Catholics in Nebraska are being urged to vote to retain the repeal of the death penalty.
The Nebraska Catholic Conference made the plea on behalf of the state’s three bishops.
Executive Director Tom Venzor says the church’s teaching is clear in its opposition to the death penalty.
“Because it is not necessary to protect society,” Venzor said at a news conference. “We urge Catholics and all people of good will to vote to retain the repeal of the death penalty on referendum measure 426. The bishops and the Nebraska Catholic Conference actively supported the elimination of the death penalty by our state senators in 2015.”
Venzor says the church is sending voting material to all parishes advocating the church’s stance.
The three bishops have also recorded video messages against the death penalty.
Father Doug Dietrich, pastor of St. Mary Church in Lincoln, says Nebraska does not need the death penalty to protect society.
“We have other means available to ensure our safety,” he said. “Means which also offer the convict a chance for rehabilitation and conversion. Along with my brother priests throughout Nebraska, we are taking a principled, pro-life stance in proclaiming that we do not need the death penalty in Nebraska.”
The church is planning speaking events at local parishes leading up to the November 8th vote on the issue.
Sister Jeanne O’Rourke of the Sisters of Mercy in Omaha says the death penalty is too costly, risks executing the innocent, and hurts victims’ families.
“The death penalty drags victims’ family members through years and years of tortuous appeals. It promises closure, but all too often only brings prolonged agony,” she said.
You can watch the Nebraska Catholic Conference’s news conference HERE.