News Release: Sanctity of Life Protected as Legislature Rejects Death Penalty

MCC Praises Those Who Voted Against State Sanctioned Killing

March 18, 2004

LANSING—Following a legislative vote that rejected the death penalty in Michigan for the second time in the last five years, the Michigan Catholic Conference, a leading opponent of capital punishment, reiterated the Church’s fundamental message of the promotion and protection of life and congratulated those legislators who had the courage to vote against state sanctioned killing.

“The Michigan Catholic Conference praises those who had the convictions to vote against House Joint Resolution W, and believes the vote is a reflection of this state’s desire not to act on human emotions in favor of a system that is flawed and prone to man-made mistakes,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice-President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “The House of Representatives reiterated today that our state will not justify a measure that seeks to allow state-sanctioned killing and a culture of death in Michigan.”

The Michigan Catholic Conference has led opposition to the resolution since its rumored introduction—testifying against the bill in committee, providing numerous message points why the legislation is bad public policy and addressing the faithful in the seven Catholic dioceses. Yesterday Detroit archbishop and Michigan Catholic Conference chairman His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida spoke to the spiritual and religious objections to capital punishment:

“Our natural reaction to violence and evil quite often is desire for revenge, and yet, we know that going down such a path only escalates the cycle of violence,” said Cardinal Maida in his homily during St. Patrick’s Day Mass. “A violent response does not liberate us but enmeshes us in the very evil we are trying to correct. Given the fact that every person—even a convicted criminal—is made in the image and likeness of God, out of respect for that dignity, we need to think twice about vengeance.”

“Public policy must be developed with the common good as the central theme under girded in the belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person,” said Long. “It is essential to understand that advocating for life also means advocating for life in all of its imperfect forms.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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