Washington D.C., Jun 8, 2021 / 09:17 am
Arizona bishops are “very concerned” that the state could resume executions this fall – including the possibility of executions by gas chamber.
Documents obtained by The Guardian show that Arizona’s department of corrections spent more than $2,000 on the necessary ingredients to make hydrogen cyanide gas - the same type of gas used in the infamous Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.
The documents also reveal the state has “refurbished” its gas chamber for executions.
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, told CNA on Monday that no matter the method of execution, “the bishops of Arizona are very concerned we might be resuming executions in Arizona as early as late September or early October after a seven year pause from litigation.”
“We’re very concerned about that, we believe the death penalty contributes to a culture of death, among other things, and our opposition remains firm,” Johnson said.
Pope Francis in 2018 ordered a revision to the Church’s catechism, calling the death penalty “inadmissible” and an “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, the next doctrine committee chair of the U.S. bishops, has said the death penalty is part of the “throwaway culture” condemned by Pope Francis.
In a statement to CBS News, the Arizona Department of Corrections stated its intent to resume executions.
The department said it is “prepared to perform its legal obligation and commence the execution process as part of the legally imposed sentence, regardless of method selected. (The department) stands ready, with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, to carry out court orders and deliver justice to the victims' families.”