Writing on behalf of the U.S. bishops, Bishop of Rockville Centre William F. Murphy has appealed to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, urging him to sign H.B. 285, the New Mexico legislation which would repeal the death penalty.
Bishop Murphy is the Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I join the Catholic bishops of New Mexico and urge you to sign HB 285, ending the use of the death penalty in New Mexico,” his March 16 letter begins.
“Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, have called for the end to the use of the death penalty as a sign of greater respect for all human life,” Bishop Murphy continued.
He quoted the U.S. bishops’ document “A Culture of Life and the Death Penalty,” in which the bishops wrote:
“Even when people deny the dignity of others, we must still recognize that their dignity is a gift from God and is not something that is earned or lost through their behavior. Respect for life applies to all, even the perpetrators of terrible acts. Punishment should be consistent with the demands of justice and with respect for human life and dignity.”
“The legislation before you would help to begin building a culture of life in our country,” Bishop Murphy added, saying he hopes and prays that the governor will take this “essential step” by signing the bill and making New Mexico “a leader in turning away from the death penalty with all its moral problems and issues of fairness and justice.”