The Venice bishop noted that "Benedict the XVI urged 'the attention of society's leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty,' and Pope St. John Paul II observed that 'Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.""
He added that "For decades, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the end of the death penalty in the United States."
The same day, the Nebraska Catholic Conference issued a statement in the names of Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, and Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt of Grand Island, saying Pope Francis had "issued an important clarification on the Church's teaching regarding the death penalty. The Holy Father's declaration that the death penalty is no longer admissible under any circumstances is an answer to our prayers and welcome news, especially for those of us living in Nebraska."
The change to the Catechism "rightly upholds the inviolability of the human person," the bishops of Nebraska said, "whose life is worthy of protection from the moment of conception to natural death, and ought to be treated with the respect and dignity given by God Himself."
"As the Catholic Bishops of Nebraska, we join Pope Francis in calling for the 'elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect,' since it is not necessary to protect public safety from an unjust aggressor. In particular, as we have publicly expressed on numerous occasions over the last two decades, Nebraska is fortunate to have a competent judicial system, modern correctional facilities and decades of law enforcement advances. Simply put, the death penalty is no longer needed or morally justified in Nebraska."