made the same sorts of headlines.

They are helping to turn the tide of public opinion in the United States against the death penalty. (According to a Pew poll earlier this year, about a third of Americans now oppose capital punishment, up from 18 percent in the mid-1990s.) And they are appealing to the consciences of Roman Catholic politicians to do it.

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