Gomez, along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has long called for an end to capital punishment throughout the United States.
In his statement, Gomez said that he believed the moral arguments for ending the death penalty were clear.
“Every human life is precious and sacred in the eyes of God and every person has a dignity that comes from God. This is true for the innocent and it is true for the guilty. It is true even for those who commit grave evil and are convicted of the most cruel and violent crimes,” said Gomez.
In the executive order, issued Wednesday, Newsom said that the death penalty was costly, ineffective, and racially biased in its application.
Gomez agreed with these claims, and said that he hopes action will be taken to “address the inequities in our criminal justice system, to improve conditions in our prisons, and to provide alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crimes,” as well as to properly rehabilitate prisoners.
“Much more needs to be done in California to address social conditions that give rise to crime and violence in our communities,” said Gomez.
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Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco issued a statement March 13 on behalf California Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s 26 bishops. Cordileone welcomed an end to the death penalty in the state, and expressed hope that the moratorium could be soon codified into law.
San Quentin State Prison is located in Cordielone’s archdiocese.
The California bishops’ statement encouraged Newsom to “use well the time of the moratorium to promote civil dialogue on alternatives to the death penalty, including giving more needed attention and care to the victims of violence and their families.”