Governor Brown asked to order moratorium on death penalty

Ministers of Justice from 25 countries join Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, one of the new lay movements in the Church, to jointly issue the appeal

California Governor Jerry Brown. (Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file.)

Ministers of Justice from 25 countries have joined the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, one of the new lay movements in the Catholic Church, to jointly issue an appeal to California Governor Jerry Brown to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in his state.

Should Brown comply, the moratorium could be short-lived, since Gavin Newsom will be sworn in as California’s new chief executive on Jan. 7. Yet Sant’Egidio insists the measure is urgent, since California presently has the largest death row in the Western world with 742 inmates awaiting execution.

The appeal came from a Sant’Egidio-sponsored conference at the Italian parliament on “A World Without the Death Penalty.” It was presented by Mario Marazziti, coordinator of Sant’Egidio’s campaign for a universal death penalty moratorium, representing the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Ministries of Justice from South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, and Malaysia.

“We launch an appeal to a great American politician, Jerry Brown, governor for four terms with a vision for the State of California, the state with the largest death row in the Western world in San Quentin: 742 death row inmates waiting for execution, among them innocent people.”

“The appeal I launch, on behalf of this congress and the Ministers here gathered, is that the governor declare a death penalty moratorium and begin the process to commute all death sentences before leaving his office by the end of the year,” Marazziti said.

“It [would be] a gesture of great political wisdom that will strengthen the authoritativeness of the system of justice in California, a state where half of death sentences come from only 3 counties out of 53, [and] where they seem to be related more to geography than the nature of the crimes and those convicted for the crimes,” Marazziti said.

In reality, if Brown were to take such a step, its significance would be largely symbolic. Of the 971 California death sentences recorded by the Death Penalty Information Center since 1978, only 13 condemned inmates have been executed, while Californians have paid more than $5 billion to maintain the system.

Full story at Crux.

Comments

  1. Well, I wouldn’t call Jerry Brown “a great American politician”, but it’s good that Sant’Egidio is doing this in order to end this rotting relic of the culture of death called the death penalty. Kudos to them. Listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

    • If criminals had respect the lives of the victims they killed, we would have no need for the death penalty. The Catechism of the Catholic Church allows the death penalty. The Argentinian Jesuit living in the Vatican cannot unilaterally change that.

      • Wrong. It was Pope St. John Paul II who judged that death penalty in our time is “cruel and unnecessary” and who called for its abolition. Pope Benedict continued the Saint’s magisterium. And now Pope Francis is continuing it. Simply put: you people who are dissenting against this authentic magisterial teaching HAVE NOT been paying attention for the last 30 years! This is authentic magisterial teaching and we are called to adhere to it with religious assent of mind and will. Listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

    • listen to the authentic and universal ordinary magisterium instead of passing fads: the death penalty is perennially valid! It’s authorized by God in Scripture! Is God a liar? No! Can God deceive? No! Respect the Word of God! Respect Revelation! Respect authentic Catholic Faith!

      • Simon: the authentic Catholic Faith is that which is handed down and taught by the Magisterium, namely the popes and the bishops. The Magisterium is the ONLY authentic interpreter of Scripture and Tradition. THIS is Catholic dogma, Simon. What the popes since John Paul II have taught about the death penalty is not mere “prudential judgment”—but a solemn teaching. Listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

  2. Can that moratorium include the innocent pre-born who suffer the death penalty without cause for their crime of existing?

    • Brown signed into law requiring pro-life centers to advertise for abortion. thank God it was struck down as a violation of free speech. but shows you Brown isn’t a true Catholic.

  3. Can Brown not take some action [I do not know the technical term] to permanently end the death penalty for those currently on death row? This action would be beyond the reach of future governors to reverse. They would still face life without parole.

  4. More evidence of the corruption of the Vatican. The death penalty was enacted as a deterrent to hopefully prevent heinous slaughter of the innocent.

    When did anyone in the Vatican send a letter to “the good” Jerry Brown to demand that he stop the state sponsored slaughter of innocent unborn? —never.

    Jerry Brown is inhumane and will take his grievous sins to his death.

    • This argument of Ed Walker’s is seriously flawed. If the death penalty was enacted as a deterrent, it isn’t working isn’t it? The fact is that there are now other means to protect society from a capital criminal short of putting that criminal to death. To put him to death when there are other means available to protect society is a VIOLATION of human dignity which the Church and society cannot allow. Listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

      • all punishments have a deterrent intent and effect. but it’s not 100%

        • Then by your own admission, it’s a flawed deterrent. What is flawed must give way to the higher priority of the dignity of all human life, no matter how heinous the criminal. This is the papal teaching since John Paul II. Therefore, listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!

  5. Yes, I agree, the death penalty should be abolished. The death penalty given to the unborn of course. The unborn are not given a trial, have an automatic appeal or wait for the governor to give clemency. Their sentence does not take 20 or 30 years to be carried out. Rather, it is immediate and they suffer greatly.

  6. I support the death penalty and I go to Communion. As Pope Benedict said I could because supporting the death penalty isn’t sin. But supporting abortion and same sex marriage is sin.

    • Wrong! Pope Benedict said nothing of the kind. Dissent from any expressed teaching of the Church is a sin. Whether or not a Catholic may receive Our Lord depends on the gravity of the issue. What the 2004 CDF Letter “Worthiness To Receive Communion” says is that “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia” meaning that the death penalty does not carry the same moral weight as abortion or euthanasia. Therefore, while dissenting from the Church on abortion is a mortal sin, dissenting from the Church on the death penalty is still a sin, but venial. Dissent is always a sin.

  7. Don’t do that it makes one bad guy to think twice before making heinous crimes.

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