Catholics and the Death Penalty – A Connecticut Story

This week Gov. Dannell P. Malloy signed a bill abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut. That makes Connecticut the 17th state and the fifth in as many years to abandon the death penalty. The effort to end the death penalty in this state was led by hundreds of murder victim family members and many Catholic citizens. These voices reminded lawmakers of the dignity of human life and that ending the life of another person would not promote healing or end pain.

Gov. Malloy was the third governor in recent years to sign repeal legislation who was raised Roman Catholic. As a young man, Malloy supported the death penalty but after working as a prosecutor in Brooklyn he saw the possibility of human error and changed his mind. He often cites his Catholic faith as helping him understand this decision.

The tide is turning on the death penalty. According to a new Pew poll released this year, about one-third of Americans now oppose the death penalty. This is up from about 18 percent in the mid 1990s. And more activists are calling on the conscience of Roman Catholic politicians to help take the abolition movement forward.

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